Reflecting Back

As this unit EDFD459 comes to an end and so does my Education Degree (yay!) I can now look back on what I have learnt in my final semester at University.

Looking back at where I started- not very familiar with online websites apart from facebook and instagram, I can say I have learnt a lot about using the online medium as a learning and networking tool. I feel that I am now more confident when it comes to navigating new programs, apps, blogs or online accounts. I can also now say that I feel that I have come a long way in terms of my understanding of the online learning space and that I can now navigate throughout it better to enhance my own learning.

Looking back at the Semester though my Mind Map (made on Xmind throughout the semester) it is really great to see how much learning has occurred in the midst of my busiest semester ever with uni and my internship. It feels like a very positive way to end the year and my degree.

Reflection on Semester 2 EDFD459

This will be my last post for now as I finish up this unit.

Lauren

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My Finished Classroom and Outdoor Area Design for 2063 (Scenario 4)

This has been a long process but one full of learning. I have tried many design programs and apps and ended up choosing Floorplanner to complete my design. There were many considerations I had to take into account when designing and I have listed some below.

Considerations when designing:

  • Open plan layout to open up the classroom and extend it to include the outside which linked it to the veggie patch, chicken coop and outdoor area.
  • Maximizing group collaborative learning areas in a way that allowed for multiple learning areas some formal some more relaxed.
  • The use of technology evident in the classroom through the Smartboards and iPad/laptop areas.
  • Lighting was another consideration when designing an open plan style to allow for natural light in the room with the use of glass doors and windows.
  • Extending the classroom learning areas to utilize the outside area when possible was another consideration.
  • Safety was also a big consideration to allow for easier supervision of all areas inside and out, by making areas visible and easy to access.
  • With this design there is an underlying theme of a natural setting using natural light, elements and including the outdoor area.
  • There is also a sustainable aspect to the design in which the environment is used to teach the students through the use of a veggie patch, compost heap, recycling area, water tank, green house and chicken coop.
  • The design inside the classroom opens up the room to allow students to move from one area to another freely and would benefit rotational work, group work, individual work and can also be used for whole class direct teaching when needed.

In the end I am happy with my design and believe it would suit the needs of both the students and teachers.

My planning I completed on Microsoft Word to do my basic layout. The link for the plan is below.

Scenario 4 Design

Then it came time to create this plan. Using Floorplanner and my design on Microsoft Word I created the following Classroom and Outdoor Area Design.

2063 Classroom Design

Outside Design 2063

So just to summarize what each area includes in its layout I wrote a list for each to highlight the key features.

The classroom:

  • Collaborative learning area with desks, chairs and shelves with resources.
  • Computer area with lap tops, desks and chairs.
  • Group learning area with desks, chairs and Smartboard/projector.
  • Art area with easels and art supplies.
  • A relaxed reading and working area with lounges and cushions.
  • A storage area.
  • Large windows and sliding doors along the sides facing the outdoor areas.

The Outdoor area:

  • A fenced veggie patch with rows of crops and a lattice for growing plants.
  • A water tank which supplies the water for all the outdoor area’s needs.
  • 2 verandas connected to the classroom for children to sit on, work on and to extend the classroom.
  • A compost heap, a recycling area and a worm farm to teach sustainability.
  • A green house for growing plants and flowers.
  • A shaded group table and chairs for outside group work.
  • A shaded seating area for socializing on the breaks or group work.
  • A water feature to emit a calming presence to the area.
  • A covered sandpit area for playing in on the breaks.
  • A shaded playground area for use on the breaks.
  • Ball courts and equipment storage facilities.
  • Benches under trees and around the area for the students.
  • A chicken coop for the chickens and to teach responsibility and care.
  • Gardens, trees and grass on as much as the area as possible to keep the environment natural.

Throughout this learning process I referred back to my previous assignment on the 5 Key Learning Spaces and the texts I referred to helped me create this space with the students and teachers interests in mind.

I believe this space would serve the purpose of creating a new classroom and outdoor area to fit with the needs of Scenario 4.

 It’s 2063 and the last of the 1960′s prefab classrooms are being decommissioned. You have been given the brief to redesign a classroom that has direct access to the school yard, veggie patch and chooks.

The design of the classroom and outdoor area isn’t overly futuristic as I kept things simple and tried to have more of a focus on connecting students with the natural and outdoor environment to fit the requirements of a school yard, veggie patch and chickens.

Let me know what you think of my design!

Lauren

References:

The Design Process of the Classroom and Outdoor Area of 2063

The Design Process has been a long one but also full of learning. It started with trying many programs to create the design and then after many attempts settling on one to use. Then I began to think of the different considerations I will need to incorporate into the design. This is a list of what I have come up with so far, it may change.

Considerations when designing:

  • Open plan layout to open up the classroom and extend it to include the outside which linked it to the veggie patch, chicken coop and outdoor area.
  • Maximising group collaborative learning areas in a way that allowed for multiple learning areas some formal some more relaxed.
  • The use of technology evident in the classroom through the Smartboards and iPad/laptop areas.
  • Lighting was another consideration when designing an open plan style to allow for natural light in the room with the use of glass doors and windows.
  • Extending the classroom learning areas to utilise the outside area when possible was another consideration.
  • Safety was also a big consideration to allow for easier supervision of all areas inside and out, by making areas visible and easy to access.
  • With this design there is an underlying theme of a natural setting using natural light, elements and including the outdoor area.
  • There is also a sustainable aspect to the design in which the environment is used to teach the students through the use of a veggie patch, compost heap, recycling area, water tank, green house and chicken coop.
  • The design inside the classroom opens up the room to allow students to move from one area to another freely and would benefit rotational work, group work, individual work and can also be used for whole class direct teaching when needed.

I am still in the stages of building the area and I am up to the final stages, however, it’s not ready for publishing yet.

I hope to finish in the next few days and publish it, once I have figured out how to.

Lauren

The 5 Key Learning Spaces: The Group Learning Space

The last learning space we will look at is the group learning space. This will look at what to consider when establishing group learning and how to best maximize the use of group learning.

  • The group learning space has dramatically changed in the last few years from being a space in which the participants are together physically such as in a meeting, in the classroom, in a study group, etc. to a new way of meeting with people and the group learning space being spread out across the world and meeting through online forums and sights.
  • Due to the format of the group learning space changing we as teachers need to be aware of the different ways and tools that can be utilised to create group learning spaces. We can create spaces such as a cluster of lap tops set up in a quiet space in the classroom to allow for online learning and sharing to creating a class forum or blog to allow online communication and learning in a group outside the confines of the classroom setting (Dumont, Istance, Benavides, 2010).
  • In changing the group learning space we still need to be aware of the limits and boundaries that need to be in place for a well established group learning space.
  • Boundaries such as:

-Being aware of online restrictions to stop inappropriate misuse.

-Strong anti-bullying rules set up to ensure constructive group communication is taking place.

-Having the group forums set up so that you the teacher can access them to monitor learning.

The 5 Key Learning Spaces: The Individual Learning Space

The next learning space we are going to look at is the individual learning space. This really focuses on self-directed learning and the concept of creating lifelong learners.

  • When looking at the individual learning space we take into consideration when, where and how we learn as individuals. When looking at this outside the classroom we discover that as learners we are re-active instead of pro-active when it comes to our education. Continuing on with the idea of life long learners we need to consider how to implement strategies to assist our students with being pro-active towards their learning so that their education continues outside the school setting (Kop, Fournier, 2010) .
  • This can be done by fostering and encouraging students to become self-directed learners. Self-directed learners take responsibility for their own learning and in doing so take direction of their education in the classroom and beyond (Smith, 1996).
  • Becoming a self-directed learner works students towards the idea of lifelong learning in which as humans we apply the concept that we can continue to learn in all areas of our life for as long we live. Becoming a lifelong learner is a powerful tool for students to live by and can shape the way in which they live their lives (Kop, Fournier, 2010).
  • Getting back to the individual learning space to define what it looks like and where it occurs, the answer is simply everywhere. If we can establish the concept in our students of self-directed lifelong learning then the result will be that the children in our class can and will learn in any area of their lives and in any location, inside and outside the classroom (Smith, 1996).
  • References:
  • Kop, R., Fournier, H. (2010). The international journal of self-directed learning. Retrieved from http://www.sdlglobal.com/IJSDL/IJSDL7.2-2010.pdf
  • Smith, M. (1996). Self-direction in learning. Retrieved from http://infed.org/mobi/self-direction-in-learning

The 5 Key Learning Spaces: The Electronic Learning Space

The next learning space we are going to look at is the electronic learning space.

The way in which we as teachers view the use of the electronic learning space needs to be current in the knowledge that society is changing with technology and we can utilise this technology to create learning opportunities that weren’t even possible 20 years ago (MCEETYA, 2008).

Technology has been classified by Means into four categories – used as a tutor, used to explore, applied as a tool and used to communicate. These categories can help us as teachers to consider the uses for technology in learning (which there are many) and that when using the devices the result is still enhancing meaningful learning that has a purpose and outcome (Means, 1994).

When looking at using the electronic learning space there are points that we need to be aware of to ensure the best possible use of the learning space.

This involves critically examining the strengths and weaknesses of the learning space and coming up with a list of them to consider when implementing.

Strengths:

-The amount of accessible information and resources.

-The networking opportunities to share and learn online.

-The educational tools now available.

-Collaboratively working with others to learn.

-Can be accessed through mobile devices so used anywhere.

-Can be implemented in all areas of the curriculum.

Weaknesses:

-Restrictions and rules need to be active and in place to ensure appropriate use of the learning space.

-Students misuse can lead to online problems such as access to inappropriate content, online bullying, using for socializing not learning etc.

-Knowing how to use the right tool or learning resource to best enhance learning and to narrow down the information over load can be difficult (Murray, Olcese, 2011).

Some great ways to use electronic learning tools that can be implemented for learning include:

-Creating class blogs or websites.

-Having a class set of iPads or laptops to use as a whole class in any subject area not just ICT.

Incorporating electronic learning spaces can be done in the classroom through the use of many educational tools and also beyond the classroom (MCEETYA, 2008).

References:

The 5 Key Learning Spaces: Beyond the Classroom

The next learning space to look at is beyond the classroom, what that looks like and what that means for us as teachers.

If we are incorporating the idea of lifelong learning we can then see that learning is occurring every day for each of us and not only in the classroom. As teachers we are in a position to change the way students view learning and can help them  to view the world outside the classroom as a learning space in which we all continually learn and grow (Lorenza, 2009).

There are positives and negatives to any learning area and some of which for learning beyond the classroom are:

  • Positives:
  • Learning content in context.
  • Learning in a real world setting and seeing real world problems take place.
  • Being introduced to different perspectives.
  • Learning about the world around them in relation to different cultures, history, geography , politics and seeing the way things work around them.
  • Finding their interests and exploring them.
  • Deciding where they feel connections in the world around them and how they fit into their family group, community and society as a whole.
  • Learning by being engaged in seeing and doing themselves.
  • Challenging themselves and problem solving.
  • Meeting new people which can enhance their confidence, communication skills and ability to work with others.
  • Negatives:
  • Prior negative world experiences.
  • Home life problems or instability.
  • Expenses involved in such experiences.
  • School/class budgets not allowing for excursions.
  • Placement of school – low SES area (Johnson, 2009).
  • References:
    • Johnson, J. (2009). Beyond four walls : experiential and situated learning. Teacher. (198). p18-20.
    • Lorenza, L. (2009). Beyond four walls : why go beyond the bounds of school?. Teacher. (198). p22-25.

The 5 Key Learning Spaces: The Classroom

  • As a part of EDFD459 a subject in which I am taking part at Uni I have been asked to create an e-presentation looking at the 5 Key Spaces of learning throughout the next few blogs I will go through the 5 Key Spaces and share the considerations of each, how to implement and the positives and negatives that come with each space.
  • The first space to look at is the classroom.
  • The Classroom:
  • When looking at the classroom as a traditional learning space what comes to mind is rows of desks facing a board with the teacher operating in a direct teaching approach. However as we look more closely to how students learn best we find that there is many ways to learn and therefore many ways to teach (Cinar, 2010).
  • When setting up a classroom there is not one definitive answer for the best classroom setting. When considering the classroom setting in relation to teaching it is better to consider the environment you wish to create to enhance students learning, support their needs and to do so in a way that is engaging. The way in which the classroom is set up can effect students learning, behaviour and engagement in their work and so it is vital that a classroom is set up in a way that is tailored to suit the needs of the particular students in your class (Mäkitalo-Siegl, Zottmann, Kaplan & Fischer, 2010).
  • This can be done by considering desk arrangements to utilise the space well, the visual stimulus around the room is not too overwhelming and is relevant to learning, providing areas in which the students can learn in a relaxed setting such as a carpet area or reading corner, the white board/smartboard visible from all seats in the room and the organisation and management of materials done in a way that is using space well and provides adequate access to the students (Clifford, 2012). Other areas in which to consider when designing the classroom is the lighting – opening up the room to allow natural light, the air flow/air conditioning in the room so students are kept comfortable while inside and the noise level around the classroom is at a level in which doesn’t disrupt lessons and learning (Polityka, n.d).
  • When designing a classroom all these different elements need to be considered to create the optimal setting that can create a positive learning environment (Clifford, 2012).
  • The School:
  • Creating a sense of community and positive atmosphere needs to be considered at a whole school level and creating the school environment to support learning in the classroom. This will translate into the classroom in regard to expectations and behaviours on an individual level and group setting (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, 2011).
  • References: