It’s less than a year since I wrote lamenting the empty space in our new building, while teachers kept their doors shut and the learning inside their own rooms. Walking through ‘the space’ these days, as we approach the end of the school year, I’m struck by how much has changed.
There are groups of kids everywhere, sprawled on the floor, huddled on the steps, sitting around tables, even standing on chairs so that they can film from above! They are collaborating on inquiries, creating presentations, making movies and expressing their learning in all kinds of creative ways. It’s active and social, noisy and messy… as learning should be.
School has changed…
1. We used to imprison the learning inside the classrooms… Now the whole school is our learning environment.
2. We used to find information in books and on the internet… Now we also interact globally via Skype with primary sources.
3. We used to control everything… Now students take ownership of their learning.
4. We used to think ‘computer’ was a lesson in the lab… Now technology is an integral part of learning across the curriculum.
5. We used to collect students’ work, to read and mark it… Now they create content for an authentic global audience.
6. We used to strive for quiet in the classroom… Now the school is filled with vibrant and noisy engagement in learning.
7. We used to teach everything we wanted students to know… Now we know learning can take place through student centred inquiry.
8. We used to set tests to check mastery of a topic… Now learning is often assessed through what students create.
9. We used to plan differentiated tasks, depending on ability… Now digital tools provide opportunities for natural differentiation.
10. We used to have an award ceremony for the graduating Year 6 students… Now every child will be acknowledged at graduation.
Not every point is uniformly evident across the school irrespective of teacher, class and time (yet), but most are well on the way. Learning in our school has changed enormously… and is constantly changing. Is yours?