Governments have invested significantly in recent times in designing buildings for the future based on the notion that new ways of teaching and learning are required for the modern learner. Such designs have been well informed by contemporary educational and architectural theory and embed learning technologies. Technology and flexible learning spaces have been uncritically linked to innovative teaching and improved student learning outcomes but there has been little empirical research that actually tells us what happens in redesigned learning spaces. This text presents critical examples of the effects of redesign in twelve schools. They illustrate how flexibility, connectivity and temporality interact pedagogically and the conditions that are conducive to innovative practices and their sustainability.
Building on the detailed case studies the book:
- illustrates the complexity of teaching and learning and shows how systems can support schools
- interrogates assumptions about what constitutes innovation, leadership, collaborative learning, and learning outcomes with regard to spatiality and connectivity
- also, because the sample of schools is across high and low socio economic locations, as well as primary, secondary and community based schools, the study has much to say about social-spatial inequality.
In addition, while the data derives from conventional case study approaches the research team also developed specific new visual methodological tools to facilitate student voice. In particular, the methodologies indicated significant potential for enabling students and teachers to become co-producers of knowledge about how they teach and learn, while researching their own practices as a form of educational inquiry.
The text concludes with consideration of the implications of redesign for policy and practice, arguing that flexible learning spaces, as learning technologies, can, but do not necessarily, enable pedagogical reform. Furthermore, the authors argue that the focus has to be first and foremost on innovative pedagogies informed by collaborative teaching within these spaces, as a necessary condition under which practice may improve student learning.