We need to start, then, by asking not ‘what buildings do we want?’ but instead ‘what sort of education do we want to see in future?’ We need to ask not ‘how many classrooms do we need?’ but ‘what sorts of learning relationships do we want to foster? What competencies do we want learners to develop? What tools and resources are available to us to support learning?
School buildings should inspire learning. They should nurture every pupil and member of staff. They should be a source of pride and a practical resource for the community.
Building schools for the future, 2004
Your buildings are the physical representation of the mission and values of your institution, and the teaching and learning facilities should exemplify your Learning and Teaching, and IT strategies. Learners should be inspired by their environment.
You can learn a great deal and get inspiration and ideas not only from those in your sector but from other sectors within the UK and worldwide. You won’t want to mirror the whole but you can take parts and amend to fit your vision.
The following list looks at some types of learning activity you may wish to facilitate and what kinds of technology can support this:
- Use of online resources (eg from Internet, VLE or JORUM) - Data Projector; Internet access
- Annotation and contextualisation of a pre-prepared presentation - Interactive Whiteboard, student tablets with wireless access and annotation software
- Review notes/annotations/comments from previous sessions - Interactive Whiteboard, student tablets with wireless access and annotation software
- Individual or group access to software and online resources as needed - wifi connection; Power points to plug in own devices; Laptop charging trolley with laptops to loan
- Multiple choice questions or feedback on a range of options - Voting System Follow this link for a video case study of use at the University of Strathclyde
- Note taking in on-site real work environment or off campus - Digital pens (use special paper to write notes and can download to PC or send text to mobile), or PDAs with writing pad
- Brainstorming and group development of assignment or project - Informal learning space, laptops/tablets with network access, mind mapping software
- Group collaboration between students on work experience - Network access, email, IM, YouTube
- Presentations by and Q and A sessions with experts from elsewhere - Video-conferencing or telepresence; web-cam; synchronous collaboration tools
- Interaction with specialists off-site including voice contact; online ‘chat’ and annotation of slides etc - Synchronous collaboration tools such as Instant Presenter or Blackboard Collaborate.
- A structured set of tasks to be worked through individually or in groups - PCs or laptops with network or wifi access. Virtual Learning Environment – eg Blackboard or Moodle
- Combining a presentation to a large class with small group work - Flexible partitioning; movable furniture; data projectors and screens all round room so students can sit in groups facing any direction. See an example at the LSE Robinson Rooms
- Working in groups and recording collaborative effort - Simple whiteboards; Interactive whiteboard; PCs or laptops with access to a wiki
- Working in groups and displaying/presenting to others - Interactive whiteboard; data projectors and screens all round room so students can sit in groups facing any direction
- Practical demonstrations where learners need to be able to see close up detail - Web-cam footage displayed on screens or individual laptops
- Presentations or demonstrations that learners can replay to digest at their own pace - Podcasting; storage of video on VLE, YouTube channels or education channel and SlideShare.
- Groups using different resources or undertaking different activities at the same time - Multi-channel audio visual; multiple screens; differential lighting; wifi; laptops. See an example at the University of Sussex InQbate CETL
- Informal group work/social learning - wifi; power sockets for laptops; flexible furniture; catering facilities