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ULearn14 Abstract: Modern learning pedagogy & technologies in a NE/Yr 1 classroom

One of the requirements of being a CORE Education eFellow, is that you have to present the outcome of your Inquiry at ULearn.  eFellows will be presenting under the 'Peer-reviewed Research Strand'.

Here is my submitted abstract:



Modern learning pedagogy & technologies in a NE/Yr 1 classroom


Short Abstract:

In this presentation I will challenge the traditional method of teaching that is organised around timetables, by sharing what I have learned through my inquiry on how to bring modern learning pedagogy and technologies into a junior school, stand alone classroom.  I believe this kind of teaching and learning enhances opportunities for students and teachers to learn and create together.

I became interested in the possibilities of a modern learning environment in a NE/Year 1 classroom after a conference I attended in 2013 which was on mapping a new landscape in learning.  I went away with my head spinning, but the question for me remained: “Where and how do I start?” Through my networks and discussions with other teachers I found that many were asking the same questions. We wanted to change our classrooms and practice, but didn't know where to begin. Early on in my inquiry I realised that I didn't want to focus on the physical aspect of a modern learning environment, but rather the pedagogy and technologies that facilitate personalised learning.  My inquiry then became about how I could support my NE/Yr 1 students to carry out their own learning in purposeful and meaningful ways, so that I can then share this with others. Some of my questions were:

a. What is important to my students and their learning?
b. How can I implement a more personalised learning approach?
c. How can I encourage students to be more responsible for their own learning?
d. What are others teachers and schools doing?

To explore these questions I visited schools and talked with junior school teachers, who are already using modern learning pedagogy & technologies in their practice. We talked about their journey, their ideas, how they got started, and how students are responding to this. In this presentation I will share some of my findings and discuss:

- The difference between individual learning and personalised learning;
- The foundations that are necessary for personalised learning;
- How being a teacher on your own is no barrier to creating a modern learning environment;
- Ideas for how to get started.

I am not an expert in this at all and [still] do not have all the answers, but I hope that with this presentation, I will be able to clarify some of the questions many junior school teachers might have.

Will I see or meet you at ULearn14?


~ A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." - Lou Holtz ~


  • Catherine Lynagh

    This sounds really interesting - wish I was going to ULearn this year.  I hope you post more before or after you do your presentation.

  • Marnel van der Spuy

    Hi Catherine,

    Thank your for your reply.  I will definitely add the slides of my presentation into our New Entrant & Year 1 Modern Learning Environments group - soon after ULearn14.

    Cheers! Smile

  • Sonya Van Schaijik

    Hey Marnel,

    I hope we do not clash with Ulearn times.

    I can't wait to hear more of your thinking around your inquiry.

  • Marnel van der Spuy

    Hi Sonya,

    Neither do I! I am presenting on Thursday @ 11:15

    Thanks for your support Smile

  • Pata

    Hi Marnel!

    Thank you so much Marnel for leading this inquiry... I look forward to checking out your slides... this is definitely going to be a read for myself esp when I have been asking the same questions with the pedagogies and technologies that will support our young ones.. Thank you for your generosity in sharing your inquiry!...


  • Marnel van der Spuy

    Hi Pata, 

    Thank you for your reply and kind words.

    I am looking forward to sharing the findings of my inquiry with everyone in due course. If [in the mean time] you have any questions, please feel free to ask. 

    Cheers! Smile