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Forum: How do schools ready themselves for modern learning pedagogies?

Started by Nathaniel Louwrens 03 Jun 2015 7:45pm () Replies (67)

As schools look to not only continue bringing teaching and learning into the 21st century but also to focus on the future, there is a growing interest in both Modern Learning Environments (MLEs) and Modern Learning Pedagogies (MLPs).


There is so much going on in this area that it can sometimes seem overwhelming. However, as with everything we do in schools, we need to make sure that the move to MLPs is for the right reason and aligns with the vision, beliefs and values of the school. Derek Wenmoth recently wrote about this in a blog post, Examining our educational beliefs:


“In the rush to embrace modern learning practice there is inevitably a strong focus on the practices that may change – the practical, observable things that will impact on how things happen in schools. For example, the emergence of large, free-flowing spaces, moving from individual desks to group tables etc. But these things alone will not change the effectiveness of our educational provision unless they are matched to our shared beliefs and values. It is there that we need to start – and continue to reflect and refine as we seek to develop an educational approach that is relevant to the lives of our modern learners and their future.”


One area of modern learning practice is around orienting learning and learning decisions around the learner. By doing this we will know that the learner is at the heart of all decisions being made. You can find out more about learner orientation by watching the video from CORE’s Ten Trends 2015 - Trend 6: Learner Orientation.


Wakefield Primary School Principal, Peter Verstappen, was quoted in the Education Gazette Article, Modern learning environments allow pedagogical shifts:


“The real business of MLEs is to shift teaching and learning to a model that truly enables students to become confident, connected, lifelong learners”.


They have worked towards this through an MLE and using the principles of democratic education:

  • student-centred learning programmes
  • students developing goals around what they want to learn about
  • starting with the strengths of the student
  • finding opportunities to contribute to the community.


  • What do you or your school see as important modern learning pedagogies/practices? Why?
  • How are you and the wider school community involved in decision making around the adoption and implementation of MLPs?
  • What role do you see digital technologies/e-learning having in adopting MLPs?
  • How are you or your school using digital technologies to support your modern learning practices and what effect is it having on student engagement and achievement?

Further reading/resources




  • Keriata Kuiti (View all users posts) 14 Nov 2016 8:12pm ()

    Hi all,

    Unfortunately I'm the only one not working in an MLE in our school but this is the fourth term for 2 of our staff, the fifth term for 2 others and the 3rd term for the other 2 teachers.  We as a staff did a lot of research and visiting when we started looking toward the MLE and decided when our new classes were built the staff that went in there would be our guinea pigs.

    They've been really successful and we've had a lot of others come and observe them and talk to them, that was term four of last year.  Then each term we've added another two classes to our MLE programme.  Fortunately our classes were all huge and had dividing doors between them so all we've had to do is open the doors.  

    Our students love it, our staff love it.  But to get to this took a lot of work:

    • Making sure all our teams were on the same waka
    • Setting goals
    • Teachers Strenghts

    and the one of the main ones was to remind all of our staff across the whole school that it was "OUR STUDENTS", not your kids, or my kids but "OUR"

  • Junior Togia (View all users posts) 04 Nov 2016 10:27am ()

    Awesome content on here and so much I agree with especially in changing mindsets.  My biggest thing about this shift to ILE is whether pedagogies are applied consistently enough to enhance student outcomes.  I can see the potential behind it if it is but I have also seen schools that have amazing physical spaces that function as single cells.  I believe the shift needs to be deeper than just the physical layout of a class, it needs to be filtered through the values and goals of the school especially in the way they implement the Key Comps and 21st Century Learning Skills.  In the day to day grind as a teacher so many things need to be 'done' and 'ticked off' and time is limited.  If the shift gets too hard it is only natural that the mindset shifts back to old habits, we need to develop a shared responsibility and understanding of key rationale and basis for the shift.  

  • James Gosling (View all users posts) 20 Oct 2016 7:55pm ()

     The 21st century is new technology time and everyone are using new technology in all of the functional area. like public are using smartphone, ATM machine, online shopping and more.. As this type now schools, college, university & educational institutes are also starting to use such new technology in education system like school mobile app, school software, ERP & tools.

    School mobile apps, ERP & software are very beneficial for the all of the education institutes and parents as:

    Benefits of the institutes:

    • Improve brand image
    • Save communication cost & staff time for better use
    • Save secure cloud school data for reuse
    • Accessible anytime & anywhere
    • Reduce carbon footprint & use paper work

    Benefits of the parents & student:

    • Get all communication even when the student is absent
    • Get homework, Exam schedule, exam result & Images-Videos of the student activities
    • Ask any queries without calling or visiting your institutes
    • Pay school fees via mobile app, ERP & software by net banking, credit/debit card

    In 21st century many school mobile app, ERP are available in free & paid versions. For more, click on my profile.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 31 Aug 2016 2:43pm ()

    Wonderful sharing Erika, thank you smiley I'm excited about publishing your journey (so far) online, so others can see your trials and strategies to overcome learning challenges for your students.

    Nathaniel has shared some Innovative Learning Environment stories from Enabling e-Learning, thinking about your single-cell space, you might be particularly interested in stories such as:

    Sounds like bite-sized manageable steps are helping to make the changes needed in your classroom. smiley

  • Erika Ward (View all users posts) 28 Aug 2016 1:43pm ()

    Hi Nathaniel. Thanks for the link to the other stories. I did indeed find some of them useful. 

    I am working on quite a few things to support these boys some more. I have changed the way I am delivering my reading programme and I am working, in conjunction with an RTLB, a paired writing approach which hands over a lot of responsibility to be the children to act as tutors for each other.  The idea is that it helps them academically as well as focusing on the social interaction skills. I am continuing to do a lot of reading and deciding what strategies will help my boys and which ones won't. I am also involving the boys themselves by asking them what they think I could do to support them more. I will keep you posted on what happens next and what works!

  • LyD (View all users posts) 21 Aug 2016 3:32pm ()

    I really appreciate your slow down to move effectively. I'm working on building capacity in our syndicate to enable us to implement UDL and prepare our staff and students to work in a more collaborative learning environment. We are fortunate in that we have had time to prepare for our remodelling which will provide us with learning spaces that have the potential to be more open and flexible. As a group of teachers, we have been gradually exploring collaborative practices and what they  mean in our setting. I'm currently working on how we share our ideas and aspirations with our community and building networks to help us collaborate with our Intermediate school . We want to ensure the skills and independence our learners develop in years 5 and 6 fit with their new setting. Are any other schools collaborating this way? I'm interested in you findings.

  • Nathaniel Louwrens (View all users posts) 19 Aug 2016 2:59pm ()

    Hi Erika

    Thanks for sharing. It's always great to hear success stories like this. The inquiry process is clearly in action here.

    I wonder, now that you've made these initial changes and seen positive results, what your next steps are going to be to support these boys some more?

    There are some other great school stories on the Enabling e-Learning Innovative Learning Environments page that you might find interesting and useful.

  • Erika Ward (View all users posts) 17 Aug 2016 8:01pm ()

    All this discussion about MLE/ILE last term really sparked something for me. I am taking part in NAPP2016 this year and my teaching as inquiry is around helping struggling boys. initially I was looking at it from a very narrow point of view. I was making changes such as more physical breaks, short sharp instant consequences. But what about the classroom environment?

    Initially I was working along that being strict, regimented and having a very controlled environment would work best. What I found was I spent a lot of time managing behaviour and not enough time actually teaching. I spent some time observing and recording what my most disruptive boys were doing. What did i notice? They were spending about 3 minutes on tasks before getting up to walk around or have a chat etc.

    What if I catered for this need to move and be collaborative in another way? Changing my classroom environment might be the answer.

    I teach in a single cell prefab. I am restricted with what i can achieve in my classroom. But I asked the kids and they wanted an area where they could stand up, an are to work on the floor, group tables, single tables and quiet areas. I have provided all of this. The result- much less managing, much more on task behaviour. The children are working together more effectively. It's not earth shattering. I have not changed any aspects of my actual programme yet and there is no integration of devices or anything, but this small step towards an ILE has made a big difference, especially for my boys which was the point!

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 08 Aug 2016 3:50pm ()

    Kia ora Bill, I've just dived in and focused in on your comment around NCEA and NZQA in regards to student-driven learning pathways. I recently shared the following sentiments with some colleagues, forgive me if this is a double-up?

    In 2014 we (Enabling e-Learning) hosted a webinar with Steve Bargh on NZQA's plans for digitizing assessment. It was a fascinating presentation, one I highly recommend for all secondary schools (if you haven't already seen it). It really was about shifting the focus away from information retention and recall to more of a focus on higher level skills, where students would have access Internet and different time frames for digital submission. 

    For example, Leaders...instead of having students name presidents of countries etc (a bit simple, but want to illustrate factual recall), they would be asked questions like, What president or leader of a country has polarised their people and why? The latter would require some research, synthesis and analysis of a response - to argue a position or back up with evidence. The students would be able access to the Internet and possibly have a week to submit, rather than 3 hours - or something similar. The presentation also touched on cross-curricula connections. A promising start nationally I think.

    I'd love to hear more about the Pathways class you're talking about? How does that work?

  • Kath Corby (View all users posts) 23 Jul 2016 2:34pm ()

    Hi Lisa.

    What a very valuable post with so many learnings in in - thank you.

    I find the different roles that you needed  an interesting learning - having a leader, a learning coach and a teaching coach...a re-definition of what the meaning of 'teacher' is for the 21st century and ILE's possibly?

    I think having a shared philosophy that is created collaboratively with all parties involved is key - as a school we currently have some staff doing some powerful things in terms of creating and facilitating learning in an ILE but it is not under a collective 'umbrella' such as a vision so that is the next step to ensure the great work that is happening continues and strengthens causing student achievement to go up!


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