Log in

FORUM: MLEs: Learning spaces and resourcing | NAPP Kōrero 6

Posted by Tessa Gray

When: 28 Apr 2014 - 31 Jul 2014

Venue: Enabling e-Learning | Leadership group

Fees: FREE

Organiser: Tessa Gray - Enabling e-Learning online facilitator and Roger Sommerville NAPP

Contact: tessa.gray@core-ed.net

FORUM: MLEs: Learning spaces and resourcing | NAPP Kōrero 6, current

imageIs preparing for Modern Learning Environments a reality for you? You’re invited to join this Napp thread and engage in conversations around preparations and strategies leaders need to undertake to ensure strategic decision-making, resource allocation and leadership enhances Modern Learning Environments. This thread is also supported by a LIVE webinar planned for 26 June.

Come join us in Enabling e-Learning | Leadership group - this conversation is LIVE now.Please note: Anyone can be involved.


  • Glenda Thomas

    I found being involved in the webinar very exciting and exhilarating, even though I couldn’t work out how to turn my camera on, make myself heard, and only one of my comments seemed to be recorded!  But to listen to speakers, and watch as they illustrated their points with photos and graphics, and watch as others asked questions was great.  Having followed the Korero it consolidated my understandings.  I loved the Winston Churchill quote: ‘we shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us’ – how true.

    I recall visiting a model class which had an open learning environment, as a new teacher in New Plymouth over 40 years ago.  The children worked in a big space, very much like an MLE.  They had certain subjects they had to do, but they could work on them or anything else they fancied, when they chose during the day.  I couldn’t see how that could easily be managed from a teaching point of view; how can you help 40 different learners (and it was a big space with a couple of teachers and quite a few children) working on 40 different things concurrently?  I assume the model didn’t work, as these classes did not become established or normalised.

    However, I can see how groups working independently can benefit from a break out area, where the furniture and technology supports that activity, where teachers work with groups (large or small) on specific teaching and learning setting that group up to discover / practice independently, where teachers can work in the same space complementing each other by the different skill-set they bring, where there is opportunity for round table discussion with smaller groups that is not distracting or obtrusive to others, where children can work collaboratively, and where all the tools to support learning are at hand.  Teachers supporting each other and finding common work expectations of themselves as well as the children will be very powerful in creating a motivating work environment.  Where learning is something you do together – not something that is done to you - establishing a climate of collaboration, transparency, trust, and engagement.

  • Tessa Gray

    Thanks for these reflective comments Glenda. A great summary of some emerging ideas. Nathaniel has also written a recap of this event in the Enabling e-Learning Leadership blog, for those who couldn't make it.

    Not sure why tools didn't play nicely for you...hopefully they will next time. Smile

  • sue kandasamy

    I agree that lots of research have to be done before any decisions are arrived at. Research brand new MLEs as well as MLEs that have been developed from existing classrooms.  The big challenge schools face is the huge outlay for such an initiative. Start on a small scale, maybe an area of the school where you foresee little or no resistance and that are up for a challenge Offer the staff here quality PD, students and staff can visit other schools that have undergone a similar process. Bring in staff or students from other schools to share their experiences at parent meetings. The more knowledge stakeholders have the better informed they are to make the right decisions. It is important to get all you can BUT then to come back and to look at your own school, their needs and adapt this to suit your community. Once this initiative gains momentum and staff and students are confident, their expertise can be used to empower the rest of the school.

    I am privileged to be teaching in one of two MLEs in my school and I have had many staff ask how do I cope with the furniture that is of different heights and seats that wobble or tilt? My answer is we’re too busy learning to notice. The furniture has been well researched and caters well for all sorts of learning styles. Having the “breakout” room between the two classroom means that there are always groups of children working in there and giving your classroom more room. The second classroom is occupied by a PRT. I am able to offer support to him in a way that traditional one cell classroom wouldn’t be able to.

    A big challenge too for school principals is that they have to keep up with other schools in the area. Most schools in our area are steadily moving towards MLEs and knowing the benefits we don’t want to lag behind. 

  • Ragne Maxwell

    I agree with Sue about how great break out rooms can be and see this as the exciting opportunity for secondary schools in particular. I enjoyed the webinar and seeing some of the different ways of organising primary schools. From a secondary perspective, I'm unsure about some of the MLE's I've seen. I went to an ICT conference at Albany Senior High and found the open spaces around a central well a real issue for sound when trying to concentrate on the workshop I was in. I've also seen rooms in a new block in another school where small classrooms opened into big break out spaces. However, teachers say they never open the huge expensive glass doors and never have enough space in their rooms.

    This might be teachers not adapting our teaching and I acknowledge that will take time. But what I do see being used at my own school is small break out spaces between rooms. Groups are continually in working in these or students doing classes 'offline' because of timetable issues or a reader/writer helping a student with an assessment. I think there is a real value to a class and a teacher in a shared, quiet space where we can have in depth, honest explorations of issues in a high trust environment. I am excited by what MLEs offer and possiblities of collaborative teaching, but I also don't want teachers feeling more traditional classrooms are a thing of a past. There's a reason they've worked for so long.