Anglican Church Grammar School New Generation Learning Space project

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Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie) recognises that learning environments are intrinsically linked to the ubiquity of technology. In 2011 Churchie, in association with the University of Melbourne, engaged in a series of interventions that sought to determine if the formal learning environment had any effect on teachers and students. Throughout these interventions, empirical evidence was collected and analysed to show that the physical learning environment does have a pervasive effect on the perceived effectiveness of technology, teacher pedagogical practice and student engagement. Furthermore, the empirical evidence does suggest that a more dynamic and adaptive learning environment, better aligned with the affordances of digital technology and contemporary pedagogy, does have a positive effect on student learning outcomes in English and Mathematics.

The learning spaces at Churchie are developing now into much more than a container of learning. Students work in a range of modalities, either independently or in teams, and increasingly informally or socially, collaborating through the social construction of knowledge in (Fisher, 2005). The physical learning environment at Churchie has been transformed to provide unique teaching areas that employ one, or a combination of, the following three modes of learning spaces:

  • Formal or traditional classrooms focused on direct instruction
  • Student-centred spaces focused on transactional approaches to instruction
  • ‘Informal' spaces where social learning occurs.

Combined with the proliferation of information technology, particularly mobile technologies, wireless and e-learning systems, these new learning environments provide the infrastructure to move from traditional teacher-focused instruction to student-centred, self-directed, informal or active ways of learning (Brooks, 2011; Lee, Dixon & Andrews, 2008).

Churchie's partnership with the University of Melbourne has expanded from its humble beginnings in 2011 into significant research linking the School to the wider academic field through the School’s partnership in the Australian Research Council Linkage Grant Evaluating 21st Century Learning Environments ( "E21LE website").

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