21st Century Learning @ Amesbury
The Board and staff of Amesbury School are committed to developing a truly 21st century learning environment.
Features of 21st century learning that we have identified as important for Amesbury School include:
- Anywhere, anytime learning - "the whole world is your learning space"
- Interdependence – recognition that we need each other
- Social construction of learning – recognition that learning is a social activity
- Flexible, fluid, organic organisation of learning
- Strong frameworks to enable fluidity
- Focused on learning and learners more than teaching
- Students involved in self-diagnosis and self-assessment
- Student choice and increasing student self-directedness
- Strong student voice
- Environment determined by learning needs
- Broad toolkit for organising learning
- Strong links to and participation in the global world
- Anytime, anywhere access to technology and the wider world
- Focus on intercultural competence
- Responsive to the individual needs of students
- Personalised learning programmes
- Multi-modalities of learning, acknowledging the multiple intelligences
- Allowing students opportunities to work in their preferred learning styles
- Centrality of creativity to the learning process and joy of life
- Recognition that learning spaces are equally real and virtual.
- Close home and school interdependence
- Social action and social justice
- Environmental awareness
- Multiple learning pathways
- Inclusivity - access and participation for all
21st Century Learning Environment at Amesbury School
Given that learning spaces are physical symbols that send out messages about the values, philosophy and, therefore, pedagogy, of those who created them, we have developed our physical learning spaces to align with the philosophies and pedagogies that we espouse. We want fluid and organic environments to allow real and not contrived 21st century learning to take place. Characteristics of our indoor learning environments include:
- Uncluttered, orderly
- Openness and flexibility
- Sense of spaciousness
- Good sightlines
- Flexible - able to be designed and redesigned, configured and reconfigured by students and teachers
- Efficient – quick and easy transitions and reconfigurations
- An environment that supports and enables a wide range of learning activities and learning modalities
- Calm and welcoming
- Strong links between the indoor and outdoor spaces
- Enabling people to connect together in different ways – real and virtually
- Mulitple display systems – teacher and student controlled
Learning happens in many ways at Amesbury School. These won't necessarily involve designated spaces, but spaces that can be created and recreated using our flexible furniture and furnishings. Some ways that learning happens:
- Group work: On the floor, sitting around a table, standing around a table, sitting around informally, sitting on chairs, with mobile devices
- Individual work – independent study
- Large group teaching
- Hubtalk or street-talk – whole block get togethers
- Buddy work
- Project based work
- Team collaboration
- One-on-one learning with the teacher
- Lecture format
- Play-based learning
What This Means for Furniture
Standard classroom furniture is not evident in each of the hubs (learning areas). Rather, each hub (which has several spaces - called suites - and a range of possible configurations) is furnished to accommodate learners in a variety of contexts across the space and utilise a range of furniture to facilitate this. Teachers do not “own” a particular area of the hub; they work with a range of students in a range of spaces across the hub over the course of the day. Furniture choices not only reflect this way of working, but encourage it.
The intent is that critical decisions are made by teachers and students about what furniture and what space is appropriate for particular learning activities. The result is a mix of more traditional table and chair furnishings as well as soft furnished stools, ottomans and bean chairs (etc.) to facilitate the different configurations of learning and different requirements of learning activities. Also, with the water-conducted underfloor heating that runs throughout the school, the floor is significantly used for some activities, most particularly by students.
We see the purposeful design of learning spaces as one of a set of key enablers for student learning that will help activate learning and engage students.
Some characteristics of the furniture we have:
- On wheels where practical or light and easy for students and teachers to move
- Tables that can easily be reconfigured for different ways of working (e.g. small table that can be reconfigured to create bigger tables. Different shapes and sizes).
- Furniture that can connect in different ways.
- Comfortable and age-appropriate
- Different levels
- Multiple users and uses
- Variety – to give teachers and students choices about where and how to work
- Durable – long lasting, some able to be used for indoor and outdoor use.
- Environmentally friendly
- Supports student and teacher wellbeing
- Support a wide range of learning activities