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Rethinking a core element of education: the space itself

27 Apr 17

Changing Spaces will see teachers and school leaders from around New Zealand immerse themselves in the world of innovative learning spaces tomorrow. Organisers, CORE Education, hope the takeaway will be creating environments where all students can excel.

Keynote speaker Chrissie Butler says the event is an opportunity to explore the ins and outs of learning environments, with this year’s focus being diversity.

“We want to explore what it means to create learning environments that are driven by our understanding of difference. Spaces where everyone can access, participate and engage in learning in a way that works for them.”

Aiming to push boundaries, Butler says the learning at Changing Spaces will have a strong message of inclusive design.

“We’ll start by building on participants’ current understanding of inclusive design and we’ll explore the implications of designing for diversity.”

Giving students a voice in their own learning journeys is an important mission, and one this conference hopes to reinforce.

“The diverse voices, aspirations and stories of young people and their whānau will be prominent in our storytelling. We’ll also bring to attention the latest resources from the Ministry of Education and innovations from people-centred contexts beyond education,” says Butler.

The structure of the event will be similar to 2016’s offering, with the key characteristic being to share first-hand experience. This gives participants the chance to share innovations and discoveries in the realm of learning spaces.

Hosted in Stonefields School’s innovative ‘Learning Hubs’, the event showcases the things that can be achieved in a variety of spaces. Though, there will be exercises focused on classic classroom set ups and spaces beyond the primary sector as well.

Butler invites anyone with a passion for learning and inclusion to join in their exploration of space.

“If you’re interested in how to design respectful, inclusive environments where everyone is learning and achieving and you want to learn more about how our diversity can be a source of strength, come and join us.”

Some of the exciting workshops themes:

  • Universal Design for Learning - a framework to guide inclusive design and practice
  • Recognising potential barriers to learning and wellbeing, and ways to ease cognitive stress and overload
  • Building strong teams - growing capability and collective efficacy
  • Design thinking - tools to implement change
  • Culture and collaboration - what makes a shared space successful
  • Mechanisms for student voice that impact on teacher decision making
  • How differentiated learning impacts student data
  • Teachers as evaluators - lens on the data
  • The importance of dialogue - infrastructure, children, teacher, parent voice
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