Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Digital Immersion: Field Trip to Stonefields School

Today the MDTA cohort was fortunate to attend a 'Manaiakalani principals and leaders study tour' of our neighbouring school, Stonefields School.  The purpose for our visit was to observe how Stonefields' Innovative Learning Environment's (ILE) function.  Since Robyn, Kiri and I are in our 7th week of our Innovative Learning Space journey, we were very eager to see Stonefields' take on ILE. 

A bit of background information about Stonefields School

Stonefields School is a multi-cultural Year 1-8 school  in Mt Wellington, Auckland, which firsr opened their doors in 2011.  Stonefields is a digital school and an Innovative Learning Envrionment, made up of Learning Hubs - large shared classroom spaces.  The learning hubs are hugely beneficial in a number of ways. They allow learners to work in places that best suits their needs, encourage collaboration and provide learners with access to a range of teacher strengths. In 2013 they joined the Manaiakalani cluster.

My wonderings

Going into the Manaiakalani principals and leaders study tour of Stonefields School, I was mostly interested in the logistics of how teachers and learners best utilise their ILE. How do you call your groups when they are spread out around the classroom? How do the learners know where they should be? How do you monitor your learners?   I was also interested in their 'Breakthrough' time - where they follow their own lines of interest.  How does Breakthrough work? What is the teachers role?  How do you ensure learning is occurring?

What I took from my Stonefields visit

Learning Spaces

Create learning spaces that suit specific learning activities.  

Make your own spaces - create nooks, caves, corners etc.  Cleverly use the furniture you have to transform your learning spaces.

Encourage learners to work where they learn best. 

Knowing where you are meant to be

Have a display which shows the learning spaces the teachers are at.  Move the teachers tags to where they are to avoid confusion of where learners and their teachers should be.

Shift responsibility to the learners by getting them to show where they are in the room.

Get learners to put forward a proposal for why they should move up the SOLO scale. In our classroom we use SOLO as a way of showing learners the links between their self-managing skills and their level of freedom in the classroom (there will be a blog post on this shortly).  Instead of the teachers having to decide to move learners, the learners provide 3 pieces of evidence to prove that they can move up the solo scale.

Get your groups by asking one learner to quietly get the rest of the group, or set up reminders on their Chromebooks.  For junior classes, let the learners to remain near their group so teachers can easily find groups.

Breakthrough - passion projects

Learners put forward proposals.  The proposals answer the question what learning is involved?  

Children need to outline goals they need to reach each week.  This gives learners a focus and teachers use them to ensure their learners are on task and learning.

The locus of control is on the learners.  They decide what they are doing.  They outline goals.  They take charge of their learning.  The teachers role is to guide and support them on their journey.

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