Tag Archives: classrooms learning environments

Learning Environments: Where Space, Technology and Culture Converge

http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI3021.pdf

The question the article poses is this: “What would we see, then, if we traveled forward in time?”

This question really struck me because we are adding on to our house, and the architect who is helping us create the space had us do a similar exercise. Imagine ourselves in 20 years (and all points between now and then) still living in the same house. How would our needs evolve over the years, and how could we plan to fulfill all of those changing needs with one set of plans. This really made us think about our future, and what our lives and needs in a living space might look like in coming years. This made me begin to play with the idea of how learning environments might change our physical (and virtual) teaching spaces in the libraries, and what library instruction would even look like down the road.

The article begins by describing how the College classroom of 1900 looks much like its current equivalent, with books, chalkboards, erasers, but no IPhones, projectors or laptops. Today’s technology has forced us to rethink where and how learning takes place, due to technology, but also due to a reassessment of non-technological factors. Creating learning environments that ‘promote active learning, critical thinking, collaborative learning and knowledge creation’ has become one of the most challenging issues for educators. Technology creates the possibility of changing where learning takes place, but often we even model these new environments on traditional spaces (conferencing software using the visual model of traditional meeting rooms ).

Learning environment means more than a space, however. It “ encompasses learning resources and technology, means of teaching, modes of learning, and connections to societal and global contexts. “ For instance, having a network connection, computer and projector enable one to import anything available on the Internet into the learning space, potentially drastically changing the environment. The difficulty becomes balancing the insulated environment of traditional classrooms with the benefits of bringing the world in.

Some of the trends that came to my mind as I was reading this:
1. Distance learning
2. Potential shifts away from traditional textbooks
3. More support staff involved in class creation (including librarians)
4. Project-based learning
5. Where students will be getting their information from in the future

What does library-instruction look like in the future? What will we be teaching to students? How?