Transforming Learning

In May this year I attended my thirteenth LEA Conference in Perth, which I also helped organise. I may be slightly biased, but I thought it was fantastic. It is great to see so many passionate people trying to create better learning experiences for our future generations, and it was lovely to get all these people in the one space to learn from. These were some of my highlights.

Paul Collard of Creativity, Culture & Education

I happened upon the work CCE were doing in Perth a few years ago , so when we started planning this conference I was keen to get Paul on board to talk to us. Their work on developing creativity in students through inquisitive programs that grow the imagination, all within the primary school curriculum, is really interesting. I enjoyed hearing about the in-school programs they are working on in schools, collaborating with students to co-design their learning and help them re-imagine what school can be.

Francine Houben of Mecanoo

Francine shared her work on public learning places, including the beautifully designed Library of Birmingham. This space was developed around how people learn, with space to learn individually, in groups, and both inside and outside. These learning spaces are are developed as cultural hubs – connective points within the community with room to think, to discuss, to improvise, to collaborate, to innovate and to concentrate.

Ewan McIntosh of NoTosh

Oh, I could listen to Ewan talk about NoTosh’s work all day… In this session, Ewan discussed the NoTosh process for coming up with a hundred stories. This process could be used for numerous things, but in this instance was a demonstration of how schools can develop a hundred stories about the type of learning they want to encourage, and the impact they want to have on their students. I like the idea of changing your mindset to look at ideas in a different way – for example describing learning processes without words – using only pictures to get to the bare bones of what is important. He used this example of a Picasso sketch which really grabbed me:

Image result for picasso bull sketch

Viggo Haremst of Henning Larsen

Viggo shared his thoughts on educational institutions as active players in society. At the centre of all architecture is to design for people, and as an extension to that is the increasing importance of designing for the future of our planet, given the environmental imperatives now affecting our lives. As our climate, people and cities change, how do our buildings need to change to suit new dynamics? In addition, learning and how we do it is changing so rapidly, with learning moving from ‘in the classroom’ to activities happening in public space, from receiving (large groups) and reflecting (small groups) to activating learning (individually). He also presented how these ideas were brought to life at the QUT Education Faculty building, in conjunction with Wilson Architects.

As always, the LEA conference was full of great presenters, interesting site visits and fascinating conversations. For anyone interested in the future of learning and how students are going to need to develop in the future to suit new environments, I recommend attending the annual conference, as it always reveals something different about learning and the future, that I hadn’t considered before.

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