Understanding the learning space
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How do schools successfully support the personalising of learning though the use of digital technologies? The research reported here explores the relationship between digital technologies and current moves to provide a more personalised learning experience. Recommendations are made that will encourage a better understanding of the learning spaces and the better use of digital technologies.
We start by presenting a descriptive model of the relationship between learners, the educational spaces they operate in and digital technologies. We identify four key spaces (personal learning space, teaching space, school space and living space) that have an impact on the educational experience of learners. These spaces are currently not well understood and as a result much of the informal and formal learning of children is not acknowledged and not assessed.
We then test the validity of this model using evidence from several national research projects all of which used a mixed-method design collecting qualitative and quantitative data through focus groups, interviews, surveys and national data sets of learner performance. The data reported here comes from the case study reports and includes classroom observations along with first hand comments from teachers, managers and learners. We consider the implications of these data and this model for our understanding of how digital technologies can be used effectively in education.
In the traditional model of education the design of the learning space was mainly under the control of the institution and the teacher. The physical characteristics of the personal learning space can still be influenced by teachers and institutions, but the design of that space and the uses of the technology are under the control of the learners. To create effective learning it is necessary to understand the different spaces in the personalising of learning and to respond to the perceptions and behaviours of learners.