Something very interesting happened over the weekend.
It started with my Friday post of “This Week in Ontario Edublogs“. One of the blogs that I had read recently was Peter Cameron’s post “My Transformed Classroom“. He had taken a 360 degree video that highlighted the various things that contribute to the learning environment for his students and himself. It was an interesting glimpse inside what appears to be a very active learning space.
Stepping back, one of the activities that my Computer Science university class did after their practice teaching assignments was an around the room discussion about what teaching teenagers was like and inevitably the discussion would be about the environment of the classroom they visited. The discussion was interesting on two fronts. First, none of them would believe me when I talked about the learning habits and interests of the average teenager. The first time I taught the course, I really struggled with this. Nobody would believe me and I still remember the first debriefing – “We get it now, sir”. I came to understand their context; they’re just spent four or more years at university and were familiar with the lecture, the lecture hall, the computers nailed to the desktops, the wide open internet access, the ability to install whatever software they needed, etc. This led nicely to the second discussion where they would talk about what a secondary school computer science classroom actually looked like. Some resembled the university but the majority were considerably more student-centred in design and arrangement. Some students returned with pictures of what the environment was and all of this led to an invigorating discussion about classroom design and just what it might look like when they finally got their own classroom. All they needed was to get hired and then get themselves some funding.
OK, so back on point.
I had mentioned in my post that Peter’s classroom was an example of what might be and that it would be interesting for more educators to share what it looks like in their digs.
I had every intention of creating my own blog post about the idea I floated that
“Someone should start a challenge to have teachers reflect on classroom design by showing what they’re doing. You just need something to record video and then upload it to YouTube. You could even call it a Classroom Design Challenge.”
but Peter beat me to it. With a Twitter message, he challenged anyone who cared to read and participate.
— Peter Cameron ADE (@cherandpete) November 26, 2016
Fortunately, he had tagged me in the post. I was away from the computer at the time and so just retweeted it but it was later that I got involved and tagged the mandatory five others.
— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) November 26, 2016
I tried to tag some people from different teaching realities and also those who might be liable to actually participate.
Peter wrote a blog post of his own outlining his thoughts and the rules of the game. It’s a good read – #ourlearningspace. I hope that you click through and read his thoughts and enjoy his video again.
I think that it’s important to note that there’s no right answer to this. If enough people buy into the concept and contribute, then readers might be able to cherry pick ideas for their own classroom design pursuits. And, hopefully, instructors at a Faculty of Education could use it when they talk about classroom environment design and what is actually doable.
As I write this post on Sunday morning, there are already folks who have bought in and are using the hashtag.
Click here to see the discussion and please take a moment to participate.