The Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN) from the University of Melbourne is an international network bringing together academia and industry to research and discuss physical learning environments – not just in schools, but also vocational, medical, corporate and university contexts.
At their recent sold-out conference, ‘Talking Spaces 9: The Decade Ahead’, we were delighted that two Year 12 students, Meg and Sophie, were able to present to the audience of designers, educators, policy makers and planners. In fact, they were the only students in attendance, alongside presenting – an amazing experience for them both!
Meg and Sophie presenting to the other delegates.
MLC has already played a significant part in the emerging educational research on learning spaces. Says Lisa Wilks-Beasy, Deputy Head of English and who also attended the conference, “At MLC, we encourage a culture of research within the school.”
They were able to also listen to the other speakers, including Dr Ben Cleveland, who is also working with the College on existing spaces and the new Year 7-8 Learning Centre. The keynote speaker was Dr Jonas Nordquist from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, who presented ‘Learning environments 2009-2019: What’s changed? What’s going to change?’
The highlight for Sophie and Meg was being able to participate as delegates. They were also able to speak with Dr Nordquist, with the academic even saying he sees MLC crews row on the Yarra River!
In their presentations, Sophie and Meg highlighted their schooling experiences, how they engage with MLC’s learning spaces and the future of learning environments research.
“We’ve never done anything like it,” says Sophie of the conference. “Leading up to this, it was the first time we’ve thought about space and its involvement in learning. Also being around all those accomplished people was really cool, as they have a different perspective on learning.”
It was also valuable for Meg. “I was surprised to find that the things we see at school and enjoy are the things that they’re aspiring to, like spaces to work collaboratively and even having extra sunlight.
“I’ve definitely started noticing more about our learning spaces.”
MLC are delighted to continue to work with the University of Melbourne on research projects around learning spaces and pedagogy.