Quiet please, I’m learning

This blogpost is part of the #EdBlogNZ February challenge. I’d like to take you on a photo tour of my learning spaces.

Because I work for the Connected Learning Advisory unfortunately I no longer have a classroom to share, so I thought I’d focus rather on the spots around my house that I like to learn in.

IMG_1957Take this spot, for example. This is where you’ll mostly find me weekday mornings. I alternate between perching on a stool and standing. I like the flexibility of choosing my stance. Note the multiple screens: iPad and laptop are visible, but I reckon at least one smartphone isn’t too far away either. But those of you keen of eye will also spot a newspaper – I do prefer to read ‘off-screen’.


This is a new spot I’ve been exploring lately. There’s a practical reason for this: easy access to a power point for working on my laptop. But it also gets nice early afternoon sun. This room becomes a bit of a ‘dumping ground’ for my papers and is where I store a lot of my work stuff. It will be developed into a proper home office soonish. If you’re looking closely you’ll spy a yellow lanyard hanging from the lamp – my “pimped” name tag from yesterday’s educampwelly!


Meet one of my “colleagues”! This is my lovely cat. She is a very pleasant work mate. The perfect mix of quiet and provider of distractions when required. I love to hang out in my lounge – it also gets great afternoon sun, and is a comfy place to read. And a lot of reading happens here any day of the week! (Please note my bespoke cushion made just for me by a dear friend.)


Finally, this is my favourite outside reading spot. Yep, just there beside the herb planter. Not the most picturesque, so I thought I’d show you my view from when I sit there. You may have already gathered that I’m a bit of a sun-bunny, and this is another sun-trap at my house. Again, lots of reading happens out here.

So, what might we make of my learning places? You might well assume (and, quite correctly) that I’m an introvert at heart. I need quiet, tidy, uncluttered spaces in which to learn. I don’t like music playing, the TV on, or too much chatter. An engaged Philippa is a quiet one, because lots is happening internally. I like nice stationery, and gotta have my favourite pencil and lots of post-it notes handy.

I do like collaboration. Discussion, debate and questioning are important learning processes for me. But I need to schedule these and usually prepare for them. I don’t like to be put on the spot to be asked for my opinion. However, synthesis and reflection are something that must happen solo for me.

Which kind of takes me to a little bit of a soap box. Remember learners like me in your innovative learning environments. We’ll need quiet break-out spaces, natural light, and uncluttered classroom walls. Remember learners like me in your staff meetings. We need agendas beforehand, and small groups to discuss issues in. You might like to offer us back-channels or asynchronous ways to offer opinions. And remember, just because we’re not loud doesn’t mean we’re not engaged.

Pick Me!

This post is my application for a 2015 CORE eFellowship.

#edchatNZ steering committee. L-R: Heather Eccles, Sonya van Schaijik, me, Matt Nicoll, Alyx Gillett, Danielle Myburgh, Mel Moore
#edchatNZ steering committee. L-R: Heather Eccles, Sonya van Schaijik, me, Matt Nicoll, Alyx Gillett, Danielle Myburgh, Mel Moore

My application presentation can be found here.

My Twitter profile
My Twitter profile
The kind words of Steve Mouldey
The kind words of Steve Mouldey

Modern = Good?

I have just finished reading Claire Amos’ eminently sensible article written for the New Zealand Education Review.  (You can read the whole thing here.)

It seems to me that she really hits the nail on the head when she poses the following question:

“Interestingly, while I value and see huge potential in both MLEs and (student-owned) Learning Technologies, I am also concerned about them. I am concerned that the development of MLEs and the introduction of Learning Technologies can become a bit of a smoke screen and can actually create an illusion of modernity when little has actually changed. I worry that the introduction of these physically palpable and measurable objects will be seen as making a change for the better, when the one thing that really needs to be ‘introduced’ is still lacking: the teacher’s belief that the student is capable of leading their own learning. How do we ensure that MLEs and Learning Technologies don’t actually create the educational equivalent of ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ with old beliefs and teaching approaches being dressed up in hip and groovy clothing?”

This fits in with the challenge I see for my school as move towards BYOD.  It is not about the technology.  Ultimately it is about the pedagogy and that is the change we need to spark in our teachers.  Bean bags and iPads do not necessarily bring about future-focused learning.  And that is a mind shift I still need to wrestle with myself.  But boy, it’s fun thinking!