Space is something I have thought about a lot, something about which I still have much thinking to do. It’s one of those simple words that slips into a conversation, where the speaker assumes that the listener shares his or her assumptions about its use.
Steve Collis lays his thinking on the line and invites us to examine how we think about technology and space and what constitutes a great space for learning. He leads us towards a sociomaterial appreciation of space and challenges us with the “so what?” question. So what does all this mean for those entrusted with curating the learning spaces of others?
Maybe our understanding of space – the absence of something, the distance between things, even the ‘flux’ in which exchanges occur – hinders our ability to see how we are connected to and shaped by everything; in as much as everything is connected to and shaped by us. Maybe if we start with learning ecology, rather than learning space, and move from there; asking how and why this shapes that and what is changed by its presence or absence, and did those changes hinder or help learning? Then maybe, we might begin to describe the intricate entanglements in which learning occurs in order that we might do a better job of inviting choices, that invoke activity, that enhances learning.
For it was intricate entanglements that I witnessed in those 549 hours of observation; it was neither built environment, nor technology, nor people, nor tools alone; but the spatial arrangement of all, woven together over time, which gave rise to encounters in which deep learning took root.