‘The Blender’ is the nickname for the Faculty of Education’s blended learning room at QUT, B.240
Our blended learning space is designed with six movable group hubs, each with an egg shaped table (really great design imo), movable chairs and a digital electronic workstation. There is also a store room containing a trolley of 20 laptops. Yesterday I went in to take some snaps:
The question is: Will it Blend?
One of the features of blended learning is that it uses a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous instruction. To this end I have already created a unit blog and twitter account that will be used by activity groups in all lessons. Now comes the hard bit – how to change my pedagogy so that more than one thing can be going on in this room at once. This will involve considering:
- how I position myself in the room (which table do I sit at?)
- how to control group work noise (a struggle with year 9 anyway)
- how to create discrete ‘learning spaces’ (I want a cave and a campfire, but will work in a room shared by other teachers?)
- whether this room is as massive as it seems (the tables and chairs aren’t easily removed making the table/group setting an unavoidable focus).
My ideas so far include:
- students starting each tutorial at a table with their ‘reading group’ to reflect on the scholarly materials set for the week
- moving to whole class activity or teacher-lead discussion/screening (we could all come sit on the floor/roll our chairs into a theatre style for this)
- students all breaking away at some point into ‘activity groups’ (different to their ‘reading groups’) to engage in collaborative and connected learning activities
- having at all times a range of individual tasks (housed on the blog?) for students to work independently on (so no-one ends up sitting around doing nothing while one group member writes discussion notes on a blog etc.)
I love this room so much, and can see so much potential in it. I’d love to hear any ideas that other teachers have for using this space effectively…there’s a movie of the book already, lol: