I'm still thinking about that classroom without walls.
What would it look like?
I think there are two key aspects to that question - what will the timetable look like and what will it physically look like?
Some of NZ's newest schools have been set up with some thought towards the future and go some way towards answering those questions.
Alfriston College in Manukau and The Albany Senior High School (Auckland) run on 100 minute learning periods. This means that most learners have three classes per day.
The Alfriston timetable is suspended at times to allow for extended days of non-timetabled work such as:
- i-extend is a 50 minute lesson which runs once a week. During this time learners opt in to a class of their interest. i-extend classes cover a wide range of learning topics from Tai Chi to Cartooning.
- i-learn is a new idea that Alfriston College introduced to the Year 9 learners in 2011. For three school days normal timetable is suspended, with learners instead focussing on an inquiry based project of their choosing
- and 3 Day Episodes happen each term at Alfriston College. The normal school timetable is suspended and learners opt into an 'episode' of their choosing. Episodes on offer cover a wide range of learning topics from culture, to finding out about a career, to learning a new craft.
The learning environment is different. The brochures show large open spaced spaces, much like you’d see in a large space in a primary school where different levels happily coexist under a facilitator.
They have created rooms that can be adjusted to suit different purposes. I’d like to see that in action and see how much flexibility rooms have and more importantly – if they are used in different ways.
It's a start but it doesn't really get to the nitty gritty of a classroom without walls to my mind. So what would?