Anywhere learning

A couple of years ago we wrote a story about a future library user for one of our clients.  We often write these types of narratives to help our clients to engage with the users experience of space and their future learning needs.  Helping our clients to understand what may happen in the future is an important aspect of our role and one we put a great deal of research into.  The story in question explored a day in the life of a undergraduate student. It followed her as she meandered across campus over the course of a day using her mobile smart device as she went to access different information streams as she bumped into a different people.  The aim of this profile was to make clear two points, 1) The academic campus will evolve to be a learning community where learning takes place beyond the boundaries of the classroom or library, and 2) Smart technology will change the spaces, places and ways in which we all learn.

The release of the ipad and latest iphone last week brought this topic home again. All of us at Nomad now have iphones and its fascinating to see the  varied ways we use these.  Fundamentally though we all use this technology to both entertain and to educate. Smart technology provides unprecedented routes into learning, it disguises learning as entertainment and sneaks up on the user. This is ‘infotainment’ or ‘edutainment’ at it’s best.   In the right hands this can be an important tool and we were very interested to find this article from Futurelab about a school where students have been given iphone’s as learning aids.

So how will this impact on space and place?  Some people feel that spaces will no longer be important while others still feel that flexibility will be the key.  Our research has led us to believe that both these answers are simplistic.  The ways in which people will interact may alter but face to face interaction will always be a critical part of the collegiate experience, and just as smart technology helps learning to sneak up upon the user so too will learning spaces seamlessly create opportunities for learning to occur.  In the last year we have been exploring a number of experimental learning spaces which support smart technology and we will be taking part in an international competition this summer to explore the future learning spaces as influenced by new technologies.  If you have any thoughts about the future of learning spaces we would love your comments.  In the meantime check back in the autumn to get a preview of our competition entry!

  1. June 28th, 2010

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