Reimagining learning spaces : A research report for the Queensland Council for Social Science Innovation

Bland, Derek, Hughes, Hilary E., & Willis, Jill (2013) Reimagining learning spaces : A research report for the Queensland Council for Social Science Innovation. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.

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The purpose of the Reimagining Learning Spaces project was to conduct an empirical study that would result in findings to inform the design and use of physical school facilities and examine the ways in which these constructions influence pedagogy. The study focused on newly-established school libraries in Queensland, many of which had been established with funding from the Federal Government’s Building the Education Revolution economic stimulus program.

To explore the field, the study sought multiple perspectives that included those of school students as well as teacher-librarians and other key school staff, addressing the following focus question: - How does the physical environment of school libraries influence pedagogic practices and learning outcomes? Further research questions that guided the inquiry included: - What are the implications for teacher-librarians when transitioning into a new library learning space? - How do members of the school community (principals, teachers, teacher-librarians and students) experience the creation of a new school library learning space? - How do school students imagine the design and use of engaging library learning spaces?

An extensive review explored Australian and international literature based on the research questions, focused on the following major areas: • School library renewal: trends in reimagining the place of libraries in virtual and real space • School libraries as learning spaces: the expanded role of school libraries in whole-school pedagogical support. • The role of teacher-librarians in new times • Built environments and the implications for learning • Learners and learning in newly established spaces • Learning space design: perspectives, research and principles • Pedagogical principles and voices of experience • Transitions to newly created learning spaces

Approach Using an innovative qualitative research design, Reimagining Learning Spaces investigated learner and teacher perspectives across three intersecting domains exploring: - Imagined spaces: learners’ imaginative concepts of learning within engaging learning environments; - Emerging spaces: experiences of teacher-librarians in the transition into new spaces for learning, and - Established spaces: learners’ and teachers’ perceptions of ways in which the physical environment influences and shapes pedagogy.

Seven schools that had recently benefitted from the BER program became the research sites at which data were collected from teacher-librarians, teachers, school leaders and students. With this range of participants, an appropriately diverse set of data collection tools was developed, including video interviews, drawings, and focus groups. Evocative narrative case studies (Simons 2009) were developed from the data, representing the voices of users of learning spaces.

Key findings The study’s findings are presented in this report and complemented by an array of visual materials on the project web site http:// The report includes: • a set of seven cases studies that reveal nuanced experiences of designing and creating school libraries, based on the narrative of key stakeholders (teacher-librarians, teachers, students and principals) • thematic discussion of student imaginings of their ideal school library, based on drawings and narrative of students at the seven case study schools
• critical analysis of the case study and student imaginings, focusing on implications for (re)designing school learning spaces and pedagogy, and responding to the study’s overarching research question - .17 recommendations to support: designing, transitioning and reimagining pedagogy; leadership; and policy development

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 63000
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Additional Information: Funded by Queensland Council for Social Science
Keywords: Learning space design, School design, School libraries, School students, School principals, School teachers, Teacher librarians, Qualitative case studies, Visual research, Imagination
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Children & Youth Research Centre
Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 29 Sep 2013 23:24
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2013 05:16

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