The initial six learning zones exist in the FCL today and each of them focuses on a different approach or aspect of teaching and learning. They encourage those exploring the FCL to consider the physical space, resources, the changing roles of students and teachers, and how to support different learning styles. Collectively, the zones provide a way to visualise how different, innovative pedagogical approaches that incorporate ICT can be implemented in classrooms and across a whole school. The zones reflect what good teaching should be about: being connected, being involved, and being challenged.
The investigate zone is designed to encourage students to discover things for themselves and to be active participants rather than passive listeners. Teachers can particularly use this space to explore inquiry- and project-based learning and help enhance students’ critical thinking skills. The flexible furniture supports this concept and this space can be reconfigured quickly to enable work in groups, pairs or individually. The mix of different technologies available supports students’ research by providing rich, versatile and real-life data along with tools and devices (including data loggers, robots, microscopes, online laboratories, 3D models etc.) that encourage learning to examine and analyse.
Students need to be empowered to do more than absorb or annotate content and resources created by others. In the create zone they have a space in which they can exercise their imaginations in order to plan, design and produce their own work. As well as enabling individual students to learn by creating using the available tools (digital cameras, microphones, video editing software tools for creating podcasts, animations and streaming media etc.) this space also aims to encourage students to develop their soft skills through project-based work and teamwork.
The presentation and delivery of the students’ work has to be factored into the planning of lessons and the present zone shows how the sharing of results can be supported by an area with reconfigurable furniture that encourages interactive presentations, active listening and feedback. Interactive screens and online publication tools enable students to think about how to reach different audiences both face-to-face in the school’s public spaces as well as online (e.g. via the school web site, blogs, podcasts etc.).
A challenge in traditional classroom settings is getting all students actively involved in learning. The interact zone tries to show how a teacher can use different technologies (interactive whiteboards/displays, learner response systems, mobile devices, classroom management software etc.) with different room layouts (students sitting in a horseshoe shape or in small groups) to enhance interactivity and student participation in traditional learning environments.
Being able to collaborate successfully with others is increasingly seen as a key 21st century competence that all students need to develop. This space (including interactive whiteboards/tables, mind-mapping software, brainstorming tools etc.) helps teachers explore: how the quality of collaboration is composed of ownership, shared responsibility and group decision-making processes; and how ICT can help support a richer way of communication and collaboration.
The Develop zone is a space for informal learning and reflection. With soft furniture, study corners, portable devices with headphones, games etc., students can carry out school work independently at their own pace. They can also learn informally in a more relaxed, non-monitored, home-like environment where they can focus on their personal interests. It is a space that aims to support self-expression and self-directed learning and which can be used by teachers to support personalised learning approaches.