Error message

  • Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in include_once() (line 1389 of /Library/Server/Web/Data/Sites/Documents/jonathansblog/includes/
  • Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in require_once() (line 341 of /Library/Server/Web/Data/Sites/Documents/jonathansblog/includes/

Warning message

The service having id "facebook_widget" is missing, reactivate its module or save again the list of services.

Engaging Learners in the design of their learning space using Post-IT notes

Class JF9 use post-it notes to share their views on their learning space.Having recently taken a new role at Kings Road Primary School in Chelmsford, as Class Teacher and ICT Co-ordinator, pupils in Class JF9 began work on identifying the aspects of their learning space that they consider either 'Works Well', 'Is So So' or 'Doesn't Work Well'. I asked pupils to consider aspects including classroom layout, behaviour, access to resources they need, heating, lighting, homework and such like. In fact, on this occasion, the pupils could comment on anything which may have an effect on their well-being and ability to learn.

As you can see, the pupils weren't shy in holding back on their thoughts, opting, rather unsurprisingly to comment mostly on things that don't work well. It would be easy to therefore think that they are mostly unhappy with how things are, whereas in fact, quite the opposite is true. The pupils realise that this is their opportunity to comment, feeling empowered to make a difference to their learning space, and if they didn't say what they were thinking, change couldn't happen. After pupils were given time to write down their thoughts - one per post-it note, we grouped the post-it notes into categories.  Three key areas for development stood out:

1. It was felt that the classrooom layout as it stands didn't work for some. One table, although able to see the Interactive Whiteboard, couldn't see the ordinary whiteboard which is used some of the time. Others in the class felt they were squashed and this led to conflict between pupils.

2. Pupils commented on homework as the next biggest issue. They simply said that although they enjoyed homework, they found it too easy and wanted greater challenge.

3. Pupils decided that the class computer was positioned in a space which wasn't very accessible. They wanted it to have a much more significant position in the classroom, rather than pushed into a corner. On reflection, it's interesting that often, things we don't use so much, or want to get out of the way, are typically placed in the corners of any room. Why would we position ICT in the corner of the room when it has such a large influence on children's motivation and capability through it's use.

Class JF9 had a long conversation about how we would address the three main issues. I was very much surprised and taken aback by their solution to the classroom layout. Rather than simply move the groups of tables around, pupils were very keen that we should have tables arranged in rows. I wanted to confirm this was the view of the the majority and a show of hands confirmed that, with about 90% opting for tables in rows whilst the others remained undecided.

As a teacher, I'd prefer that children work on tables arranged in groups, because I think the opportunity for collaboration and discussion is  much greater. I presented my thoughts to the pupils and they took them onboard, responding with a very viable solution to collaborative work. It was great to see pupils thinking hard, challenging and responding to differing viewpoints. At one point, I think the pupils thought with tables in rows, I'd worry that visitors to the school might think I was a strict and boring teacher. Without any prompting they were quick to point out the converse is true, suggesting they could place a sign on the door saying "Mr Furness is a really fun and exciting teacher and that we have chosen to have our tables in rows."

Aren't kids wonderful?



Hi Jon - looks like a very familiar activity! I still have contact with the Design Council regarding the web site and we are working to try to get it back online again soon. Seems that our former paymasters are still playing silly buggers with the domain names. Wouldn't it be good if we can get that back up and running though? Certainly would have been useful for this activity... and Carmel would be proud of you!


Hi Hal,

Oh dear. That doesn't sound good. I thought they weren't interested in the projects after all? I can't see who could possibly be following up on the designmyschool work in ARU?

Hey ho... no doubt that will get resolved in time, but it's time we don't have when schools need help now. Sigh.

Your comment has reminded me, yet again, of how much the experience I have had in other roles, from Westlands CP School, Ultralab days (decade!?) and Stepping Stones have all contributed to the wealth of ideas and approaches that I have now. Of course it's got very little to do with the organisations themselves, but the people that I've met and worked with in those organisations. I've been very fortunate to work alongside so many people, you included.

As for the software, no doubt the software would have helped enormously here... and I remember the many user trials and tests we did with the toolkit in and around the UK. They were the days! Carmel was so enthusiastic. However, post-it notes are an incredibly cheap, reliable and tactile tool that it makes a pretty good alternative. What it doesn't do of course is all the cool and clever stuff that we engineered, liked storing results, overlaying graphs and comparing results between schools, pupils, staff etc.

Do you still have a version that I could run-up and test again with my pupils? If you have the code still, I could run on my server. What do you think?


Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Enter the characters shown in the image.