Innovative learning spaces in Italy

Internationally there is a growing interest in how learning spaces can best support students in developing the skills and knowledge they need for the future. This post provides some insights into the research being conducted in Italy …

In the last five years Italian school buildings have been an important focus of the national government and the Ministry of Education. This is due to the impact on Italian school buildings by earthquakes, lack of maintenance and technical adjustments. Also too introduction and integration of ICT in the daily activities in standard classrooms is requiring teachers to change the classroom setting.

The national statistics on early school leavers, student outcomes and technical conditions of the Italian school buildings present a fragile scenario. Many schools – motivated by the necessity to change the educational model towards an innovative one based on pedagogies that better support students to become lifelong and self-directed learners – have decided to implement some modification of the learning spaces.

Snapshot of INDIRE resources:



INDIRE has developed a new framework for schools buildings called Learning Spaces 1+4 ,  based on research and best practices in Europe. This framework promotes multipurpose spaces enabling formal and informal learning. 1 is for the former classroom, now a modern learning environment that is open to the rest of the school. 4 is the four main types of spaces in schools: agora, individual area, informal area and exploration lab.

The National Institute for Documentation, Innovation and Educational Research (INDIRE), the Italian Ministry of Education’s oldest research organisation is researching learning spaces from a range of perspectives.  One of the many research projects undertaken by INDIRE is a study to investigate how teachers use innovative school buildings using active pedagogy and if the new spaces have such affordances to impact on teachers’ and students’ behaviour. It seeks to contextualise international Post Occupancy Evaluation tools and methods to the necessities of the Italian school context. INDIRE presented at Transitions18 in Copenhagen and a forthcoming paper will be published in the proceedings for Transitions 18 on this study.

Scuola Primaria Montagnola Gramsci (Montagnola
Gramsci Primary School, Florence, Italy)

INDIRE develops new teaching models, tries out new technology for training courses, and fosters innovation redefining the relationship between space and time of learning and teaching. At an international level, INDIRE is part of the EUN Consortium European Schoolnet, consisting of 31 European Ministries of Education, promoting innovation in teaching and learning in an international dimension. The Institute looks towards Europe also through its many collaborations which allow the creation of a network for cooperation, contacts, information flows and experience exchanges involving pupils, schools, enterprises and institutions in all European countries.

Contact: Giuseppina Cannella

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