Transitions 19 reflections

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    Studio 5, the Visual Arts education facility at MGSE, provided delegates with experience of a variety of spaces during the 3 days.
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    Uncle Bill of the Wurundjeri tribe welcomes delegates to country.
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    Assoc Professor Wesley Imms introduces the conference and the ILETC project.
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    Delegates came from 11 countries representing the fields of education, design, industry and govt with a shared interest in the future of learning spaces.
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    Workshop activities explored the themes of design, school culture, student voice, teacher change and policy.
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    Q&A with presenters on Day 1 & 2.
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    Camberwell High School school tour
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    Mount Scopus Memorial College school tour
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    Day 3 moved from the open flexible space to the more formal theatre.
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    ILETC Partner Colin Campbell, Ecophon Saint Gobain
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    Bruce Armstrong reflected on the significance of place, space & the challenges ahead for education.

Transitions 19, 2-4th October, at The University of Melbourne brought together 130 educators, architects, researchers, policy makers and representatives of industry from 11 countries to explore what is involved in the journey from traditional to more innovative learning spaces.

This is the 3rd year the ILETC project team have organised Transitions and this year we took a new approach to the traditional research conference format – developing a program that used an innovative learning environment to demonstrate the ideas being presented and incorporate workshop activities.  Feedback from previous conferences has often pointed out that a conference on innovative learning environments should lead by example. The team collaborated with project partners, Steelcase, to design an experience that supported traditional approaches to sharing academic research, accommodated a large audience and also demonstrated the influence of the physical environment on engagement and learning.

It was an experiment which had great potential, as well as some risks.  The presenters and participants embraced the opportunity to try something different and the event was a great successful – and the minor hiccups, became part of the learning experience for us all*.  A consistent theme in the feedback was the value of engaging with a range of research both from the academic and practitioners’ perspective, the variety of sessions and opportunity to network with others.

The 3 day program featured presentations by academic and practitioner researchers from across the world.  The presentations were selected from an open call for abstracts which were blind peer reviewed, with each presenter submitting a summary of their presentation and research.  While in previous years presentations were followed by a panel discussion, feedback indicated that participants wanted more active learning opportunities. This year each session ended with a workshop or discussion activity that was designed to provide experiences of different modes of learning. The full program is available here and presenters have made their slides available here. The full papers will be published in the proceedings early next year. (You can access previous years’ proceedings here).

As in past years, the conference was an important part of the ILETC project’s research activities and participants provided input by completing short activities such as surveys or checklists. This year the project tested the Spatial Typologies, which are currently in development. This input is currently being analysed and will be reported in the conference proceedings.

The aim of  Transitions is to provide a platform for researchers and practitioners to connect, where two way exchanges of knowledge and experiences build greater understanding between researchers, educators, architects, education authorities and government. One of the most valuable and enduring outcomes of  Transitions events are the connections made between participants and the development of an  international network of researchers, educators and designers involved in learning environments. While these connections can be sustained by regular contact from a distance – events like Transitions highlight the value of meeting in person, being part of a diverse audience with common interests and the many incidental meetings that can spark collaborations.

The project team would like to thank all participants and presenters for being part of Transitions 19. While the ILETC project will finish in June 2020, plans are already being developed for future research and Transitions events. We will keep you posted of developments via our newsletter.

*Participant feedback rated the event 4.3/5 overall. 

We would like to thank the following organisations whose contribution helped make Transitions 19 a success:

ILETC Project Partners for expert advice, presentations & support

Steelcase (Asia Pacific) for support with event concept design

ILETC PhD researchers for presentations and facilitation

BCC Management for event coordination support

Mary and Steve the caterers for the amazing food and hospitality

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