From physical to digital learning spaces:

Are we escaping the classroom?

@sahoward_uow                    @jotondeur


Sarah Howard                         Jo Tondeur

University of Wollongong & Vrije Universiteit Brussel                       



Sarah                                              Jo

5540 kms apart


How can we bring them together to create an active learning environment, a third teacher?

What is the problem here?

What do we know about the physical learning environment?

What do we know about the digital learning environment?

Let's find out!

Let's think about space... before we go further.

HINT: Turn your phone landscape to use.

How was that...?

What do we mean by "physical learning environment"?   


Interaction between architecture and education

What do we mean by school?

The hardware of a school (Lawn, 1999)

The software of a school


The social agency can be exercised relative to things and social agency can be exercised by things

A. Gell, ‘Art and Agency. An anthropological theory’ in: Oxford: Oxford University Press


        Naturalness - Stimulation - Individualisation


The most well-known physical space where formal learning takes place is still a mystery

What is the problem here?


What do we mean by 'digital'?

What do we mean by

 a 'digital space'?

Digital hardware & infrastructure

Digital software & tools

Digital resources

Digital strategies

Platform pedagogies

Considerations of platform pedagogies include:

  • The pedagogicization of platforms
  • Digital literacies, datafication and data literacy.     
  • The platformization of pedagogy


What is the problem here?

How do we bring together hardware, software and resources to create a digital learning environment?

What is the goal and what are the strategies?

Before the GOT...

Potential space

From classroom biographies: from 1960 -2010

Digital technologies... in the physical space!

To remote teaching


What about pedagogy and learning spaces?

What is the problem here?

Where's the third teachers?

To blended learning

After the GOT?

What kind of research do we need?

Observing learning spaces...

The learning environment...

Bringing spaces together

We don't need to escape the classroom!


@sahoward_uow                    @jotondeur



Lawn, M. & Grosvenor, I. (eds.) (2005). Materialities of schooling: design, technology, objects, routines. Oxford: Symposium Books

Perrotta, C., Gulson, K. N., Williamson, B., & Witzenberger, K. (2021). Automation, APIs and the distributed labour of platform pedagogies in Google Classroom. Critical Studies in Education, 62(1), 97–113.

Sefton-Green, J., & Pangrazio, L. (2021). Platform Pedagogies –Toward a Research Agenda. In Algorithmic Rights and Protections for Children.


Barrett et al. study

And, evolving socio-technological interactions...



In complex digital landscapes...   

(e.g. Navarro-Bringas et al., 2020)

Some assumptions about learning spaces

- Digital technologies will improving learning -

- New learning spaces will improving learning -

Inspiration Guides -- Jo research

‘potential spaces’ in times of disturbance

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