Making Agile Learning Spaces


By: Dr. Tim Springer

A Changed Paradigm - A Changed Approach.
We live in an age of rapid change. Nearly every aspect of everyday life is changing as mobile, portable smart devices expand how, when and where people can connect, communicate and access information.  Whether one believes this is a radical revolution or a gradual evolution, one thing is clear - we can’t go back. We must move forward and adapt. We must understand and embrace new paradigms.

Across a wide spectrum of endeavor we see efforts by large institutions and organizations to become more nimble and responsive.  From disaster relief to computer programming, military operations to business innovation, product development to scientific discovery individuals, groups and communities are exploring ways to integrate new tools, technologies and processes to be faster, more precise, less obtrusive, more efficient and effective.

Rapid changes in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) producing devices that are smaller, more portable, smarter and more powerful are driving changes in every aspect of modern digital life. Flexibility is often cited as one way to accommodate these changing paradigms.  Not that flexibility isn’t important - it is. Flexibility should be the baseline - but we need to be more than simply flexible. As a goal, flexibility connotes a certain looseness. It suggests attempting to be all things to all users - often resulting in nothing done well.

What’s needed is agility. As a goal for process, place or people, agility is purposeful, nimble and adaptive.

Perhaps nowhere else do smart, portable, mobile devices have a greater potential for significantly changing the paradigm than education and learning. While technology has been part of education for many decades, the power and capabilities of smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices are encouraging new approaches to curriculum, teaching and learning. This paper presents research and information to support a complimentary change in approach to thinking about, planning, designing, implementing and managing learning spaces. 

This is the third iPaper in this series. The digital, interactive format provides the reader a choice - to scan or dive deeply into a topic. It is intended to foster discussion about this important and rapidly changing subject. Evidence is offered showing how learning spaces are affected by, can adapt to, and will support mobility and learning in the digital age by being agile.