Collaborative Learning Design in the Middle School: Sculpting 21st Century Learners

By Sarah Olivia Quinn.

Published by The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: October 30, 2015 $US5.00

Twenty-first century learners have incredibly diverse learning interests, needs and aspirations. Engaging middle school students and sculpting successful, confident, active and creative learners is a constant endeavour for educators. This presentation reports on an ethnographically informed case study conducted in a South Australian Middle School, which explored how four teachers and their students acted as collaborative learning designers, while creating an innovative approach to the design of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment in their classrooms. The research also explored how the "codesign" approach, supported by technological tools, contributed to student engagement and learning outcomes for middle school students. Data was collected using multiple participatory design methods, including codesign workshops, observation, focus group evaluations and collection of design artefacts. Data analysis was informed by a layered approach to positive discourse analysis. The implications of this research show that students can and will act as capable and creative codesigners of their learning. This is most effective for engagement when educators involve students in planning the curriculum in areas of interest, and a pedagogy that enables choice, autonomy and active knowledge making. Moreover, when educators inspire, challenge and stretch each student in their classroom, they can achieve beyond what they thought possible before.

Keywords: Learning Design, Curriculum and Pedagogy, Student Engagement, Participatory Design, Technology in Learning, Critical Ethnography

22nd International Journal of Learning: Annual Review, Volume 22, pp.31-51. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: October 30, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.064MB)).

Sarah Olivia Quinn

PhD Candidate, Education, Arts and Social Sciences, School of Education, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia