Wednesday, 3 May 2017

What did I learn today? Part three

Today Lisa and I travelled an hour and a half south to Monte Vista Christian School in Watsonville 10-18 year olds). We were driven there by Steve Sharp a very charismatic leader who has been transforming the school for the last thirteen years.

Steve had a vision of using space (all 5 senses) and tools to create change in practice. He has done this by being the first in many ways. Steve was the first in the world to put iPads in students hands. He has made sure technology is at the forefront of everything that he does and allows students to manage their learning with the right tools. He worked with local and overseas furniture manufacturers to design items that would empower change. he had little he could do with the structural design apart from working on the inside, knocking out walls etc.

This approach has worked to a point,  the next step is to add the language and why's to help with the next steps. As Steve retires soon, his leadership team have the task of continuing the strong vision they have.

One of the great things we saw was the decoration of the spaces to match the subject.

This is an example of their french learning space

This is an example of their American History space.

The spaces were furnished with items collected from garage sales and Op Shops to match the student and staff thinking about how the spaces could look.

The whole campus was spectacular in terms of facilities, from the sports fields to the fleet of buses.

Got to stop in at Apple HQ on the way home too

What did I learn today?

I learned that the use of the 5 senses in spaces can enhance learning.

That students respond differently to spaces designed to work in conjunction with a subject.

I learned that what we are doing is really powerful learning, that the staff at Monte Vista were blown away by.

I learned that the staff at this school are well looked after and give all of themselves to the students.

I learned that a large group of teenagers (800 of them) when treated as adults will respond like them, we were very impressed with the way they interacted with each other and us as visitors, heads up speaking clearly to us and each other, not a grunt in sight.

Tomorrow we head to Nueva School.


  1. Really like the idea of creating environments to feature the various learning areas. Would seem to add a human touch to learning

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