Upcoming SIG events and activities

- Upcoming online Learning Environments Webinar planned for 14th October 2020, 1-2pm NZST, details to follow

- Special issue NZJES on Learning Environments, in progress. We received 18 articles submitted for peer review currently in various stages of the review process. Many thanks to Leon Benade as Editor and to all reviewers and contributors for supporting this initiative. We look forward to the publication of the special issue. 

Rationale for the SIG:

There has been increasing interest for a SIG focussed on learning environments due to international and current NZ developments in innovative learning spaces and increasing multidisciplinary collaborations between disciplines such as architecture and education impacting on our current understandings of teaching, learning and assessment practices. This is a vibrant yet emerging field of research. A number of NZARE members have indicated their interest in being named a member of the founding group.

Aims for the SIG:

The Learning Environments SIG aims to provide a forum for:

  • sharing and discussion of ideas

  • developing shared research interests

  • the formation of research networks to foster collaborative research

  • supporting members to present and publish high-quality research which informs policy and professional practice

The work of the SIG will relate to all aspects of learning environments across education sectors and will relate to physical, pedagogical, social, cultural, digital/technological aspects, and leadership of learning environments.

Research Interests:

This SIG should appeal to practitioners, researchers, and interested others across all levels of education who have an interest in the following areas:

  • Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs)

  • Flexible Learning Environments (FLS) / modern learning environments (MLEs)

  • Informal learning environments, e.g. play-based learning, beyond the school/tertiary institution

  • Creative/interactive spaces, e.g. makerspaces, museums

  • Digitally-supported teaching-learning spaces


2020 Co-convenors 







Suzanne Trask 

I am a part-time Research Fellow at the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland. I work in areas of health science knowledge translation and student engagement in science, leading and supporting curriculum development and evaluation. I recently gained my PhD (August 2019) in secondary science education. My thesis demonstrated ways that affordances in the national curriculum and assessment systems might support different types of personalised pathways for diverse senior secondary science learning in innovative learning environments.








 Dr Elaine Khoo

I am a senior research fellow at the Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, Faculty of Education at the University of Waikato. In my current role, I lead, support and facilitate the development, conduct and dissemination of research projects involving teaching and learning in digitally-supported learning environments across a range of educational levels. My research orientation is a sociocultural one with a qualitative interpretive methodological focus aimed at improving pedagogical practice. More details can be obtained from the website:



Learning Environments 2019 Symposium

The inaugural Learning Environments SIG Symposium was hosted by the University of Waikato on 11th October, attended by thirty-four participants from a range of professional sectors including the Ministry, universities and institutes, secondary and primary schools, architects and PPTA. Of these, twenty-two were non-NZARE members, an indication of the wider interest in learning environments research.

We are grateful to our invited keynote speakers who provided the substance and inspiration for the reflections and discussions on the day, with presentations framed around the Symposium theme of Learning Environments: Policy, practice, philosophies.”

  • Jamie Strange, Labour List MP (Hamilton), speaking on Looking forward: 21st century innovative learning environments
  • Chris Bradbeer, Stonefields School, speaking on Together in the space-between: Teacher collaboration and innovative learning environments in New Zealand primary schools
  • Dr Leon W Benade, AUT speaking on Why is it important to think about space theoretically and philosophically?
  • Dr Noeline Wright, University of Waikato speaking on Transit lounges or VIP club rooms?: Spaces and places for learning

Our post-presentation round-table sessions touched on many topical issues which aligned with the following four themes:

  • Building design including cultural input
  • Perceptions and uses of space for diverse groups
  • Research-practice nexus
  • Transition and change management

Videos of the four keynote presentations from the day are available below:

Dr Leon Benade’s presentation: please click here

Chris Bradbeer's presentation: please click here

Jamie Strange's presentation: please click here

Dr Noeline Wright’s presentation: please click here

Invited keynote speaker - Jamie Strange, Labour MP (Hamilton)


Q&A with MP Jamie Strange



Invited keynote speaker - Chris Bradbeer, Stonefields School


Invited keynote speaker - Dr Leon Benade


Invited keynote speaker - Dr Noeline Wright