Monthly Archives: December 2012

‘Learning Landscapes’ in Australian schools

About 300 schools in Easter Australia have come up with a variety of ideas for creating learning lanscpaes. Their understanding of a “Learning Landscape” or rather “Learnscapes” is:

“Learnscapes are environments specially designed for learning. Places where students of all ages can participate in experiential learning that engages them not just in the acquisition of knowledge, but also in the development of life skills.”

“A growing number of Australian schools have been involved in projects to increase the diversity of their school grounds by adding features such as gardens, forests, ponds, shelters and outdoor classrooms. Creating a learnscape supports the development of a wider range of learning experiences“.

Looks like their understanding of learning landscapes is ecosystem oriented; an expansion of the classroom but within the school grounds.



Finland is hyped for having the best school system in the world. In 2010, Tony Wagner, of Harvard, was invited by the Finland National Board of Education to share his ideas about education. Bob Compton, best known for his film “Two Million Minutes”, sent a film crew with Tony and shadowed him as he visited schools, met teachers, parents, and students….the film is at last online on Vimeo! Enjoy the great documentary !!

“The Finland Phenomenon: Inside The World’s Most Surprising School System”

If you want to read some more before you watch the film go to Daily Kos, there is a good summary written by “teacherken”.

Here’s an excerpt:

1.  Finland does not have high stakes tests
2.  Finland worked to develop a national consensus about its public schools
3.  Having made a commitment to its public schools, Finland has few private schools.
4.  When asked about accountability, Finns point out that they not only do not have tests, they do not have an inspectorate.  They find that trusting people leads to them being accountable for themselves.
5.  Finland does not have incredibly thick collections of national standards.  They have small collections of broadly defined standards, and allow local implementation.
6.  Qualifying to become a teacher is difficult.
7.  Teachers are well trained, well supported, and given time to reflect about what they are doing, including during the school day.
8.  Finns start school later in life than we do
9.  Finnish students do little homework.
10. There is meaningful technical education in Finnish Schools