ILE = innovative learning environment
MLE = modern learning environment
MOE = Ministry of Education in New Zealand
OECD = Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - 34 developed countries
UDL = universal design for learning
There has been a lot of discussion in educational fields around Innovative Learning Environments. Now that a few have been implemented around the country, once again we see a backlash from people who find it hard to accept, make, and benefit from change. This is also, to a large extent, that they don't really understand why the MOE is trying to bring in ILE's. I think that is because the MOE started by bringing the environment side of ILE's in first without really putting the time into the professional development of teachers who were going to work in these spaces and the education of parents whose children were going to be educated in this way.
The MOE first started talking to schools quite a few years back about MLEs in their 5 and 10 year building plans. Even if you go to the MOE's rebranded MLE ILE site, the emphasis still seems to be on the environment. Lots of beautiful pictures of beautiful buildings and almost exclusively with primary aged students sitting on beautiful furniture. The focus on buildings makes it hard for teachers and parents to understand the concept of ILEs.
So you may well as the question, why is the pressure on schools and teachers to move to ILE's and how can it be innovative if the teacher(s) does not understand or make it so? You have to dig a little deeper to find out why there is pressure and motivation to move to ILEs.
The OECD report on ILE's came out in 2013. So it seems this report must be a good place to start. But I think you need to dig a little deeper still and understand the nature of learning. When I have talked to parents about education today, they often want to focus on making sure their child does well in assessments and that brings them back to the old style schooling.
Assessments, in the old days, were ways of drafting off learners who would not proceed to the higher echelons of education. Behind the implementation of ILEs are the social and economic changes from an industrial society to a knowledge society. Every child is seen as having the potential to achieve and contribute to the new world particularly if they are able to have control and choice over what they learn, and understand how they learn (metacognition).