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The introduction of information technologies into teaching and learning prompted educators to reexamine the spaces where learning takes place and to design new learning spaces that take fuller advantages of the possibilities that technology offers. The work done on learning spaces has been extremely valuable and serves as the foundation for an expanded look at other factors that affect learning and the context in which learning spaces exist. Those factors include space, but a broader look at the conditions and circumstances of learning reveals that learning is equally influenced by people, by technology and the resources it affords access to, and by the cultural backdrop against which learning takes place. These elements come together in a new, broader discussion of learning environments, which builds on the resources and knowledge generated about learning spaces.

The term learning environment encompasses learning resources and technology, means of teaching, modes of learning, and connections to societal and global contexts. The term also includes human behavioral and cultural dimensions, including the vital role of emotion in learning, and it requires us to examine and sometimes rethink the roles of teachers and students. The focus on information technology in education is expanding from the enhancement of learning spaces to include factors beyond hardware, software, and the network. The learning environment is a composite of human practices and material systems, much as an ecology is the combination of living things and the physical environment.

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