Today's schools are barely recognisable to parents and grandparents who went to school in a different era. Grandmother Denise Mills and education reporter Simon Collins spent two days in a Year 4 "modern learning space" to see just how different things really are.

It's a late-morning maths class at The Gardens School in Manurewa. The Year 4 children, mostly 8-year-olds, are scattered around the learning space.

Some are lying face-down on the floor doing Mathletics on their iPads.

Some are doing maths problems in exercise books at desks, but their curly one- to six-person desks with tops that double as