Library Lab Space 1 has evolved into a silent lab, at the request of students seeking a quiet space to study. During class time, it is used either as a lab space for years 9-12, or a TL teaching space, when we work with classes or subject areas, to support specific units.
The current furniture and layout is unsuited to these uses:
- Fixed benches facing the wall are not conducive to teaching and learning;
- The corners are very squished, particularly for the older grades;
- The round tables are more suited to a collaborative space and this space is for quiet independent work;
- The furniture makes the space very cluttered and there is little opportunity to rearrange the space to suit different needs;
- The furniture and layout is not suited to the 1-to-1 tablet program that will be in place for all students in 2015.
According to Ursrey (2014), the creative/critical thinking that is design thinking, leads us to a solution rather than problem mindset. It is our passionate focus and awareness of our ‘clients’ (teachers and students) that enables us to best identify problems and solve them. Being customer-centric allows us to move into design thinking, where we are better able to define our problems, ideate a large number of solutions, fine-tune our ideas, pick a winner and execute the idea.
Previously, classroom spaces had the sage at the blackboard, filling empty vessels facing the front of the room. Technology then seemed to dictate that seeing our clients was less important than seeing their computer screens; and the need to access power etc, meant that rooms were ‘designed’ around the perimeter. Unfortunately, this led to students fending for themselves or needing to constantly turn to the front, making this ‘new design’ less than satisfactory.
Of the 14 things that Ursrey (2014) lists to begin designer thinking, it is being customer-centric and team focused that are the stand-outs for me. Dorst’s (2010) definitions of the Master designer as taking their way of working to a level of innovation that questions the established way of working; and the work of a Visionary, as explicitly developing or redefining their field, exemplify the target that we should be aiming for.
Design in learning spaces helps users:
- consider the relationship between learning technologies and physical space design (Radliffe, 2009)
- develop a flexible, engaging, creative, bold environment with potential for a variety of modes of teaching and learning;
- understand how the space is currently being used and how it can better serve the community;
- change users’ behaviour
- and have a sense of ownership.
Changes based on survey-
- Space to be renamed “Flow space”, with explanation on why it is necessary to be able to focus in order to get into the flow. Expectation that entry and exit will have minimal disruption on others.
- Furniture to be removed, including benches and desktops, and replaced with mobile tablet chairs (examples under consideration below).
3. Round tables and chairs to be reused in a new collaborative space elsewhere in the library. New spaces for new purposes will be developed around social, collaborative, share and focus concepts (IDEO, 2012).
4. Projector to be replaced with either a touch table/board or wireless projector, dependant on technology budget.
5. Access to the windows and provision of glass pens for mind-mapping and brain-storming.
Other additions to be kept to a minimum, whilst clients discover the new space and make requests as needs arise, based on Brown’s (2009) minimal mapping ahead, as we test the viability, feasibility and desirability of the new space.
Brown, T. (2009). Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. HarperBusiness. p.37.
Dorst, K. (2010). The Nature of Design Thinking. University of Technology Sydney. http://www3.nd.edu/~amurniek/assets/DTRS8-Dorst.pdf
IDEO (2012). Design Thinking for Educators. http://www.designthinkingforeducators.com/DTtoolkit_v1_062711.pdf
Radcliffe, D., Wilson, H., Powell, D. and Tibbetts, B. (2008). Learning spaces in higher education: Positive outcomes by design space. University of Queensland. http://www.wilsonarchitects.com.au/sites/default/files/UQ%20Next%20Generation%20Book_2.pdf
Ursrey, L. (2014). Why design thinking should be at the core of your business strategy development. http://www.forbes.com/sites/lawtonursrey/2014/06/04/14-design-thinking-esque-tips-some-approaches-to-problem-solving-work-better-than-others/