Blog Task #1

In my current role I provide support in a number of modes; large group training, small group, in situ classroom modelling and online. When it comes to large group training we have the ‘Learning Exchange Studio’ that is suitable for up to 30 staff members, from within our diocese, to attend full day training. This space is within a demountable building that, although has many modern features, still leaves me wishing for a more contemporary aesthetic in the same ilk as the training being delivered.

 

Kuratko, Goldsworthy and Hornsby (2012) outline that design does not permit to the aesthetics of space; design also includes products, services or processes satisfying their intended purpose. Razzouk and Shute (2012) states that design thinking is defined by being an iterative and exploratory process, which made me wonder how often do we revisit and assess how our current spaces or ‘designs’ to ask the following questions; Is this design meeting the intended purpose? Or Has the intended purpose of this space changed?

 

The Learning Exchange Studio was established over ten years ago with minimal changes being made in that time. This space needs to be agile enough to cater for various daily professional learning contexts for teachers and students alike. The space includes key tools required for displaying media such as a television and projector, but both are limited in visual functionality due to the rectangular dimensions of the space that is 18m in length (See Fig. 2). As I am writing this, the view to my left is of the tangled slack of cables, that are necessary due to the lack of reliability in the wireless connection to the Apple TVs in the space (See Fig. 1). Participants require access to power for laptops and tablets, hence the power cords in the the picture. These leads, although are functional and covered by a trip guard,  do make the space feel cluttered. The table are on wheels and easily manipulated which is great, but the placement of these tables are quite far back from the projector screen that coupled with the fact that there are four screens (television, projector, Cisco conference screen and whiteboard) out the front of the space, make for a suboptimal viewing experience from the perspective of a professional learning participant (See Fig. 3). The purpose of this space is to make the participants feel at ease to then ask more authentic questions, engage in deeper inquiry to create knowledge. Brown (2009) states that such environments need to be “…social but also spatial – in which people know they can experiment, take risks, and explore the full range of their faculties.” (p. 32).

When considering changes to make to the space I have reflected on previous feedback received to, in a way, “make their clients part of the experience” (Brown, 2009, p. 3). Thinking of the participant in mind I would make the following changes.

 

1 – Place the Cisco conference screen on wheels. This would allow for the simple manipulation of the ‘viewing’ space to minimise peripheral distractions and free up more space.

 

2 – Use tables that take up less space. The current tables are, although meeting their intended purpose, too large and make arranging to cater for various participant numbers difficult.

 

3 – Placed behind the projector is an air-conditioner. This hinders the functionality of this valuable tool and their for must be placed elsewhere.

 

4 – Have powerboard outlets available in the centre of the room (floor/roof) to allow for simple power access, and less time preparing a professional learning arrangement that require trip guards and extension leads.

5 – Place a sign near the media inputs that states ‘all equipment should be rebooted before use to minimise interferences’. This would ensure wireless devices work, therefore making cables redundant and clearing up the mentioned ‘slack’.

Figure 1

  Figure 2

Figure 3

Peer Comments

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References

Brown, T. (2009) Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. Summary by Get Abstract. Retrieved from: http://www.getabstract.com

 

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in innovation acceleration : Transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson. https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/kuratko-d1.pdf

 

Razzouk, R., Shute, V. (2012). What is design thinking and why is it important? Review of Educational Research, September, 82 (3), 330–348. http://rer.sagepub.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/content/82/3/330

 

Post thumbnail image retrieved from http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Internet-Web-Web-Design-Blog-Design-Media-Www-1210160

4 comments on “Blog Task #1Add yours →

  1. Hi Chris,
    Great summary of what looks like a fantastic learning space. Often teacher professional space are left till last for reworking and these are the think centers for great learning. Your post prompted me to reconsider the space I deconstructed in my blog Towering Technology https://goo.gl/84bGrT as a space for training educators too! I would love your thouhts.
    Cheers
    Helen Kardiasmenos

  2. Hi Chris,

    You certainly have an interesting space to work with!

    I have attached some sketches as to how I view your room from the pictures and a way that you could change it. I do think rearranging your room to diminish a sense of the “front” and “back” of the room would allow for a more collaborative environment within the room. This also applies to the sense that I have the technology is used for presentation purposes, not necessarily creative purposes. I could be entirely wrong, but having technology such as these projectors does not necessarily change the learning to student-centred (“Breaking with tradition”, 2011). I believe some of these can be implemented in a room that is intended for adults too.
    Attached is also a link that I think you will find quite interesting as much of the spaces seem similar to yours.

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwUj0GQmxK8jSFdqeWdWdkF6QmM

    http://learningenvironments.gmu.edu/signature-learning-spaces/

    Well done for organising a space that is limited with power and furniture, particularly in a demountable!

    Thank you

    References
    Breaking with tradition. (2011). Development And Learning In Organizations: An International Journal, 25(5), 28-30. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14777281111159429

  3. Wow, there are a lot of screens in your learning space all clumped together! From the pictures, it looks like a great space with lots of potential and I agree with many of your suggested changes.

    Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Hornsby (2012) discuss the importance of good design in order to manage a better functioning team. In order to promote collaboration and facilitate conversation and sharing, smaller tables are absolutely necessary. The tables need to be able to be grouped in several formations, in order to meet the needs of the users. In-floor power outlets would also create more flexibility around furniture arrangements.

    In addition, I would consider the placement of the screens. In such a long room, can the same information be projected multiple screens and the screens placed along various places around the room? This means that people sitting at various angles or situated around group tables can all see the presentation without causing too much discomfort. We have multiple TV screens set up in some of our larger classrooms onto which we can project the same information, and it really makes the learning experience so much more comfortable.

    References:

    Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in innovation acceleration: Transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson. Retrieved from https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/kuratko-d1.pdf

  4. The front of the room is the main issue really, So many options and so much over stimulation of the space. You wouldn’t know where to look. I find the issues with board choices hard to master in my class as all of the options (projector, whiteboard, Smart TV, IWB) all have merit but blancing them all is hard. If I had the money and was in admin id go whiteboards in interactive projectors, maybe Apple TV hooked up.

    I liked Jessica’s comment about multiple screens in different locations really sensible.

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