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’.
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
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