July 23

Online Reflective Journal Blog Task 1

Design Situation

Monday, 24th July 2017 sees the commencement of the Narrabri / Wee Waa Distance Education Outreach Centre (DEOC) for disengaged high school students. Today, I chose to observe the local Narrabri library learning environment because this is one of the spaces I will be working from and took photographs of some key spaces within the library.

Designed as the local library, I observed spaces and resources to be shared amongst all that visit the library. During this time and being later in the day, I observed some small groups of after school children engaged with independent computing, reading time and a few adolescent borrowers.

Working with the librarian, the preferred learning spaces are adequate, in that they provide a space and place of learning with desks, tables and (BYOD) Bring Your Own Devices. I observed one room to be purposely designed for collaboration and the other more independent time. Despite this design, Study Area B is utilised most with both areas unused quite often.

 

Whilst there were no visitors to these learning spaces at the time of my observation, I determined Study Area B to be used more with collaborative experiences such as story time for youngsters. These spaces are designed to provide natural light, quiet reading, discussion and paper work. Being a local library, online spaces are available through the library’s shared wi-fi into these quiet study spaces; however, they rely on shared community resources to provide additional computing, reading, research or break-out functionality.

 

With the ensuing commencement of the DEOC drawing near and possible attendance, along with student requirements known; actual attendance each week and how the centre will actually operate remains unknown. I am now challenged with thinking differently McCintosh (2017). Seemingly, I am to design a type of “Knowledge Funnel” (Martin, 2010) focused on designing spaces for learning and  re-designing education that works with the students. Students will need to share library and Coogle Café spaces, whilst minimising our intrusion. Each day structure needs designed to fit in with the library times of operation, share the learning spaces and activities and engage students to participate in their independent study pattern.

Mcintosh. E. 2017, Module 1.1 – The Challenges in Design Theory

Microsoft Corporation. (2016). The psychology of workplace collaboration – Four secrets to employee motivation. [PDF]. Retrieved from https://clouddamcdnprodep.azureedge.net/asm/1086026/Original

Pilloton, E. (July, 2010). Teaching design for change. [TEDGlobal]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/emily_pilloton_teaching_design_for_change

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Posted July 23, 2017 by etamelad in category INF536

1 thoughts on “Online Reflective Journal Blog Task 1

  1. agibb

    Hello Dale,

    Thank you for your post; it has been interesting to see the photos of the different spaces in your local Library. I would be interested to hear more about the use of these spaces during the Library’s busier times, and especially what impact your DEOC groups makes in the environment.

    I’m surprised that the study areas don’t seem to be popular. When I worked at my local library requests for private or quiet study rooms (which we unfortunately were unable to fulfil) were very common. And here you have observed two study rooms that are getting little use. I wonder if the requests at Orange City Library have been amplified in my imagination because we could not fulfil the need and I always felt so bad about it!

    I’m not surprised that of the two rooms, it is Study Area B which is, comparatively, more popular. In my view, Area B is more appealing, with natural light coming in through the large window, while in Area A the windows have been blocked by the study carrels.

    Pondering these spaces recalls the work of Prakash Nair, who urges us to “look at familiar buildings with fresh eyes” and “learn to decode the subtle and not-so-subtle messages that a school building sends to its occupants” (2014, p. 25).

    Observing these images, I notice that collaborative Study Area B has a “classroom” feel, which possibly invokes the subconscious idea that users may need to seek permission to enter; that a teacher and class may be coming at any time. In the first instance, it might be useful if the room had some signage to let users know the space is open for use, but I’m wondering what design solutions could be put in place to make this area more inviting?

    I believe that Study Area A would be improved by rearranging the study carrels so that they don’t block the windows. Perhaps they could be positioned back-to-back in small groupings in the centre of the room. This would provide privacy for the user, but also to allow access to natural light and a view of outside. This would increase the appeal of the room as “connections to nature help relieve cognitive fatigue and improve a person’s ability to concentrate” (Nair, 2014, p. 130).

    Thanks again for your post, and good luck with your DEOC classes!

    Nair, P. (2014). Blueprint for Tomorrow: Redesigning Schools for Student-Centered Learning. Harvard Education Press. 8 Story Street First Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138.

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