Impact of Space

Doorley & Witthoft (2012 p.30) impress upon us that space is something that can create an impact on the way we learn, work and play immediately. So, starting with what you have, make a change. In your learning environment, is there an empty space? Find one, take it and transform it, quickly. You might consider making a pop-up learning space from scratch for a short period of time, or adapting an existing space in a small way with the goal of making a difference to learning.

What did you change or transform quickly in your learning environment?

Early last week I was working with  Stage 2 teachers to plan their Science unit for the term.

The teachers decided to have a question box so that students could write questions relating to the topic as they thought of them. This would form the basis of their search for a question/s to pursue for their Guided Inquiry project.

I suppose that the problem I identified here was that students could not see the questions as they were formed – this could lead to duplication as well as delay in finding answers. Students would need to wait for the time when the teacher would open the box to reveal the questions. Wouldn’t it be better for the students to be able to respond to questions as soon as possible following the asking? Someone may already have the answer, or be motivated to find out as soon as possible

My challenge was to transform the learning space – a shoe box – into  a more accessible learning space.

According to Razzouk (2012: 336), some of the characteristics of design-thinkers include the continuous consideration of how what is being created will respond to people’s needs, looking at alternatives before making a final choice on the way to proceed, keeping the big picture in mind whilst also focussing on specifics. So, i will keep an eye on the new space to see if it is being used by the students, particularly with regard to the intention.

I suggested that they use Ewan’s Googleable and Non-Googleable question idea. The questions would be there for all to see, the students could start to understand the difference between questions that can be answered quickly (Googleable) and those that would stimulate discussion and collaboration on a search for answers to deeper questions (Non-Googleable).

When I read the forum topic, I decided to ask the class teacher if I could transform a space in her classroom.

The area was a small alcove off the main space. It is a wet area and a dumping ground for broken chairs, rubbish bin, old worksheets and anything else that has nowhere to live.

This space is serving no purpose related to learning and actually could contribute about 15% more learning space in a very modestly sized classroom.

The beauty of this proposed transformation is that it desirable, feasible and viable – elements of design thinking as stated by Kuratko (2012:110)

Question Cave: BEFOREThis would become the class Question Cave.

I cleared the space and set up the wall with the headings under which the students would add their questions.I also attached paper to the side of the filing cabinet that could not be moved. This will be used for students to add diagrams and any drawing they think will make explaining an idea or concept easier.

Question Cave: AFTER

The students are very excited and can’t wait to start adding their own questions to the wall.

They are also feeling in competitive mode – who can provide answers to the Googleable questions?


Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson. Accessed online
Razzouk, R., Shute, V. (2012). What is design thinking and why is it important? Review of Educational Research, September, 82 (3), 330–348. Accessed online

Comment 1 – on Helen Bailie’s Blog

Comment 2  – on Simon Goss’s Blog

Comment 3 – 0n Helen’s Blog



A New Road to Travel

As a promoter of life long learning, I thought it was time to take on another formal course of study. I have chosen the Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation) offered through Charles Sturt University. My first challenge has been remembering the name of the course!


It has been quite a few years since my last course of study, so I expect the usual period of adjustment associated with quarantining many hours of an already full life for the purpose of study. It’s a good thing, then, that I begin with great excitement and anticipation.