Designer Drinks a success

A lively and enthusiastic group gathered at The Doncaster Hotel in Kensington on Monday evening. Eight people turned up which I was really pleased with. The event was publicised via Twitter, G+ and email with many people responding very positively to the idea but were unfortunately unable to attend.

Designer DrinksThe group consisted of two secondary education advisers, an early childhood specialist, three primary class teachers, a full time uni student and a retired ex-teacher/intrepid traveller. Two people were unknown to me prior to this meeting!

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 10.55.42 amThe focus of the discussion was on learning spaces. Many aspects of this exciting topic were discussed. The Twitter feed shows some of the questions (but I didn’t feel comfortable tweeting too much as it was a very engaging face-to-face discussion).

Some of the topics discussed:

  • Have you seen an awesome space you are inspired by?
  • Campfires, Watering holes, caves, mountain tops and sandpits
  • What comes first – the space or the pedagogy?
  • What is one thing you would like to try in your learning space?
  • Have you made a small change that has had a positive impact on the use of a space
  • What is a trouble spot in your learning spot? – crowdsource fixing it.
  • Do we need a chair and desk for every child? Do we need a “front of the room”?

Some of the ideas generated:

  • Sheer curtaining to separate spaces
  • kids tents
  • whiteboards cut and adhered to backs of bookshelves which are then arranged to make small group spaces
  • furniture on wheels for ease of movement
  • get outside
  • virtual spaces for mountain top sharing e.g. blogs

One of the teachers came with a request for help in setting up a shared breakout space adjacent to K,1 & 2 classrooms. Overwhelming response was to involve all teachers, as well as groups of children from the classes, in brainstorming ideas to be tried before spending big $$$ on mistakes. Reimagine old furniture, IKEA for cheaper options to use in the trial of space design. It was also suggested that finding other options for the storage of 90 backpacks was essential.

Some responses from the group:


I have left comments on Deborah’s, Margo’s and Graham’s blogs



4 thoughts on “Designer Drinks a success

  1. Hi Michele,
    Sounds like you had a successful gathering. I agree that trying to share what is happening on twitter can take away from the engagement of the discussion but reading through your Storify I get a real sense of what went on so it is definitely worthwhile trying. Your comment has prompted me to schedule some tweets for this afternoon when @rebeccaspink and I are using part of a teachmeet for our creative coffee session. Hopefully we’ll get some online discussion happening simultaneously.
    It was an excellent idea to record a few of of the attendees – great to hear real voices and get a better sense of who was there.

  2. Hi Michele
    How exciting to have 2 “strangers” attend your Designer Drinks session, in addition to people you already knew. Were they also in the education sector? I did not have any “strangers” at my coffee evening, but I did have people who work in different industries, and I really enjoyed hearing about how they expressed their passion and creativity in their different working environments. I wish I had asked them some of the questions that your group considered, to get an outsiders perspective about learning spaces in their workplaces, which I could then possibly take back to a school environment.

  3. Michele – a successful ‘Designer Drinks’ gathering, with broad discussion. I agree with you – tweeting during discussions can be distracting. However, as I read your post, the tweets give a sense of the flow of the discussions.

  4. Hello Michele,

    I really like your questions. Each one could be a stand alone discussion for a Staff Meeting. In particular, I like….
    – Have you seen an awesome space you are inspired by?
    – What comes first – the space or the pedagogy?
    – Do we need a “front of the room”?

    I also agree re: Twitter. Distracting for a discussion but I do love it when listening to a presentation or lecture. It allows for a parallel discussion which adds to the input of one person.

    As an aside, the Doncaster Hotel was a favourite haunt, especially after a day at the races.


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