#INF536 Critical Reflection

I have found this subject very challenging. Whilst comfortable working as an educator in both digital and physical environments my knowledge and understanding of how those spaces are constructed and the impact of design (good or bad) upon them was minimal. Sure, I could recognise when something didn’t work, possibly due to bad design, but I would have been hard-pressed to articulate why or even come up with an alternative. I hadn’t really considered how the design of space actually impacted on learning.

Through the activities, readings and tasks I have developed new capacities in observation, ideation, constructing and deconstructing knowledge, and new confidence in my own opinions. The task to make a small change to a learning space has inspired me to keep seeking and acting upon opportunities for other small changes. I had been content to wait till we move to our new spaces over the next 1-2 years but these are learning spaces now! If they can be improved now then they should be. The idea of library as Fab Lab (Belbin & Newcombe, 2013) or Makerspace is something I will be exploring further.

One of the most challenging readings was Hatchuel, Le Masson and Weil (2004). It literally made me cry as I started doubting my capacity to make sense of the written word. Strangely it was the anti-depressive toothbrush  that helped me turn the corner on this one and I was quite pleased I was able to reference C-K theory in my case report.

Being taken through a design thinking process observing, empathising and developing a design brief for my local station was a revelation to me and excellent preparation for the Google Teacher Academy I was fortunate enough to attend recently (facilitated by Ewan’s NoTosh colleagues Tom Barrett and Hamish Curry). From this experience I now add “It’s not right that…” as an excellent prompt when struggling with framing “How might we…?” questions.How might we?

I learned that a design brief is not a list of demands and now wish I could persuade the powers that be at my school that developing a document like Dear Architect (Engine Service Design & Walker Technology College, n.d.) for our major consolidation and rebuilding project could have enormous benefits for the school in the long term. Unfortunately it is too late for that. The architects have visited for “consultation” bringing with them their already drawn-up plans. At least I now have some solid research behind me when I start ranting to whoever will listen about what a disaster having the year 8 lockers in the middle of the library will be.

I have discovered the value of a war room and sticky notes. Last semester I prided myself on not printing anything; this semester not only have I printed, I’ve cut up, re-arranged, stuck back together and (cue drum roll) hand written.

Sticky notes

Scissors and sticky-tape

Attending Simon and Graham’s creative coffee morning revealed the value of semi-structured conversation between people of different backgrounds but common interests.

Participants at the TeachMeet Bec and I hijacked as a pseudo creative coffee morning appreciated the opportunity for focused discussion as an alternative to the usual presentations.

Once again the support of this network (the class) has been phenomenal – I can’t imagine what it’d be like without the forums, tweets and hangouts. Thanks everyone, it’s been one helluva ride!



Belbin, N., & Newcombe, P. (2013). Fab Labs at the Library. Education Digest78(7), 65-68.

Engine Service Design & Walker Technology College. (n.d.). Dear Architect: A Vision Of Our Future School: Walker Technology College.

Hatchuel, A., Le Masson, P., & Weil, B. (2004). CK theory in practice: lessons from industrial applications. In DS 32: Proceedings of DESIGN 2004, the 8th International Design Conference, Dubrovnik, Croatia. http://www.designsociety.org/download-publication/19760/c-k_theory_in_practice_lessons_from_industrial_applications



One thought on “#INF536 Critical Reflection

  1. Great work Heather, and I fully concur with your summation of this class and our classmates. Like you there are plans afoot for my building, which completely ignore the design brief I sent the architect last year (and which seems to measure up now that I know what I’m supposed to be on about!). The work is 5 years or so away – nearly a whole generation of secondary students. This course has empowered me to act now.
    Next question is – what subject to tackle and whether to do one over summer or wait till next year!
    Best wishes, Marg

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