July 2015 archive

Students as Designers (Part Deux)

Today, students and I went back to the drawing board to find a happy median between the top contenders within the sketches they had developed in the previous lesson.

After moving the tables around and further weighing of pros and cons, we decided on this setup.

Photo by Jordan Grant 2015

Click for a better view Photo by Jordan Grant 2015

 

An interesting design feature that we developed was the area we’re calling the “study nook.”

 

T64

Click for a better view Photos by Jordan Grant 2015

 

This is the collection of five tables (upper left) that are partially blocked from the front of the classroom by half of the students pods (the place where students store their bags during class). Students can also have the option of standing and using the top of the pods as an elevated desk. Placing the pods perpendicular to the wall not only has allowed for this nook and created an ideal place to put our couch(on opposing side of pod) but has freed up more access to the windows which are frequently used for brainstorming.

Now, shifting away from what Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Hornsby term as the iterative “play” and into the “display” stage. I’m trying to bring with me the humility and flexibility that good designers have. I’ll continue to keep you posted as I “watch the replay.” Initial feedback has been positive with one teacher commenting:


This layout/model worked really well for me today as I had the privilege of being the first cab off the rank in P4. Much more relaxed yet controlled environment that allowed me to access all parts of the room far more easily. Good stuff!

I’ll let you know how this plays out. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

References:

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

 

Students as Designers

Hello INF536!

I’ve just gone back to full-time work this Semester and among other things, have picked up a Year Nine English class. The new unit we’ve started is theme based and it predominantly involves students working in small groups and alternating thinking roles while meeting within it for discussion. It seems as though this task came at an ideal time; a time when I can re-evaluate the classroom design in order for students to feel comfortable and able to participate within their new “literature circle” groups.

Here’s the current design

Photo by Jordan Grant 2015

Photo by Jordan Grant 2015

Photo by Jordan Grant 2015

Photo by Jordan Grant 2015

Photo by Jordan Grant 2015

Photo by Jordan Grant 2015

Tim Brown asserts that “the first stage of the design thinking process is often about discovering which constraints are important” (Brown, p.18, 2009). My classroom design situation is no different as I’ve had to factor in things such as other teacher’s use of the room, students tendency to alter furniture, students’ own desires, ability to communicate effectively, points of focus (Heppell’s Rule of Three), and types of activities students will be undertaking.

 

Over the course of the readings in this module, it struck me as interesting that many of the designers identify empathy or something similar as a characteristic that is crucial within the design process. In his TED talk, David Kelly alludes to Doug Dietz and his breakthrough in his once feared, medical MRI scanners within a hospital, due to his ability to listen to nurses and children. Brown further highlights this by relaying that it is  vital that the designer put themselves in the position of the user in order to understand the troubles that confront them regularly.(Kimbell)

 

 

 

Like Razzouk and Shute, my mindset is to “see it as invigorating challenge to handle rather than shrink from”(Raz 111). And so my changes…

Based on the research regarding empathy, getting the students involved in the design process would be essential in order to have success within the classroom. After introducing the unit, I broke down some of the key skills they required in order to find success. I then pointed out that our current environment needed to be changed as a result of the work that we’d be doing. I asked students to create booklets that address 3 key questions:

  • What are the problems within our current space?
  • What does your ideal learning space look like?
  • What do you think our new classroom design should look like? And asked them to make a sketch.  (Our materials included 2x Standing Rectangular Tables, 2x half circle tables, 5 oddly shaped tables that fit together and form a flower shape, 13 traditional desks and 1 two seater couch). 

Unfortunately, our scheduled classes didn’t allow me to officially reorder the classroom. Leading candidates are a mix between the one in the top right of figure 1 and the bottom right in figure 2. I’ll also ensure that there is additional room for three teachers (a learning aid, literacy support teacher and myself) to adhere to Heppell’s rule of three.

Figure 1

Figure 1

 

 

Figure 2

Figure 2

 

Putting the tables within groups was obvious to students as they concluded this would enhance their discussion. What wasn’t obvious to them was the use of our school’s other areas. Below are photos of potential meeting places around the school that I’m planning on allowing students to use during portions of selected classes.

Image taken by Jordan Grant 2015

Image taken by Jordan Grant

Image taken by Jordan Grant 2015

Image taken by Jordan Grant 2015

Image taken by Jordan Grant 2015

Image taken by Jordan Grant 2015

Image taken by Jordan Grant 2015

Image taken by Jordan Grant 2015

 

While this change isn’t earth shattering, I’m predicting that it enhances their ability to work together. I’ll be sure to continue to blog about the progress of these Year Nines and their adventures in literature circles

References:

Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. HarperBusiness. p.18

Kimbell, L. (2011). Rethinking design thinking: Part I. Design and Culture, 3(3), 285-306. http://www.lucykimbell.com/stuff/DesignPractices_Kimbell_DC_final_public.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/82/4/483.full.pdf+html

 

 

Comments on other posts:

http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/thoughtsandtheories/2015/07/24/is-there-a-designer-in-all-of-us/

http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/phippsy21/2015/07/23/inf536-first-assessment-task/

http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/karenmalbon/2015/07/23/designing-spaces-for-learning-blog-task-1/