Designing Spaces for Learning has been an incredible opportunity to consider the entwined effects of buildings and pedagogy upon learning. I have developed my knowledge of what it takes to create integrated environments, where as Geoff Mulgan describes, students are “fighting to get in”.

My initial ‘small change’ for Blog Post One taught me that my students could lead an initiative to improve a poorly designed, challenging space. It has been interesting to see this evolve and how this class respond differently to spaces, taking the liberty to make changes in subsequent classrooms to suit their learning needs. My investigation of our new college spaces has enabled me to analyse processes and to have conversations with colleagues about successes and failure in our building designs.

I have some (amatuer) level of understanding of C-K theory, which although it was a concept that nearly made me quit, helped me understand the difference between innovative  design for learning versus an aesthetic room. I am absolutely sold on user involvement in design. It makes so much sense and resonates closely with spaces that have previously puzzled me regarding why they are underused or not treated with respect.

A month ago I had a conversation with a college executive member, where I advocated user involvement in the design process. I was told that user input was not regarded as important by the college. Shortly after this, the creative coffee morning enabled me to engage in conversations with colleagues, brainstorm a range of possibilities and critique the status quo. This activity encouraged many conversations following the formal event. Our college is taking a break from ongoing building works in 2015, however, recently our principal announced a ‘think tank’; arranging for staff to put forward ideas for the future  building works at our school, stating that all ideas will be welcomed. This appears a significant development in the college processes for building and it has been very encouraging to see this evolution. This development has inspired my confidence in the power of professional conversations.

I was creatively inspired by the Vittra School and other Scandinavian developments and am hoping to make plans to visit my Swedish connections and investigate these spaces in real life. I am inspired to learn from “strange” people who are not like me (as described by Maria Bezaitis) and hope to apply more of that learning to my future teaching. I am moving schools next year to work in a new, very contemporary school where innovative teaching and learning are expected. This is an exciting opportunity, about which I now feel equipped to combine pedagogy, space and technology to inspire learning.

This has been my first unit for the masters and I am looking forward to my continuing exploration of all things technology and learning in order to design, prototype, implement, fail James Dyson style, redesign and evaluate how to inspire learning in my teaching spaces in the ever-changing dynamic of 21st Century education.

References

Bezaitis, M.  2013 TED The Surprising Need for Strangeness. Retrieved from: http://www.ted.com/talks/maria_bezaitis_the_surprising_need_for_strangeness

Dyson, J. Dyson Wall Street Journal (2009, September 13). Retrieved from: http://live.wsj.com/video/james-dyson-on-learning-from-failure/31157CDD-7DBF-4B06-822D-55CC0E4CA283.html

Mulgan, G. (2011, July). A short intro to the studio school. Retrieved from TED.com: http://www.ted.com/talks/geoff_mulgan_a_short_intro_to_the_studio_school

Runnquist, A. (2011, May 25). Learning environments based on learning, Research and Development Blog.[Weblog post] Retrieved from: http://vittrabloggen.wordpress.com/tag/ict/