Forum 8 Reflection Blog Post (Makerspaces)

What partnerships might be possible in your own community to create an “alternative” makerspace? What learnings might be had from observing existing spaces, talking with educators about the limits of those traditional models, and the potential of designing something that lies outside the schooling environment, in a common, shared, community space?

We actually have a pretty cool makerspace at the Fayetteville Free Library in Fayetteville NY called the Fab Lab. It has 3-D printers (and 3-D printing classes), sewing machines, laser and vinyl cutters, etc. I often frequent this library while babysitting for a professor in the area and they even have a “Little Makers” space in the children’s section!

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In addition, FFL often host events called “Human Libraries”, where visitors are invited to engage in dialogue with people they might not otherwise want or have the opportunity to interact with. The people who agree to be “on loan” come from a variety of cultural backgrounds, age groups, etc.

With that being said, Fayetteville has a bit more money than Syracuse does, and the library is well know for partnering with university students and pioneering innovation in the area. I think there is an opportunity for the library to collaborate with Syracuse libraries that are less innovative to share some of their makerspace expertise, and wealth of resources.

Assessment 6 Part B: Critical Reflection

My first blog post for INF536 was meek, mild and decidedly self-conscious. An excerpt from said post reads as follows:

I’m feeling slightly intimidated as I don’t have access/authority to redesign a library or classroom  space but I’m hoping this forces me to be more creative, and yields some interesting results. Until then, see you on the forum!

At the writing of my initial blog post, I did not feel that my background in entrepreneurship, librarianship and social media qualified me to analyze or discuss learning spaces and design in a public digital space with my fellow classmates.

The digital learning space we were required to interact in for the entirety of INF536 seemed daunting at first. We were encouraged from Day 1 to share almost everything we wrote or worked on, a practice that tends to make me uneasy in both physical and digital spaces. I noted that digital spaces that have been carved out for learning enable my shyness, and natural tendency to fine-tune and perfect what I’m going to say before I say it. In physical learning spaces, I’m not afforded the luxury of spell-check, or rereading my answer before it comes out of my mouth. The necessity for less self-editing and more mistakes often yields some of the most creative results. With that being said, I find that people are more intentional with their thoughts and words in digital learning spaces, an aspect of online learning that I appreciate and value.

The more I wrote and shared, the more comfortable I became, in part due to Tim Brown’s idea that anyone can (and probably should) think like a designer (Brown, 2009). Everyone has something to contribute, and some of the best ideas originate from companies and people that do not design in the way that they were “trained” to, but who think outside the box, take risks, make mistakes and embrace failure. It became exceedingly hard to read about embracing failure and messy first drafts (namely prototyping) and still act like a perfectionist when it came to presenting my work and train of thought to the class. A key theme I noticed in all reading, and videos throughout the semester was that innovative design usually originates in business or learning environments where individuals are given the space and flexibility to act, think, react and behave a little chaotically (Catmull, 2014).

Suddenly, I began to notice parallels and interconnections between entrepreneurship, librarianship, social media and design thinking. A main interconnection/parallel was how all four things are rooted firmly in servicing an identified need. I noticed as well, many connections between being an online community manager, and managing/designing a digital space for learning. Each subsequent blog post I wrote for class felt easier to write and to post. I grew less afraid of publically failing and branched out to try new things (Crowder, 2014). As the weeks progressed, I discovered that although I do not have a background in teaching or design architecture, I still had the capacity to not only think like a designer but apply design thinking to almost every aspect of my professional life.

With design, as well as social media, librarianship and entrepreneurship, I realized how important it is to listen to the needs of your target audience (Brown, 2009). I have learned how little you actually need in order to be disruptively innovative (Leadbeater & Wong, 2010). You can repurpose materials you have lying around, or create awe-inspiring spaces using nothing but imagination and a big helping hand from nature, like John Hardy’s Green School. (Tobias, 2011.) I’ve learned the value of immersive experiences and empathy in the world of designing spaces for learning (Brown, 2009). I sincerely hope to hone the skills I’ve picked up in INF536, see opportunities to implement learning spaces in non-traditional places, continuously wrestle with the importance of a balanced relationship between space and pedagogy, and ultimately never stop thinking like a designer.

References

Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. New York: Harper Business.

Catmull, E. (2014, April). Inside the Pixar braintrust, Fast Company. Retrieved from: http://www.fastcompany.com/3027135/lessons-learned/inside-the-pixar-braintrust

Crowder, E. (2014). Blog task 4: creative coffee morning. Retrieved     from: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lizcrowder/2014/09/20/blog-task-4-creative-coffee-morning/

Tobias, R. (2011, May 31) A day at the Green School. TED.com. Retrieved        from: http://blog.ted.com/2011/05/31/a-day-at-the-green-school-in-bali/

 

Excerpt of Marketing Plan for Library Learning Space

By: Chovanec, A., Crowder, E., Knight, S., Regitano, J.

Message Delivery Strategies

Tools*

Pre-Rollout: Marketing to Involve the Community in Family Space Design and CreationLogo Contest

Description – In order to involve the community in the creation of the Family Space’s logo, a contest will be held that engages the community. Either elements of or the entirety of the winning logo design will be used as Family Space logo. The prize for the winning logo design will be a gift card to a local business.

 

How to Advertise – The Library Director and Children’s Librarian will reach out to advertising design and/or graphic design programs at local universities (Bryant & Stratton College, Cazenovia College, and Newhouse School within Syracuse University) and will use web content on the library’s website and social media website to enhance awareness of the the contest within the local community.

3D Family Space Model

Description – The 3D model, with moveable elements, will be located at the circulation desk on the main floor of the library. There will be a sign adjacent, inviting patrons to manipulate the items (representing existing furniture pieces, bookshelves, etc) to create a design for their ideal Family Space. Librarians will take photos of these designs and their designers with a digital camera as evidence of community input and involvement.

How to Advertise – A small print ad will be placed in the Post-Standard describing the opportunity for community involvement in designing the new Family Space using the model described below.

Rollout: Marketing to Promote the New Family Space

Print

Posters

Every Child Ready to Read Poster – The Every Child Ready to Read Toolkit provides one poster that measures 22” x 34” (Every Child Ready to Read, 2012). Every Child Ready to Read (2011) states that, “The poster illustrates the five simple practices parents and caregivers can use to develop  early literacy skills beginning at birth.” See page for image.

Original Infographic Poster – The original infographic will contain information similar to that which is presented by the Snap! Learning & Reading Blog (2013).

 

Brochure

Every Child Ready to Read Brochure – One hundred brochures come with the ECRR Toolkit (Every Child Ready to Read, 2012). The ECRR Brochures will be placed in the Family Space. According to the description provided by Every Child Ready to Read (2011), “The brochure stresses the important role of parents as their child’s first teacher and provides an overview of five familiar, everyday practices that parents and other caregivers can use to develop early literacy skills.” See page for image.

Fliers

Community Flyer – The community fliers will be a half-page document, front and back, including information about the implementation of the Family Space and the resources available. It will also contain specific facts and figures from the infographic which would support awareness of the community’s need for children and family literacy services.

School Flyer – The school flyer will contain information similar to the community flyer about the new Family Space in child-friendly language. It will also make use of images and bright colors to appeal to this demographic.

Press Releases

Grand Opening Press Release – The press release will include information about the Family Space and the Solvay community need for children and family literacy services.

Additional press releases – These can be created strategically, as pertinent updates are made to the Family Space.

Web content

Library Website –  website will be regularly updated regarding the Family Space grand opening and subsequent activities and programming.

Library Facebook page – Similar to the website, the library’s Facebook page will be regularly updated regarding the Family Space grand opening and subsequent activities and programming. In addition, the Facebook page will be utilized to foster an online community in order to promote virtual WOMM (likes and shares) and to make the library more likeable/approachable by patrons of all ages.

Infographic – This will be the same infographic created for the physical poster, but shared via the the library’s website and Facebook page.

Take-Aways

VistaPrint Pens – Pens with the Family Space name and logo will be distributed both within the library and throughout the community.

VistaPrint Stickers – Stickers with the Family Space name and logo will be distributed both within the library and throughout the community.

VistaPrint Tote Bags – Tote bags with the Family Space name and logo will be available for sale at the circulation desk.

Every Child Ready to Read Bookmarks – The ECRR Toolkit provides 100 bookmarks (Every Child Ready to Read, 2012). According to Every Child Ready to Read (2011), “The bookmark stresses the important role of parents as their child’s first teacher and promotes the library as a resource for developing early literacy skills.”

Internal Marketing

ECRR Manual for Primary Implementer(s) (Library Director and Children’s Librarian) – Within the ECRR Toolkit, a manual is provided that includes the following items: “introduction and early literacy background, printout of each ECRR workshop presentation and talking points, instructions to customize presentations, participant handouts to reinforce workshop content, [and] booklists.”

Workshops for Staff – ECRR provides two workshops for staff. According to Every Child Ready to Read (2012), provides descriptions for these two workshops:

  • “Staff Workshop PowerPoint: This workshop provides early literacy information, introduces the five simple early literacy practices, and offers instructions for conducting the ECRR presentations…”

  • “Early Literacy and Learning Spaces Workshop: This workshop discusses how use design principles to create an environment that supports and encourages early literacy skills.”

Workshop for Staff and Community Partners – The ECCR Toolkit also provides a workshop to involve the community. Every Child Ready to Read (2012) provides the following description: “Community Partner Workshop: This workshop is for library staff and community partners and prompts a conversation on how the library and partners can use the new ECRR materials to promote early literacy in the community.

Emails/Memos – Both pre- and post-implementation of the Family Space, staff will be updated on progress and new marketing information via emails and memos.

Twitter – As Twitter is a popular tool with ECRR and libraries utilizing ECRR resources and programming, Twitter will be used to connect library staff with ECRR and other participating libraries.

*Please Note: WOMM will be an implicit component of all the marketing tools mentioned above.

Action Plan

Pre-Rollout:

What

Who

When

Time Commitment

1. Develop the Logo Contest Announcement and cover letter and advertise it at local universities and through social media.

1. Children’s Librarian, Interns

1. May 2014

1.     3 hours

2. Evaluate the logo design submissions and select a winning logo.

2. Library Director, Children’s Librarian, and Library Board.

2. June 2014

2.     2-5 hours (dependent upon community response)

3. Create a 3D Model for the Family Space.

3. Children’s Librarian, Library Staff, Interns

3. May 2014

3.     4 hours

4. Write and distribute a Family Space Model print advertisement.

4. Children’s Librarian, Interns

4. June 2014

4.     30 minutes

 

Rollout:

What

Who

When

Time Commitment

Direct targeted outreach to community leaders to create awareness of the Family Space, and invite said leaders to participate in an upcoming community partnership workshop.

Library Director, Children’s Librarian, Interns

May 2014

3 hours

Send out relevant Family Space updates to staff via emails/memos.

Children’s Librarian, Interns.

Beginning in May 2014; Ongoing

30 minutes/week

Regularly update  website regarding the Family Space grand opening and subsequent activities and programming.

Library Director, Children’s Librarian, Interns

Beginning in May 2014; Ongoing

30 minutes/week

Regularly monitor and update library’s Twitter account.

Children’s Librarian, Library Staff, Interns

Beginning in May 2014; Ongoing

30 minutes/week

Regularly monitor and update library’s Facebook page

Children’s Librarian, Library Staff, Interns

Beginning in May 2014; Ongoing

1 hour/week

Create mock ups of community/school fliers and infographic.

Children’s Librarian

(Staff Member, Intern, or Volunteer who shows interest and ability may also be a part of the creation process)

May and June 2014

5 hours

Host ECRR staff and community workshops.

Library Director, Children’s Librarian, Library Staff, Interns, Volunteers, and Community Partners

June 2014

12-15 hours

Create Family Space grand opening press release.

Library Director, Children’s Librarian

June 2014

1 hour

Create mock ups of pens, stickers, tote bags and posters in VistaPrint.

Children’s Librarian (Staff Member, Intern, or Volunteer who shows interest and ability may also be a part of the creation process)

July 2014

3 hours

Order pens, stickers, tote bags, and posters from VistaPrint.

Children’s Librarian

July 2014

15 minutes

Distribute Family Space grand opening press release.The press release will be sent electronically and in print to local newspapers and other relevant publications.

Library Director

July 2014

30 minutes

Post community fliers in Solvay-Geddes Community Youth Center (CYC), Childcare Center, and other local businesses (doctor’s offices, dentists, salons, etc). It will also be distributed to local high school as high-school students may have siblings or other children that they babysit, or even children of their own.

Children’s Librarian

July 2014

3 hours

Give school fliers to local elementary school and teachers to distribute to their students.

Children’s Librarian

August 2014

1 hour

Put out ECRR materials (brochures, bookmarks, book lists, tips lists, poster) within the library.

Volunteers

September 2014

5-10 minutes

Timeline

Timeline for Marketing Family Space

May 2014

1. Develop the Logo Contest Announcement and cover letter and advertise it at local universities and through social media.

2. Create a 3D Model for the Family Space.

3. Target outreach to community leaders to create awareness of the Family Space, and invite said leaders to participate in an upcoming community partnership workshop.

4. Create mock ups of community/school fliers and infographic (will continue into June).

Ongoing:

1. Send out relevant Family Space updates to staff via emails/memos.

2. Regularly update  website regarding the Family Space grand opening and subsequent activities and programming.

3. Regularly monitor and update Twitter account.

4. Regularly monitor and update Facebook page.

June 2014

1. Evaluate the logo design submissions and select a winning logo.

2. Write and distribute a Family Space Model print advertisement.

3. Create mock ups of community/school fliers and infographic (continued from May).

4. Host ECRR staff and community workshops.

5. Create Family Space grand opening press release.

Ongoing:

1. Send out relevant Family Space updates to staff via emails/memos.

2. Regularly update website regarding the Family Space grand opening and subsequent activities and programming.

3. Regularly monitor and update Twitter account.

4. Regularly monitor and update Facebook page.

July 2014

1. Create mock ups of pens, stickers, and posters in VistaPrint.

2. Order pens, stickers, and posters from VistaPrint.

3. Distribute Family Space grand opening press release.

4. Post community fliers in  Community Youth Center (CYC),  Childcare Center, and other local businesses (doctor’s offices, dentists, salons, etc). It will also be distributed to high-school students may have siblings or other children that they babysit, or even children of their own.

Ongoing:

1. Send out relevant Family Space updates to staff via emails/memos.

2. Regularly update website regarding the Family Space grand opening and subsequent activities and programming.

3. Regularly monitor and update Twitter account.

4. Regularly monitor and update  Facebook page.

August 2014

1. Give school fliers to local schools and teachers to distribute to their students.

Ongoing:

1. Send out relevant Family Space updates to staff via emails/memos.

2. Regularly update  website regarding the Family Space grand opening and subsequent activities and programming.

3. Regularly monitor and update Twitter account.

4. Regularly monitor and update Facebook page.

September 2014

1. Put out ECRR materials (brochures, bookmarks, book lists, tips lists, poster) within library.

Ongoing:

1. Send out relevant Family Space updates to staff via emails/memos.

2. Regularly update  website regarding the Family Space grand opening and subsequent activities and programming.

3. Regularly monitor and update Twitter account.

4. Regularly monitor and update Facebook page.

Budget

Expense Source

Item

Cash Amount

Notes

Materials

ECRR Program and Related Materials

$ 0*

*Included in Project Plan Budget

Moveable 3D Model

$30.00

Includes materials for creating a 3D model of current space; e.g. styrofoam sheets, adhesive, colored paper

Digital Camera

$70.00

Canon PowerShot A2500 16MP Digital Camera; includes sales tax and shipping from Amazon.com

Posters (2)

Pens (200)

Stickers (400)

Totes (50)

$14.99

$120.00**

$149.99

$384.99

Family Space Logo can be uploaded to all of these items through VistaPrint (vistaprint.com).

**The cost of pens is currently being updated on the VistaPrint website, and the updated pricing will be available on 04/03/14. This number is an estimate.

2 reams 8.5”x11” Colored Copy Paper

$0.00***

For printing half-page fliers; 500 community fliers, 450 school fliers; Based on pricing from Staples.com

*** The cost of printing (color or black and white) is provided by the OCPL Community Relations

Printer Ink

$0.00***

*** The cost of printing (color or black and white) is provided by the OCPL Community Relations

Press Release/

Advertisement

$0.00****

There is no charge for press releases.

Gift Card to Local Business (Logo Design Winner)

$100.00

It is the hope that the library will be able to acquire this gift card through contributions made through local businesses. However, if this is not possible, the library will purchase a gift card or create a prize valuing around $100.00.

Refreshments for Community Partners Workshop

$50.00

Materials Total

$919.97

Personnel

Library Director

$637.00

Based on $26.00/hr; 24.5 hours

Children’s Librarian

$945.00

Based on $20.00/hr; 47.25 hours

Library Staff

$314.77

Based on $10.67/hr; 29.5 hours

Volunteers

$0*

*Unpaid; 23.25 hours

Interns

$0*

*Unpaid; 44 hours

Personnel Total

$1896.77

GRAND TOTAL

$2816.74

*Should additional ECRR marketing materials be required, the library may purchase them separately for an additional fee through the American Library Association (Every Child Ready to Read, 2012).

 

Family Space Budget for Library

Budget

Below is a list of projected expenditures for the project, in its ideal form. It is understood that the library may not have all the financial resources necessary, at the time of project implementation, to put toward each item in this list. As it stands, this budget is based on Phase I: Startup Costs (initial design and implementation of new space arrangement) and Phase II: Weekly Staffing and Upkeep Costs. It is assumed that implementation of this project will occur during regular library hours and largely at the hands of community volunteers, overseen by the Children’s Librarian and other available Library Staff. It is understood that there may be cheaper options to those offered for materials in this budget (homedepot.com and amazon.com were consulted for most of these estimates), and that the library may in fact be tax-exempt (though this was not assumed). Additionally, the library may be able to look to its community members for donations of some of these items, e.g. a digital camera and general painting supplies.

Phase I: Startup Costs, Design & Implementation

Expense Source

Item

Cash Amount

Notes

Programs

Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR), Second Edition Kit (ALSC & PLA)

$250

($20 discount for ALA members)

Includes manual, CD with materials for 8 workshops, bookmarks, brochures, and a poster; approximate tax and shipping added

Materials

Literacy Materials (as specified in ECRR’s guidelines)

$500

Including, but not limited to building blocks, puzzles, games, cards, and books. The suggested materials are specified in ECRR guidelines. This is an estimate of the total price.

Wall Paint

$76

2 gallons; $38/gal (Home Depot); tax added

Furniture Paint

$70

4 pints; $16/pt (Home Depot); tax added

Paint Kits

$87

8 kits; $10/kit; each kit includes 1 brush, 1 large roller, 1 small roller, and 1 large tray; tax added

Primer

$31

1 2-gal container (Home Depot); tax added

Plastic Drop cloths

$6

1 pack of 3 cloths, measuring 9’x12’ each; $5/pack; tax added

Painter’s Tape

$15

2 rolls; $6.58/roll; 1.88”x60yds each; tax added

Paper Towels

$12

1 pack; 8 rolls/pack; $11/pack; tax added

Anti-fume Respirator Masks

$93

10 packs, 2 masks/pack; $8.53/pack; tax added

Moveable 3D Model

$30

Includes materials for creating a 3D model of current space; e.g. styrofoam sheets, adhesive, colored paper

Digital Camera

$70

Canon PowerShot A2500 16MP Digital Camera; includes sales tax and shipping from Amazon.com

Personnel*

Library Director

$400

Based on $40/hr, approximately 10 hours total; Includes review and approval of plans, community interface, partner/funding solicitation

Children’s Librarian

$2000

New hire; Based on $20/hr, 100 hours total; Includes initial weeding of the teen collection, final design of space, grant writing, partner/funding solicitation, volunteer solicitation, materials purchases, community interface, answering project-related questions, and physical labor

Library Staff

$1000

Based on $20/hr, 50 hours total (5 staffers at appx. 10hrs each); Includes community interface regarding the project, building of 3D model,photos of 3D model designs, review of and report on community designs, volunteer solicitation, answering project-related questions, and physical labor

Community Volunteers

$320

Accounts for the training and supervision of approximately eight (8) one-time adult community volunteers; based on appx 5hrs/volunteer, $8/hr

Youth Volunteers

$64

Accounts for the training and supervision of approximately four (4) one-time youth volunteers; based on appx 2hrs/volunteer, $8/hr

Phase I Total

$5,618

Phase II: Weekly Staffing & Upkeep Costs

Expense Source

Item

Cash Amount

Notes

Personnel*

Children’s Librarian

$800

New hire (as above); Based on 40 hours/week at $20/hr; Includes ongoing weeding, maintaining a presence in the children’s area and Family Space, supervising volunteers and interns, leading workshops, demonstrations

Part-time Library Clerk

$380

19 hours/week, $20/hr; Includes assisting children’s librarian with staffing the space, supporting workshops

Parent Volunteers

$80

10 hours/week; training and supervision appx $8/hr; Includes assisting with staffing the space during high-traffic hours, locating materials/toys/games, regular cleaning of surfaces

Student Interns

$80

10 hours/week; training and supervision appx $8/hr; Includes assisting with workshops and demonstrations, cleaning, and assisting with weeding of teen collection

Phase II (Weekly) Total

$1,260

 

GRAND TOTAL

$6,878

 

*Personnel costs are based on estimates. These estimates may exceed real costs. Interns and volunteers were assumed to cost minimum wage (NYS) per hour, to account for necessary training and supervision.

 

Assignment 4: Literature Critique

Selected Literature

  • The Structure of Ill-Structured Problems by Herbert A. Simon
  • A New Approach to Innovative Design: An Introduction to C-K Theory by Armand Hatchuel & Benoit Weil
  • Conceptual Blockbusting: A pleasurable guide to better problem solving by James L. Adams
  • 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization by Vijay Kumar
  • Designing Spaces for Effective Learning: A guide to 21st century learning space design by JISC
  • Designing for adaptation: the school as socio-spatial assemblage by Kim Dovey and Kenn Fisher

 

Introduction

Popular learning pedagogies today lean towards constructivism (Hua Liu & Matthews, 2005), a distinct shift from more traditional behaviorist and cognitivist pedagogies (Dovey & Fisher, 2014). This constructivism applies to both how teachers and other education professionals facilitate learning in their environments, as well as how learning spaces are being designed. For instance, current popular design theories and practices seem to agree that designed spaces (for learning or otherwise) should be innovative in nature. However, a key discord between existing literature on design is that there does not seem to be a universal consensus on the specifics of innovative design. Dovey and Fisher remark quite aptly, “it is significant that there is no sense of convergence on any ideal architecture for the new pedagogies as there is for the old.” (Dovey & Fisher, 2014.)

In the literature selected above, two authors stand out on opposite ends of the design theory spectrum; Herbert Simon and Armand Hatchuel. Simon views design as a problem (or series of problems both ill-structured and well-structured) to be solved while Hatchuel depicts design as a project.

Simon’s design theory involves bounded rationality (meaning that decision making is limited by an individual’s existing knowledge or memory, time constraints and the cognitive limitations of the mind), as well as satisficing—seeking a satisfactory, or “good enough” solution as opposed to an/the optimal one (Simon, 1973). Simon says, “The whole design, then, begins to acquire structure by being decomposed into various problems of component design, and by evoking, as the design progresses, all kinds of requirements to be applied in testing the design of its components. During any given short period of time, the architect will find himself working on a problem which, perhaps beginning in an ill structured state, soon converts itself through evocation from memory into a well structured problem.” (Pople, 1982; Simon, 1973; Webster, 2010.)

On the other end of the spectrum, Hatchuel’s design theory (C-K theory) is both a design theory and a theory of design reasoning. According to Hatchuel and Weil, design includes problem solving but should not be reduced to just solving a problem; Design theory is an open-ended process, and a project. Problem solving alone does not leave room for innovation (Dorst & Overveld; Hatchuel & Weil, 2003). In keeping with C-K theory, a brief is designed as a concept, through the introduction of a formal distinction between concept and knowledge spaces, followed by a characterization of the space between concept (C) and knowledge (K) (Bassiti & Ajhoun, 2013).

Two authors whose design practices aren’t directly related to learning spaces but seem to be influenced by Simon and Hatchuel respectively are John L. Adams (author of Conceptual Blockbusting: A pleasurable guide to better problem solving) and Vijay Kumar (author of 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization).

Adams is of the mindset that design “problems” exist, however the problems need to be properly isolated in order to be solved and consequently for innovation to occur. (Adams, 1976.) Adams’ logic is as follows:

Problem statements are often liberally laced with answers. The answers may be well thought out or poorly conceived. They may be right or wrong. A problem statement to an architect such as ‘put a latch on that door between the kitchen and the dining room so that the door can be opened extremely easily’ implies that the answer to kitchen/dining room access is a door, rather than no door, a redefinition of space or a redefinition of the food preparation/eating function.” (p. 15)

Kumar 2012 does not write explicitly from a problem-solving standpoint. Kumar starts by saying that less that 4 percent of the innovation projects undertaken by businesses are proven successful. The remaining 96 percent of the projects fail (Kumar, 2012). Kumar then goes on to describe four key principles for successful innovation: Build innovations around experience; think of innovations as systems; cultivate an innovation culture; and adopt a disciplined innovation process (Kumar, 2012). Kumar’s design methods rely heavily on process and experience, turning design from an art into a science, reminiscent (to this author) of Hatchuel & Weil and the C-K theory.

Kumar’s 101 design methods aside, there is incredible discord in the selected literature about methods for applying design thinking to spaces for learning. Two pieces of literature that delve deeper into design methods specific to learning spaces are Designing Spaces for Effective Learning: A guide to 21st century learning space design by JISC, and Designing for adaptation: the school as socio-spatial assemblage by Kim Dovey and Kenn Fisher. A close reading of the literature shows that implementation is often tricky in designing spaces specifically for learning. There are myriad standards and specifications to be met on academic (EngageNY, 2011), bureaucratic and architectural levels (School Construction Authority, 2011).

As an example, if teachers are tied up with the design of learning spaces (arguably as they should be), it becomes harder for them to focus on immediate academic necessities. In addition, it is difficult to ensure buy-in from all levels of stakeholders including upper management, and teachers. Regular dialog among management and staff as the design ideas are in the ideation and implementation phases are suggested methods to facilitate cooperation across the board (Bhutiani & Danaher, 2013), but that seems an oversimplified answer to a complex question.

According to a JISC eSpaces Study at the University of Birmingham, “Organisations all face pressure to deliver higher standards of education, to greater numbers of students, with tight financial restrictions, but still need to provide facilities that will attract students in a competitive market.” (JISC, 2006.) Organizations do need to achieve all of the above in order to stay competitive, but with no universal learning design theory, and vastly differing theories and practices abounding, what is a learning institution to do?

It should be noted that none of the selected authors address the idea of the potential difficulty in expecting students to adapt to new, innovative learning environments if the designers of said learning environments aren’t practicing what they preach. Teachers and educational professionals should not necessarily champion an open, flexible way of learning to facilitate all kinds of students, and a new way of thinking that is tied into the very design of a learning space, if they’re holding on to standards or constraints in part for fear of bureaucratic repercussions.

 Analysis

Design theory discord aside, a trendy concept in designing spaces for learning is the idea of an open classroom or learning space (JISC, 2006; Dovey & Fisher, 2014). Open learning spaces are flexible, often previously underutilized spaces that are redesigned to attract a variety of learners. Conceived to foster an environment of both individuality as well as collaboration (JISC, 2006), these spaces usually seem to favor the latter.

The Syracuse Center of Excellence in downtown Syracuse, NY is a prime example of what this concept looks like in practice. According to their website, the Syracuse Center of Excellence is an innovation hub created to spur economic development in the Upstate New York region. The organization engages with individuals at hundreds of regional companies and institutions in an attempt to address challenges in clean and renewable energy, indoor environmental quality (IEQ), and water resources. (SyracuseCoE, 2014.)

SyracuseCoE Headquarters is a LEED Platinum certified smart building that is touted as being a “testbed for innovation” (SyracuseCoE, 2011). Other notable design features include a Total Indoor Environmental Quality [TIEQ] Lab, a green roof, a geothermal system, lighting and control systems, natural and personal ventilation systems, advanced building heat recovery and reuse systems, air quality monitoring of outside air and controls for improving air indoors, an urban ecosystem observatory tower, rain water capture and reuse and much more.

SyracuseCoE has used a variety of design methods from the selected literature in the design of their building, including an open floor plan with no separate offices for upper management, and a rotating desk plan where desks are not designated to specific individuals. Instead, employees sit where they prefer, whether at a desk, in the lobby, on the green roof, etc. In addition, a lot of the office and lab space remains empty for most of the year and is designed to facilitate the needs of partners, students and individuals affiliated with the organization that need a place for learning, experimentation and exploration (SyracuseCoE, 2014).

While all of this open space sounds not only innovative for an organization, but also ideal for all parties involved, Dovey and Fisher claim, “The most open of plans are often not the most adaptable because they constrain choice.” (Dovey & Fisher, 2014) Due to the open nature of the SyracuseCoE headquarters, sound carries and makes for a rather cacophonous atmosphere, often times negating the benefits of creating an open office. There are also very few places to retreat for individuals who do not feel that open offices or environments are conducive to their style of learning. The fact that the entire office is open, does in fact, as Dovey and Fisher claim, constrain choice.

Minimal changes could improve the accessibility of open learning environments for all learning styles. For instance, the University of Strathclyde made open plans work for students in its computer workstation area by creating a barrier within the open space. The university incorporated a presentation area into its open space design that gave students a place to peer review their work and ideas. “The realisation of the design takes place in the rapid prototyping room – a separate room but with a transparent partition to provide sound insulation but still allow activities there to be integrated into other stages of the process.” (JISC, 2006.)

In addition to constraints and boundaries within an open space plan, JISC denotes alternative space design options to facilitate various types of learning styles including flexible furniture, wider doorways, audiovisual cues and changes in furniture layout which can help learners navigate around a building and “adjust their behaviour according to the purpose of the space” (JISC, 2006).

Is the open classroom/learning space idea an ill-structured solution to an ill-structured problem? Is it the solution to a well-structured problem? Or is it a temporary pit stop on the designing spaces for learning journey toward meeting the ever-evolving needs of learners well into the future? Dovey and Fisher say that the more convertible and fluid the learning space is designed to be, the more complex said space ultimately becomes as “different spaces are added to the cluster in a variety of spatial relationships (separation, openability, interpenetration).” (Dovey & Fisher, 2014.) In light of this, it is proposed that there be a blend of separation, openability and interpretation in designing spaces for learning as a whole; a marriage of standards and flexibility; a collaboration between all levels of stakeholders.  The overlap of separate spaces described by Dovey and Fisher seems to yield the best results, as exhibited by the University of Strathclyde example above.

Conclusion

The theme that runs like a spine throughout the literature analyzed in this paper is the fact that innovation is integral to designing spaces. Although the literature differs on methods of implementation, innovation in design does not seem possible without room for trial and error, creativity and flexibility all the while maintaining a sense of boundaries and constraints. Innovative design also needs to be measurably successful in order to bypass organizational push back and facilitate buy-in from all stakeholders.

In the literature selected for this critique, and in using practical, real life examples such as the University of Strathclyde and the Syracuse Center of Excellence, design theory currently seems more akin to C-K theory as proposed by Hatchuel and Weil, than bounded rationality as proposed by Simon.  The literature and real life examples that were influenced by C-K theory allowed for a degree of innovation that literature involving design practice influenced by Simon is lacking. Much of the literature, most notably Dovey and Fisher’s Designing for adaptation: the school as socio-spatial assemblage, read like a design brief.

Understandably, there are gaps in the above outline and analysis due to the sample size of the literature critiqued. The literature predominantly discusses substantive design changes, which are not always the answer. A design project or problem does not always require monumental structural changes, for instance, “evolution” is sometimes touted as an alternative to “revolution” (Blueprint for Innovation, 2013). Reminiscent of Adams’ focus on the isolation of a problem, if a design project or problem is properly isolated, there may be no need to make huge structural changes in order to effectively design spaces for learning.

The distinction between revolution and evolution is key, especially when organizational considerations (budget justification, limited budget, lack of support from key internal and external stakeholders) are involved. Evolution is a much easier sell than revolution, and revolution can and will happen incrementally in the form of evolution over time. Designing Spaces for Effective Learning: A guide to 21st century learning space design says it best:

We cannot anticipate future technological or pedagogic developments, but can ensure that designs will accommodate change. Investment in higher specification mobile rather than fixed technologies, wireless as well as wired networks, even bespoke furniture, may be justified when the space can support a range of purposes, and be relatively easily reconfigured. It is also probable that institutions will aim increasingly for fewer but better quality teaching spaces, with increased space per seat: large group or dispersed group teaching is already being supported by video streaming and video conferencing. Cameras in teaching spaces can offer that flexibility. (JISC, 2006).

What does innovative design theory look like in the future? How about design practice? Which pedagogy, if any, will one day steal the popularity of constructivism in the classroom? While the answers to these questions cannot be known, it is suggested that designers of learning spaces be fluid and design flexibly, existing in the present without abandoning design theories and practices of old that might just require redefinition in order to support the current learning environment. This outlook will allow students of generations both present and future, to continue learning as pedagogies, standards and practices fickly, and inevitably change.

References

Adams, J. (1976). Conceptual blockbusting: A pleasurable guide to better problem solving. New York: W. W Norton & Company, Inc.

Ajhoun, R., & Bassiti, L. (2013). International Journal of Innovation, Management and Technology, 4(6), 551. doi:10.7763/IJIMT.2013.V4.460

Bhutiani, A., & Danaher, A. (2013). Blueprint for innovation. FTI Journal, September 1, 2014.

Dorst, K., & Overveld, K. (2009). Typologies of design practice. In A. Meijers (Ed.), The handbook philosophy of technology and engineering sciences (9th ed., pp. 455). Amsterdam: North Holland.

Dovey, K., & Fisher, K. (2014).
Designing for adaptation: The school as socio-spatial assemblage. The Journal of Architecture, 19(1), 43-63. doi:10.1080/13602365.2014.882376

Hua Liu, C., & Matthews, R. (2005).
Vygotsky’s philosophy: Constructivism and its criticisms examined.
Adelaide University). International Education Journal, 6(3), 386-399.

JISC e-Learning Programme. (2006). Designing spaces for effective learning: A guide to 21st century learning space design. Bristol: Higher Education Funding Council.

Kumar, V. (2012). 101 design methods : A structured approach for driving innovation in your organization (1st ed.). Hoboken: Wiley.

New york state P-12 common core learning standards. (2012). Retrieved from https://www.engageny.org/resource/new-york-state-p-12-common-core-learning-standards

Pople, H. E., Jr. “Heuristic Methods for Imposing Structure on Ill-Structured Problems: The Structuring of Medical Diagnostics.”  Chapter 5 in Szolovits, P. (Ed.) Artificial Intelligence in Medicine. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado.  1982.

School construction authority design standards. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.nycsca.org/Business/WorkingWithTheSCA/Design/Pages/DesignStandards.aspx

Simon, H. (1973). The structure of ill structured problems. Amsterdam: North Holland Publishing Company.

Syracuse center of excellence: Headquarters building. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.syracusecoe.org/coe/sub1.html?skuvar=16

Syracuse center of excellence: Home page. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.syracusecoe.org/coe/

Webster, C. (2010, July 15).
Herbert Simon’s well- vs. ill-structured problems, adaptive case management, and clinical groupware. Retrieved from http://chuckwebster.com/2010/07/ehr-workflow/herbert-simon-well-vs-ill-structured-problems-adaptive-case-management-clinical-groupware

Blog Task 4: Creative Coffee Morning

Creative Bowling Night copy

I decided that in the spirit of creativity and making this project my own, I would branch out and try an event that was a little less coffee morning and a little more bowling night. Using the above poster as a marketing device, I was able to convince 8 people (a pretty small turnout, I know) to come join me at AMF Strike n’ Spare Lanes in Syracuse, NY.

creative bowling night

We had cheap, terrible beer (PBR was on special), bowled and discussed all things creative. One incredibly exciting outcome of the evening was that we collectively decided we wanted make creative sessions a monthly thing, at various venues. Next up is brunch at a favorite local restaurant called Alto Cinco. I realized that while I can’t always change the physical space of a place to meet my creatively inclined needs, and to help inspire ideas in others, I CAN ensure that I change the environment to facilitate the same sort of positive/creative learning outcome.

A few of the people who showed up for the event had backgrounds in early childhood development, and are studying to be School Media librarians so a discussion about creative redesigning of traditional spaces seemed to really resonate with them. Although many people were wary about being captured in photos/videos, I was able to capture a short video of the lovely Jessica Regitano, who was particularly excited about the Vittra School in Stockholm that did away with traditional classrooms and embraced open space, permeable borders and abstract landmarks (Chan, 2012). For those of you who haven’t heard about this school, or need a refresher the architects at Rosan Bach who are responsible for the innovative design had this to say to help clarify the space: “Instead of classical divisions with chairs and tables, a giant iceberg for example serves as cinema, platform, and room for relaxation, and sets the frame for many different types of learning, while flexible laboratories make it possible to work hands-on with themes and projects.” (Chan, 2012.)

And now, a word from Jessica:

The informality of this type of event and the fact that I had a key role in organizing made me super nervous. I also feel that it caused me to hold back some of my creative energy both in the event planning and actual execution. When I organize another one next month, I plan to let my imagination run wild. A key benefit to the informal creative bowling night was that everyone was on a level playing field (no one was standing up front and lecturing or presenting) and thus was easier for all attendees to offer up their thoughts and ideas without fear of a “wrong answer”, if you will. The planning of this event also caused me to realize that you don’t always need money, speakers or a fancy venue to host a successful event. Sometime, all you have to do is ask. All in all, a pretty fun experience and one that I definitely want to keep up with outside the confines of INF536!

References

    Chan, K. (2012). Stockholm’s school without classrooms. Retrieved from http://architizer.com/blog/vittra/

 

Blog Task 2: Observation

Syracuse Hancock International Airport Observation

Outside

Traffic (foot and vehicle) in both directions, although more congested at the drop-off area. Airport employees/security guards hurry people along brusquely. They continue to reiterate that cars should not park in front, even to unpack the car and say goodbye to passengers. They encourage people to pay for parking in an airport parking lot far removed from the main building. People seem tired, hurried and cranky.

Check In

Upon entering the airport, I am greeted by copious amounts of empty space, haphazardly arranged potted plants, thin gray carpeting and a stray piece of furniture every couple of feet. Lighting is harsh and fluorescent. The environment feels slapdash and makes me somewhat uneasy. There is a long row of rental car vendors to my left and a few DIY check-in kiosks and a check-in counter to my right. The employees of the rental car vendors don’t smile or say anything as I walk past, although they are staring directly at me. The DIY check-in kiosks are all broken, and no airport employees are currently at or near the check-in desk. Directional signage is relatively non-existent as far as I can tell. Due to lack of proper signage it seems that people are moving from one check-in desk to the next, lugging their bags along with them. Again, people seem tired and increasingly more frustrated.

Security

There is one line for security until you get closer to the front where it splits off into 2-3 checkpoints. Lighting is still harsh, maybe even more so than in the check-in area. People who didn’t say goodbye to friends/family/loved ones outside, are doing it now, albeit hurriedly, as no one but plane passengers are allowed beyond the security checkpoint. The security area has some informative signage, although the placement of said signage is at the front of the line. People seem to be scrambling to take out their laptops, and take off their shoes at the last second. They are also reorganizing their carry-on luggage, as well as scarfing down the last of whatever food they have on them. Perhaps as a result of the signage placement? The children seem impatient and whiny. They are crying a lot, or running around.

Terminal

Terminal has places to eat, drink and sit as well as lots of empty, unused space. People seem a bit more relaxed here, as they settle in with their carry-ons and wait for their planes to arrive. Lots of people are reading physical books, or ereaders, using their laptops, or listening to music. Others are napping. Many kids are still running around, or crying while others sleep, or play games on digital devices.

Sketch of my observations (click to enlarge): SKMBT_42114080811460

Comments on other blog posts:

1. Shannon’s blog post 

2. Jo’s blog post

3. Margo’s blog post

Blog Task 1

Problem Space

I’ve been exploring the idea of capitalizing on unused/empty space in everyday places (in this specific instance, an airport) by turning them into non-traditional learning spaces.

My partner works at the Syracuse Airport, and talked about how there is a lot of unused or empty terminal space in the building.

photo 2 (2) photo 5 photo 3 (1) photo (7)

At around the same time, my friend, classmate & colleague Anna shared an article with me  about the first airport library near Amsterdam, at the Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands. In a 2010  New York Times article praising the innovative initiative, past President of the American Library Association (ALA) Roberta Stevens is quoted as saying, “We can’t cement ourselves into the past. We have to reflect the changes we see in our societies, and its clear that we are becoming more and more transient.” And thus, the idea of creating an airport library in Syracuse, NY or transforming empty space at the local airport into a learning space that benefits the people of the airport, and also provides marketing and outreach benefits to the libraries in this area was born.

Design thinking

Throughout the exploration of our required reading for the past few weeks, an integral framework to design thinking that stuck out to me was Tim Brown’s three stages; Feasibility, viability, and desirability (Brown, 2009).

Based on the subsequent success  of libraries in other airports (including Schiphol, and five other libraries in the U.S–most recently Boise, Idaho) creating a digital or little free library in the Syracuse Airport seems to me a feasible, viable and desirable project.

I think that designing spaces for learning should involve a high level of strategy, and intentionality as well as a firm knowledge of what your target audience/demographic/community wants and needs. From layout, to signage, to furniture placement, almost everything can serve a learning purpose if the space is used to its full potential. For instance, according to Reuter, 2007 children said that finding books they like is the biggest barrier they face to reading. Theoretically, if library spaces for children were organized in an intuitive way that made relevant reading materials easier to find, this barrier to reading dissolves.  As Brown, 2010 states, “A designer now must take the needs of the entire world, including the environment, into account.”

Along those same lines, I also think there should also be a dynamic interactivity between space and users of the space as opposed to a space being a static, monolithic thing.

Description of changes

A small pilot test of this design project would be the first step to change, in the way of a Little Free Library. The purpose of this pilot test would be to gauge overall interest of the airport customers’ in the service we’re hoping to provide (or to gauge desirability of the space redesign). Steps to implement the pilot project included:

1. Partnering with local libraries in the Syracuse area (or pulling from my own personal library) to put together a small collection of reading material for adults, teenagers and children.

2. Setting up pop-up little free libraries in the empty terminal spaces pictured above.

3. Observing those pop-up little free libraries, engaging with the airport customers using the little free libraries, and gathering valuable feedback to get started on next steps for a bigger, perhaps more digital airport library.

As the space redesign progresses, more updates will follow. Stay tuned!

Comments on other posts:

1. Patricia’s blog

2. Shannon’s blog

3.  Rochelle’s blog

References

Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation Harper Collins.

Clark, N. (2010). At schiphol, an unlikely sanctuary of books. Retrieved, 2014, Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/16/arts/16iht-library.html

Prentice, G. (2014). Branching out: Boise library goes digital at the airport. Retrieved, 2014, Retrieved from http://www.boiseweekly.com/boise/branching-out/Content?oid=3191173

Reuter, K. A.“Children selecting books in a library”: Extending models of information behavior to a recreational setting. (Doctorate, University of Maryland).

 

Module 1.1

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. Share your ideas or inspiration in the Forum. What did you change or transform quickly in your learning environment?

As mentioned in my Introduction post, I am not at liberty to transform any empty spaces in my learning environment currently, but I have a prime example of a way that I used design thinking to transform an underused Children’s Space at a public library into a Family Space (that will hopefully see more traffic in future months)!

In class last semester I worked with a small group of students on the creating, marketing and assessing of a library space redesign that was conceptually simple (as the library  has a limited budget) but meant to be beneficial to early children’s literacy in a specific Upstate NY community. Our pared down plan was to move the existing Teen Space (which was right in the center of the Children’s Space for some reason) upstairs to their own quadrant of the “adult” section of the library. Then we would combine the early children’s literacy materials, as well as the parenting materials and move them into the (now empty) space where the Teen’s Room used to be.

During our research for the space redesign (or space reshuffle, if I’m being more accurate) we found that the creation of boundaries, or “smaller spaces within a larger space” (Feinberg et al., 2004, p. 99) was an important design consideration. Boundaries are important as they allow for both active and quiet spaces. These smaller spaces within a  larger space can be created through such things as bookshelf and furniture arrangement, etc. Our research also led us to the notion that creating a space in the children’s area that encourages social interaction between children and families is also important. (Bayliss, 2013; Feinberg et al., 2004, p. 100; Nichols, 2011).

Some key (albeit small) ways we sought to engage with the concepts of boundaries and encouraging social interaction between children and caregivers in library spaces included ensuring that there was appropriately-sized seating for both caregivers and children in the Family Space area. We also combined the materials in the existing Children’s Space with the materials in the existing Parenting area (decidedly less material here) and had the furniture rearranged in a way that was conducive to caregiver and child social interactions.

 

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