INF536 Blog Task #1


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF536, required blog tasks | Posted on July 30, 2014


To say that I’ve struggled with this task, wouldn’t be a lie. I’ve found it hard to define a space that isn’t serving a purpose for learning in my library as I’ve been tweaking it regularly over the past 3 years that I’ve been at SEHS. My classroom, is currently in flux due to lack of duty-of-care supervision in the library, so constant movement of my class hasn’t allowed me to settle into a space that my class could call their own with me, and I’ve just asked for my classroom space to be shifted as things weren’t working for me in the classroom that I was assigned for the class. The space that I’m moving to still won’t be our own, as we will be sharing the Home Ec theory room in the one of the library class spaces (major building works meant Textiles & Home Ec theory are based in my 2 library enclosed classroom spaces for 2014). However, having relocated the class on a permanent basis to a library room means that I will be able to use the main library space as a break out space from the classroom easily.

Having spent 2 lessons a week in the library with my class has lead me to consider the class area of the library for a small change.


(a) Problem space that is not serving the purpose it could for learning.

Basic layout of library (map is not to scale but shows the main locations – used in library orientation for the new Yr 8s)

resource centre map

The Class area Semester 1, 2014 – rough sketch

lib class book area 1

3 rows of 3 tables; each table has 4 chairs – 2 either side of each table. Student main walkway in red; possible power cable for projector in blue

Semester 1 layout

Semester 1 layout

Before this, the class area was a random arrangement of 7-9 tables (4 person tables).

original layout

original layout

The principal had a presentation or meeting with parents (I can’t remember exactly as it was very early in the year)  in the library and the feedback given was that that arrangement looked cluttered, which I will admit it did having now changed it to 3 rows of 3 tables.

The problem that this layout (3 rows) for the class area did have was that students were potentially easily distracted by students coming into the library going to either print (near TL office) or the main desk, particularly if the teacher was in the traditional front of class space.

The portable whiteboard is not often out but I needed it for showing a youtube clip and writing notes up  for the class and this also raised a valid problem for me, as I realised that I needed to tape down the power cords (of a reasonable length too) as they went through the main thoroughfare when heading to the circulation desk. If I was to be regularly using this space and a projector, this would be a significant hazard and would mean that I would constantly be needing to tape down cords and pull up the tape when packing up the projector.

 (b) Benefits from design thinking regarding this space

The space could benefit from some design thinking in regard to reducing the hazard of the cords and distraction possibilities. The process undertaken in this design process was suggested by Dorner in Razzouk, R., & Shute, V. (2012, p335) following the cloudy idea of how the design should look like and work, crystallizing into a clear and complete image of the design. Prototyping of the solution is currently in progress, as the final layout still may change.  The problem that was considered here would be classed as a Well-Structured-Problem by Simon (1973).

Challenges in space design over time, have meant that consideration for portable projectors (and even move-able TVs, VCR & DVD players) would not have occurred when building the library and there seem to have been less concern for tripping over cords and the like at that time. Moving to 21st century learning & teaching styles has meant that being able to move furniture around to allow a variety of learning experiences within learning spaces needs to be a viable option. 

(c) Changes made

Having considered the main hazard of the cords needing to be taped down a fair distance, I decided to try flipping the space 90 degrees. This would allow a shorter cord taping to be required and the cord would not be where a lot of students were walking so less hazard concern there.

Class Area Semester 2, rough sketch

lib class book area 2

3 rows of 3 tables; each table has 4 chairs – 2 either side of each table. Student main walkway in red; possible power cable for projector in dark blue and light blue. Preference is for the light blue option if possible.

start of Semester 2 layout

start of Semester 2 layout

The change of layout has changed how students interact in the space at lunchtime, which I expected a little because they couldn’t just walk in and sit down; they have to move around the tables particularly to sit in the middle of the table rows like they used to. However, I haven’t heard anyone complaining about the new layout which I have when I’ve shifted the layout of couches and ottomans in the fiction area during the year. I probably have fewer people sitting at the tables during lunch but I’m not sure that during their break times a lot of the time that these tables were used for learning/working, they are more used as a social chatting space or uno playing or chess match spaces (which we offer at lunchtimes). I was intending to try out the new layout with my class, this Monday (changed the space late Friday afternoon) but another teacher booked the space before I did (she needed the laptops & I didn’t so I wasn’t worried). I did consider leaving an aisle in the middle of the rows, so having 2 tables together a gap and then the final table in the row, to allow flow through to the non-fiction area and interactions at lunch time. I still need to get feedback on how teachers & students like the current arrangement, or if they’d prefer an aisle and then which option. The long table rows seem to be working better than the single tables that we used to have here, better interactions and on task behaviours (and less chair left out hazards afterwards) are occuring in the learning space time.

Aisle options

Class area option 1 with aisle space closest to fiction area

Class area option 1 with aisle space closest to fiction area

Class area option 2 with aisle space closest to photocopier

Class area option 2 with aisle space closest to photocopier


Class area option 1 with aisle space closest to fiction area with tables flipped 90 degrees

Class area option 3 with aisle space closest to fiction area with tables flipped 90 degrees


Added: Initial feedback from teachers is that they like this space arrangement better than the Semester 1 layout – less distraction from the doorways for some students.

(d) Comments on others blog pages


Katie’s Learning Journey

Lisa’s thoughts 


Digitalli (Margaret Simkin)



Razzouk, R., & Shute, V. (2012). What is design thinking and why is it important? Review of Educational Research, September, 82 (3), 330–348.
Simon, H. A. (1973). The structure of ill-structured problems. Artificial Intelligence. 4, pp. 181–201. Retrieved from:




designing for the unknown #2


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF536 | Posted on July 29, 2014

 Consider these questions in response to your reading and viewing

  • What is the role of a design brief?
  • What are the key tensions inherent in a design brief that seeks responses that are distinctly different from the status quo?
  • Are there alternative approaches to design briefs, that help us move from knowledge-based decisions to a process that empowers design teams to make discoveries of their own, in what Hatchuel and Weil call “the concept space”?

Role of the design brief:

To highlight what is wanted to be designed. Allows clarity to what is not wanted from a space and what is wanted. To be clear about any restrictions (eg this is the total floor space and structural layout – support pillars/windows/doors etc – that we want to be re-designed)

Key tensions:

Between what we have & what we think we want, AND allowing for new thinking of the space to be had with possible uses of the space. The hard bit is allowing ideas to be formed about possible use without limiting to what we’ve always had before; allowing a bit of ill-structured problem or wicked problem into the design process.


Currently I’m not entirely sure there isn’t something out there that wouldn’t be classified as a design brief. The example from Walker College where the school has tried to look at their (potential) space from new eyes is a good example of trying to explore and discover possibilities for the architect to consider. They’ve not limited, as such the potential architect from creating any ideas but they’ve been clear to what the spaces they need/want designed need to do in an educational & community use setting. They’ve given some ideas but haven’t limited themselves to those broad outlined ideas.



Engine Service Design & Walker Technology College. Dear Architect: The Vision Of Our Future School: Walker Technology College

Designing for the unknown


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF536 | Posted on July 27, 2014

Notes on readings for Module 2.3

I struggled with Hatcheul, Masson & Weil. I found it hard to follow because of all the abbreviations in the article. Once I got my head around most of them, it was a little easier to follow but I was constantly scrolling up the article to check some acronyms, a couple I’m not entirely sure they did indicate what they meant, I eventually deduced what they meant. The idea of breadth-first and depth-first were helpful, depending on which area, science or creative, you were looking at. I could see how using the alternative to traditional methods in those areas would be helpful; broadening the usual outlook for potential solutions to possible problems/concepts.  I think I would have grasped some of their ideas better if diagrams were easier to understand or presented a little earlier. I’m still not convinced that I totally understand what they were trying to say. It hurt my head and I’m not sure most of it was in a useful way.

Melles was a much easier read by comparison. However, it didn’t really expand my knowledge of designing for the unknown. It did help with understanding where other universities are in developing students (of mainly design, but other streams are allowed) in design thinking.

Dear Architect was an interesting read. I liked how it was well set out. I was able to understand the process that Walker Technology College went through to develop the design brief for their potential architect. There was nothing limiting the potential space creation (although it appeared to need to be 2 storeys) but it was clear what they were wanting the space to do. It was readable for anyone to pick up and understand what Walker wanted from their new school.

Simon was an interesting read, particularly in regard to structuring problems. All problems can be considered Ill-Structured-Problems (ISP – which I had to concentrate on using the correct meaning for this acronym) in the wider sense. Well-Structured-Problems (WSP) only really exist in the smaller segments of a wider problem. I liked the clear examples that were given, particularly the chess playing examples. Each move is a WSP but the game is an ISP.


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.

Melles, G. (2010). Curriculum design thinking: a new name for old ways of thinking and practice? Sydney: Proceedings of the DTRS8 Conference 299-308

Engine Service Design & Walker Technology College. Dear Architect: The Vision Of Our Future School: Walker Technology College

Simon, H. A. (1973). The structure of ill-structured problems. Artificial Intelligence. 4, pp. 181–201. Retrieved from:

Does design matter? reflections


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF536 | Posted on July 27, 2014

Think: Consider these questions in your online reflections on the reading and viewing

  • Why does design matter?

Simplistically, it helps things work better in many situations, to run smoother, to create a better product. It can help businesses operate in a more productive and engaging for their clients (in whatever product/service they are providing). Schools can be considered a business in one sense, as we are in the business of creating better (?), productive citizens for the world, although sometimes given the political and economic climate it can seem otherwise.

I want students to be able to engage in their learning, preferably because they see an interest or need to learn whatever it is. I want them to allow others the same freedom to learn, without distraction if necessary, in my library space.

  • What are the core reasons for which we need a design process?

So we actually test things out (prototyping) before putting them out in the market and finding they are already out there of they’re a bit of a flop with execution. (very simplistically)

  • What might be the role of design when we think about learning spaces?

We need to consider how to design spaces that allow students to learn in a variety of ways. They don’t have to be in the same room to be able to be used.

How can we best allow students the space to learn:

  • quiet spaces for individual study/learning
  • groups spaces for collaborative work
  • lecture/instructional space for core understandings of a topic/field of study – is this needed at the higher levels especially if you consider the flipped classroom idea that is currently being developed by schools & universities.


Impact of space – what I’ve done


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF536 | Posted on July 27, 2014

So having read feedback from Ewan in the forum after posting up my concerns about what I should be trying to change. I decided to pick up on the changing from passive display (good traditional librarian thing) to a student adding to display window.  Someone else in the cohort, posted a pic up of a whiteboard in a slightly out of the way spot, that they changed to have pens for brainstorming & a puzzle starter on the board. Sorry I don’t remember who at the moment; I need to go back and read some blogs again (ETA found it Heather’s blog). I took this idea of allowing students to add to displays as an idea to try. It’s also been discussed a bit on oztl_net (email list moderated by CSU) with booth style seating and writing on desktops being the main inspiration. We also had our principal make sure that we considered what we were thankful for, and acknowledge things that we are grateful for at our first staff briefing for the term. This strongly influenced my choice of first theme.

I decided to try a brainstorming type display on one of my windows where students can write something on a sticky note / post-it note and then put on the window.

I’ve used 1* A3 sheet with the theme and 1 A4 sheet to explain that news in the world has been a bit depressing lately so we’d like to have some positive things that we’re thankful for, and it doesn’t have to be a big thing (one thing posted was $7 Wendy deals (Wendy’s is an icecream & hotdog chain in SA)). I’ve placed 2 pads of sticky notes out for students to use to start with and a selection of connector pens (only because that’s what I had in my office) and 2 small brief notes about leaving the space tidy for the next person. I didn’t put anything up about not writing things that wouldn’t be appropriate, I was hoping I won’t need to worry about that. However, I had a group of Yr 10/11s who have made me question that as they posted some rather inappropriate things for under-age students to be expressing in a public space. Currently to work around this, I’m censoring after lunch by removing inappropriate notes, or my staff on duty in the library is while I’m out at lunch.

2014-07-24 14.19.20This is 2 lunchtimes after I put it up. I did 2 notes to start off the display this time as I just put it up during a Yr 11/12 study lesson and left them to it. The notes I put up were to make students feel okay with adding their notes to the window. I’m not sure I’ll do this with the next theme (might wait until mid-lunch to add some to start it off if needed)

I decided that I’ll change the theme for students to post-it-note at least fortnightly. I only started this Thursday so this first theme will be up for next week as well.

I’m intending to collate the notes at the end of each theme and create a more static display from them elsewhere in the library. So that students can think about what has been suggested by students before and use it as a talking point.

Future themes at this stage are likely to include our school values (Respect, Pride, Excellence, Integrity, Responsibility and what do they look like at SEHS) and “things that have made you smile lately”. I’ve shared the window idea with our Student Voice co-ordinator and she may also use it to get feedback on student ideas/suggestions as their current options aren’t really working for them.



impact of space task – slight concerns


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF536 | Posted on July 23, 2014

I’m feeling a bit stuck for ideas of where to try to change in my school spaces, most of my time is in the library but we’ve just done a face lift (read paint job, new carpet, fresh reading furniture and 10 touch screen desktop computers with associated furniture) over the last Christmas holidays (I blogged about this as my opening blog entry for Inf536) but I’m down to one blank wall space that we’ve started to put up some Commonwealth games info as a passive display near the student printer and will eventually have a map of the cultural places that our students come from (not sure when this will actually happen – there’s a few other building renovations happening as well at the moment around my school) and another blank wall space in a corner which isn’t people browser friendly as it’s in a corner next to desktops (can’t shift them as new desktop tables & related stuff put in during Term 1 as part of the facelift).

I could use change of display from what we had up for the World Cup to what we do for the Commonwealth Games but I think we need to do more than that as part of this subject.
I could also play with how the Yr 11/12 study space is set up but I think I’ve finally got that to work (mostly) for students – need to take a few, newer pics of that area.

My other space that I use/teach in I share with at least 2 other teachers (2 of us teach one line in the room). I’ve asked the main teacher in the room if I can put things up on the windows (mainly to limit morning sun – far too bright with the angle for first lesson to see students). There isn’t a lot on the classroom walls at the moment. I currently also end up teaching 2 of my lessons down in the library as currently there is no one supervising study students & other random-come-to-work in library students, which I’m trying to have sorted out for those 2 lessons for duty of care.

Designed for a purpose


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF536 | Posted on July 18, 2014

Here’s my first 2 sketches. It’s still school holidays here and I’m not a gym person and I wasn’t heading out to a restaurant on my last day of school holidays, so I headed up to my local Westfield shopping centre & sketched the foodcourt. I’ve added them to the flickr group page already. Not too sure if they’ve come out dark enough on the scan, so I’ll pop some of the notes here as well.  It’s not to scale or correct angles.

foodcourt sketch 1 eckert foodcourt sketch 2 eckert


  • Tables are fixed to the ground = less trip & navigation hazardl good for cleaners, trolleys, prams/strollers to get around. Chairs can be moved around as needed still.
  • Tables are single sized (ie 2 people, one either side) often grouped in pairs with a handspace between tables, and trolley space between paired tables. = catering for individuals, couples and small family groups to eat & go, not required for large booked groups like often needed in restuarants (so no need to move tables)
  • Food shops are along one side with 3 central, free standing ones.
  • clear walkways although it can get tricky in peak food times (eg lunchtime; particularly around KFC as it’s not on a corner with extra space to move around the line up)
  • yellow recycling bins & red general waste bins easily identifiable, placed near most support columns, out of the way but easy to access.
  • there is an escalator to one side underneath is a bench top with higher stools for individual seating.
  • high chairs are available and stored in easy to access spots but not in the walkway.
  • wide walkways around the outside of the food court, with on main flow through walkway to the escalators from the main entrance.

Intro to INF536 notes


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF536 | Posted on July 16, 2014

Notes from Emily Pilloton, Teaching Design for Change that I thought would be useful to remember

Retrieved from:

4.42 min in – screen notes

Project H Design

  1. Design through action.
  2. Design with, not for.
  3. Design systems, not stuff.
  4. Document, share, and measure.
  5. Start locally, and scale globally
  6. Build.

7.00 min – screen notes

Design for education

How: Build (#6)

What: Spaces, Materials, Experiences

9.43 min – screen notes

Redesigning Education

How: Design systems not stuff (#3)

What: services, markets, strategies

11.06 – screen notes

Design as education

How: design with, not for (#2)

What: Community-focused design curricula, and shop class renaissance


Design is education

“in order to do good, first you have to do something.”


Welcome to INF536


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in about me, INF536 | Posted on July 16, 2014

Just setting up the INF536 Blog!

A bit about my background for choosing this subject:

My high school is in the slow process of moving on from a library where there is a computer lab/laptop trolley access and (print) books as the main resources to something new. We’ve shifted the Year 11 & 12s who have a study period in the library for supervised study rather than randomly scattered across the school with no one allocated to help/supervise their learning in non-class times.

We’re not entirely sure what we’re moving towards exactly, but we know we want to move to the 21st century, one idea of which is e-books. I’m hoping to be able to attend the 2014 EduTech K-12 Library Managers Congress in June to help formulate our ideas for the library space. My principal and 2 other staff members came back with ideas from the 2013 EduTech with a wide range of ideas to consider so I’m hoping that I will be successful in my application for funding to attend on behalf of my high school in South Australia. (I originally wrote this post in April 2014 but wasn’t successful in my funding application for EduTech 2014 – hopefully next year.)

The library building itself was built in the mid 1970s, double storey, with the flexible planning unit in the upper level and the library on the bottom level (seemed to be all the rage at the time for schools in Adelaide that were built then). Over the Christmas break, we managed to get an update on the original burnt orange twist carpet to nice black and grey patterned carpet tiles and a paint job which married the red brick and light wood paneling together into a clean warm white wall space. We also had our orangey-red-tinged air-conditioning ducting painted the same white and enclosed a large section of it (where students’ were known to throw bags, books, pens and the like) to have the straw ceiling look no where near as bad as it had. Students were favourably impressed with the facelift when they returned for the 2014 school year.


This is what it looked like (with our hired moving crates just as we were starting to pack up as I forgot to take some before pics)

library original 3 library original 2


What it looked like soon after we had unpacked the 245 crates! Behind the new books stand is the new YR 11 & 12 study space.

Jan 2014_1 Jan 2014_3

Jan 2014_2Jan 2014_4

End of Term 1 2014 photos; we think this is what the main layout will be for a while. The brown bench under the green pinboard is going but hadn’t yet when I took the photos. I’m hoping to get the new books display and the empty bookshelf painted white in the next school holidays to tie in to the white theme. The Year 11& 12 study space is still rows of tables but having to fit up to 45 students in semester 1, and up to 80 students approximately in semester 2 in some lessons, limits what I can do with the furniture that I have.

IMG_0276[1] IMG_0274[1] IMG_0277[1] IMG_0273[1]

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