INF536 Critical Reflection Part B of Assessment 6


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF536, required blog tasks | Posted on October 13, 2014

Reflecting on my learning journey through INF536 Designing Spaces for Learning, I have changed for the better. When I began this subject, I was anticipating learning about physical space design for learning only. While I have learnt a lot about this, including focusing my Case Study on the physical design of a Senior Study Area, I have also begun to consider the on-line learning experience as an aspect of my teaching that needs to be considered. This has not yet been explored in detail as I have had little input in the selection and creation of such spaces for my school at this stage. However, I did have a brief play in google docs for the immersion task with Ngaire, Megan & Jo. This is an area I’d like to explore further if I have the permission of the school/education department to do so (perceived privacy issues).

The physical spaces that I have now begun to use, include the breakout space concept as outlined in an earlier blog post. The idea of multiple spaces (Dovey & Fisher, 2014; JISC, 2006; Thornburg, 2007) within the classroom area (or nearby) was eye-opening and gave me the confidence to try implementing this idea in my own teaching. I have also begun to expand my thinking about space in the library and learning opportunities. I would not have done observations in detail like the immersion task required before. I would have just done a more cursory viewing and then changed spaces to attempt to improve what I thought needed solving; sometimes without the consultation of the other main stakeholders, the students. While I still may not ask them what they think they want, I at least attempt to consider things from their viewpoint, sit in their chairs to see what the space looks like from their point of view, not just my circulation desk/ office desk spaces. I am aware of literature behind some of the concepts that are recommending the multiple spaces and I can argue with staff and the administration about the need for the alternate spaces; the need to consider acoustic noise and reduction (Treasure, 2012).

I’ve begun to think like a designer, although I’m still grappling with the understanding of Concept-Knowledge theory. That would have to be the hardest reading I encountered within INF536. Having read it, though, has helped my understanding of why the prototyping and ideation should be occuring. With some of the other readings (Hatchuel et al., 2004; Melles, 2010; Simon, 1973)  gave me a better idea of what design thinking is, and why I should start thinking like this.

Reinforcing the immersion idea, I had the following blog post on shadowing students come through my email list today and in a way, I think that it encourages the contemplating of the classroom design, and part of that includes the lesson & curriculum, and how it is structured. Good design for learning doesn’t just include the physical space; it includes lesson planning, digital materials (as required for the topic), acoustics, lighting, curriculum and the group dynamics and expectations of students in regard to learning AND it doesn’t always need to be in a traditional classroom.



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

Eckert, L. (2014, September 21). The Design of Education – notes. Retrieved from

Hatchuel, A., Le Masson, P., & Weil, B. (2004). CK theory in practice: lessons from industrial applications. In Proceedings of DESIGN 2004, the 8th International Design Conference. Dubrovnik, Croatia. Retrieved from

JISC. (2006, March 16). Designing Learning Spaces. Retrieved from

Melles, G. (2010). Curriculum Design Thinking: A New Name for Old Ways of Thinking and Practice? In Proceedings of the DTRS8 Conference (pp. 299–308). Sydney. Retrieved from

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

Thornburg, D. (2007). Campfires in cyberspace: Primordial metaphors for learning in the 21st Century. Thornburg Center for Professional Development. Retrieved from

Treasure, J. (2012). Why architects need to use their ears. Retrieved from

Wiggins, G. (2014, October 10). A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days – a sobering lesson learned. Retrieved from

student attitudes to study


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF536 | Posted on October 10, 2014

Students often appeared to have a disinterest in completing their work to pass their SACE.

Students were often seen socialising, often talking of weekend activities (usually inappropriate conversation for the school setting) or of relationships (also in terms that were not appropriate for the school setting), playing cards and games on devices, movies and television episodes not related to school work were also viewed.

Students often indicated that staff would help them get through even though they had not put in the effort early enough to achieve the grades that students were potentially capable of. This may be due to the habit of teachers rescuing students and passing students with late submitted work that has been a culture within the school. It is also recognised that South Australia is particularly strong in this from some of the analysis of NAPLAN results. This was mentioned as coming from a research paper by the principal of the school. The article has not been re-located to reference here.

Some of this behaviour could be explained by the subject choices that students had made. Some students were completing practical based subjects like Woodwork & Metalwork and had little work that required the use of the senior study area. Research Project being the main subject needing the library.

Senior student concerns


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF536 | Posted on October 10, 2014

Previous years (prior to 2014), senior students have been allowed to work wherever they chose within the school without direct supervision.There was often a designated space that students were encouraged to work in. This space had been moved from year to year for a number of reasons. One of the reasons was the operational needs of the school. Another was the condition that the space was often left in, usually a mess for the cleaners to clean up. The space was often vandalised and equipment that was located in the space, particularly computers and other IT related equipment, was often damaged so that other students could not use the equipment. Students also had access to a wet area for tea & coffee etc however, little care was taken to clean the area and keep it tidy. Often food was ground into the carpet or squashed into the furniture.

This lead to a number of concerns expressed by staff. It was decided that from 2014, students would be supervised to minimise the damage and mess that was being left by students.

South Australian Senior Secondary Patterns


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF536 | Posted on October 6, 2014

 Year 11 & 12 in South Australian schools

In South Australia, Year 11 & 12 (final years of secondary school) has the following expectations. Many schools complete the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) which starts in Year 10 with a compulsory subject. Some schools complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma.


There are 4 compulsory subjects which are completed over Year 10-12. These subjects must be completed at a C grade or better to achieve the SACE certificate. Each semester is worth 10 credits, with full year subjects worth 20 credits. Typically year 12 students complete/start Research Project in semester 1 and study 3 or 4 other subjects, depending on VET (Vocational Education & Training) credits, and if they are on a university pathway.

Stage 1 is Year 11 and Stage 2 is Year 12.

About the SACE gives a brief overview of the expectations.

Yr 10 

Personal Learning Plan is part of the SACE which has students looking at future possibilities in the work of work and how they may get there. It is to assist students in making appropriate subject choices for Year 11 & 12 for future possible pathways.

Yr 11 & 12

Typically the compulsory 2 semesters of English, 1 semester of Mathematics are completed at Year 11 to ensure that they are completed to the minimum C grade (C- grade at Year 12) standard required.

Yr 12

Research Project is a compulsory one semester subject.

The Research Project is a compulsory subject, which most students undertake in Year 12. It’s worth 10 credits, and you need to achieve a C- grade or higher to gain the SACE.

The Research Project gives you a chance to explore something you are interested in, in-depth. It could be a scientific study, an art project, a community-based project, a historical investigation, or any number of other options.

It gives you a chance to use your creativity and initiative while developing research, project management, analysis and evaluation skills, which are important for work and further study.

There are two types of Research Project you can choose:

  • Research Project A – your external assessment can be presented in a variety of ways, such as a PowerPoint presentation or short film
  • Research Project B – your external assessment must be a written report, and you can use your final grade in Research Project B as part of your Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

Stage 2. (n.d.). Retrieved October 5, 2014, from       

Typically if no VET subjects are being completed by students, Year 11s complete 6 subjects per semester and Year 12s complete 4 or 5 subjects in first semester and 3 subjects in second semester. These subjects include the compulsory subjects.

The school pattern for case study

This school uses SACE for Year 11 & 12 not IB

The case study school uses a 7 subject timetable with 4 lessons a week across the whole school. One line is early dismissal or study line for all Year 11 & 12 students. This time allows teachers to potentially have catch up lessons with students to reinforce concepts, complete assessment tasks, or have students complete compulsory subjects which they have not yet passed.

In second semester some Year 11s are offered Research Project on this line to allow them a head start for Year 12 if they are intending a university pathway.

Year 11s typically undertake 6 subjects for both semesters.

Year 12s usually  complete 3 full year subjects if not looking at a university pathway or 4 full year subjects if doing a university pathway. This is in addition to Research Project in semester 1, with some students being withdrawn in Semester 1 and being re-enrolled in semester 2 to ensure that all Year 12 students complete Research Project at the minimum C- standard. This means that most Year 12 students have 2 or 3 compulsory study lines, depending on after school pathway. There is the early dismissal or optional study line on top of these 2 to 3 study lines.

VET students in Year 11 and/or Year 12 are withdrawn from one or two subjects (non-compulsories) depending on how many courses that they are completing. These students are then given study lines instead. VET students are often out of school for one day a week completing their qualifications. This additional study line/s are intended to allow students to complete work relating to either their VET course or their school subjects that they may have missed due to the VET day that they are out of school.

Some Year 12 students may have up to 4 study lines, some Year 11 students may have 2 or 3 study lines.


Personal Learning Place Home Page. (n.d.). Retrieved October 5, 2014, from

SACE Board of SA. (n.d.). About the SACE. Retrieved October 5, 2014, from

Stage 2. (n.d.). Retrieved October 5, 2014, from

case development – drafting #2 images


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF536 | Posted on October 2, 2014

Images of layouts during Term 1 – 3 2014 of Senior Study Area (SSA). All but #1 were taken from next to the circulation desk where the supervisor was often placed for study lessons. From Layout #3 onwards the new books display and/or bookcase was moved from along the dividing carpet line (solid light gray carpet). Layout #2 originally had the new books display where the bookcase is and the bookcase was in front of the first row of tables, blocking view of the first rows of students from the circulation desk.

The Senior Study Break Out stayed the same throughout the year. Students were able to move some small ottomans around the area but these were not always located there. The long green ottoman, currently next to the table is usually located under the window.

Senior break out labelled

Senior Study layout 1

Senior Study Layout #1

Senior Study layout 2

Senior Study Layout #2

Senior Study Layout #3

Senior Study Layout #3

Senior Study Layout #4

Senior Study Layout #4

Senior Study Layout #5

Senior Study Layout #5

Senior Study Layout #6

Senior Study Layout #6

Layout #6 is the current layout which is under trial as it was only set up after parent teacher interview night (last Thursday of Term 3). The idea is to offer a variety of spaces for students, groups, quiet study (along wall and next to window) with some table rows for the students who prefer this option.


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