Assignment 6 Part B:Critical Reflection INF536

The commencement of this subject ‘Designing Spaces for Learning’ correlated with opportunities at my workspace to put my design thinking skills to the test.  My Leadership team at my school were noticing that I had valuable insights to share and I was ready to join them on a design process to design some new physical spaces in the school.

Personally I have learnt the value of observing environments and people to make better choices and decisions. I appreciate good service, functional spaces and the value of listening to users.

The nature of the Blog tasks encouraged me to realise the potential in changing the learning spaces to encourage collaboration, creativeness and newness.

Very early in the semester after reading Kuratko’s The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration: transforming organizational thinking.(2012) I began to recognise the value in collaboration, involving stakeholders in decision making  and developing a common language  abut design.  In preparation for initial talks about our school’s new Library design I developed a Flickr page where all stakeholders could add and observe images of Libraries they liked. I also helped transform and guide their thinking by sharing the principles from Kuratko (2012) and Brown (2009). What eventuated were  new, varied and many ideas! My library assistant even came up with a complete design and was included in the discussions with the leadership team and architect. This was a great example of participatory design (Woolner, 2009).

Following on from this positive experience I then began to frame my ideas for learning spaces in a more defined manner. My first attempt was to write a design brief for the new library using Kurtako’s (2012) recommendations as a guideline. The next design brief I wrote was for the entrance of our school (Blog task 3): for the first time ever I used Stanford d.school’s How might we?… Method.  This simple change in framing the design brief really allowed be to come up with new ideas and contemplate the unknowns (Hatchuel,2004).

I have come to realise, partly through recently completing the Case Study on changes that have happened in our digital learning space that I can use my understanding of the design process, design thinking approaches, creative culture and the importance of recognising the influences and interactions of learning pedagogy, space and technology (Wilson & Randall, 2012) to reflect on past practices and make better decisions during future design projects.

Digital design is an aspect of education where I can see a lot of potential for innovation. The different online spaces like  McIntosh’s (2010)‘Seven Spaces’ , Thornburg’s(2014)campfires, watering holes, caves, life spaces and then Runnquist’s(2011) mountain-top spaces  has helped me identify new ideas that are yet to be integrated in our developing online spaces.

I feel more motivated now to facilitate a creative culture in my educational organisation and beyond. I know I am able to facilitate conversations about creative culture after a successful creative coffee morning. I do notice sometimes that the ’Status Quo’ and pragmatism  in education organisations can challenge one’s ability to be creative when changing learning spaces, but I think that a better understanding of approaches like design thinking will help me contribute to transforming the future schools that I work in and have an impact on student’s learning.

References

Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organisations. Harper Business.

D.school, Stanford University, How might we?… Method Card: http://dschool.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/HMW-METHODCARD.pdf Accessed March 1, 2014

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.http://www.designsociety.org/download-publication/19760/c-k_theory_in_practice_lessons_from_industrial_applications

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation accerlation: transforming organisational thinking. Boston: Pearson.

McIntosh, E. (2010). Clicks and Bricks: How Schools Buiidlings Influence Future Practice and Technology Adoption. Educational Facility Planner, Volume 45, Issues 1 & 2.

Runnquist, A. (2011). Learning envrionments based on learning. Retrieved October 2014, from Vittrabloggen: http://vittrabloggen.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/vittra-telefonplan-environments-based-on-learning/

Thornburg, D. D. (2014, March). From the Campfire to the Holodeck, How Place Matters in Education. Retrieved October 2014, from Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx1cAQREVls

Wilson, G., & Randall, M. (2012). The implementation and evaluation of a new learning space: a pilot study. Research in Learning Technology, Vol.20.

Woolner, P. (2009). Building schools for the future through participatory design process: exploring the issues and investigating ways forward. BERA 2009. Manchester.

Reflections on the evolution of a learning space.

I recently sat down with the Network Engineer from the school I work at to discuss the case study for Assignment 6. For five years now we have worked as part of the same team; we have shared ideas, helped solve problems (he usually solves more problems for me than I do for him), encouraged each other, provided feedback, learned new things and had fun together along the way. It has become evident too to surround ourselves with other like minded and entrepreneurial  members of our schools community (mainly teaching staff). The Leadership team have also begun to recognise the value of collaboration in the design process.We don’t often though put time aside just to reflect on the development of our learning spaces; we did for an hour a few days ago and it was ‘gold’.

The school’s digital learning environment has been developing for over ten years now. I have worked at the school for five years but the Network Engineer has been there right from the beginning of this evolution. He has an IT background and qualifications, but after working in an educational environment for so long he has a very good insight into learning, learning environments, the integration of technology and  it’s users.

The  following are my notes from our discussion. The names of the LMS have been changed for the purpose of this case study.

It seems that we have done a  a bit of a full cycle in the development of our Learning Management System (LMS).  Back in 2003 the school’s first digital environment was just a static website that the IT team developed.  A need was identified by the Network Engineer (together with the Leadership team) in 2004 to develop a digital platform to deliver information to the school community. The Network Engineer (along with the IT team) wanted to spread the workload of uploading information onto the site and also more staff wanted to use the environment. A number  of options were considered for this first intranet. The educational organisation that directs the school’s operations had no input into the choices that was made for the original LMS.

The first edition of ‘Remodel’ was considered in 2004, but it was evaluated as being too hard to use and cumbersome. Eventually the IT and Leadership teams choose ‘CommonPlace’ because was manageable, stable, easy to maintain, cheap and effective in delivering information. ‘CommonPlace’ also suited the growth factors of the school: the developers wanted to be able to add subject tabs and work-spaces.  ‘CommonPlace’  does include Web 2.0 tools like Blogs, Wikis and Threaded Discussion Forums but these are not easy to set up. When I joined the staff of this team( 2010) I had been using Web 2.0 tools successfully in online study,saw value in them and wanted to integrate them into the teaching and learning of the school community. A couple of staff were already doing this but most had not and were hesitant to do so.  The Network Engineer made a surprising comment that he doesn’t really like Web 2.0 tools (maybe as ‘CommonPlace presented them) – that they are messy : is this the nature of learning  and knowledge construction though, a little chaotic?

The Library team and I developed our Library webpage and linked it on to the LMS; this is an ongoing project where I feel we have not met our potential and it is a future goal to improve the Library digital space.

Over 2012 and 2013 a need for a more online classroom environment has been identified.  Some alternative LMS ‘Alive’ and ‘iSpace’ were added as links on ‘CommonPlace’. ‘Alive’ was mandated by the educational organisation. After discussion amongst the IT team, leadership and ICLT committee it was decided that we didn’t want to use ‘Alive’ because it was hard to use, the organisation of the site wasn’t satisfactory and it was better suited to Primary schools. The educational organisation have also ceased to encourage ‘Alive’s’ use, but it remains as a  unused link on the LMS as mandated by the educational organisation.  ‘iSpace’ too was mandated with the direction of the educational organisation, but it has had limited use too. So currently on ‘CommonPlace’  there sits a number of links and choices of alternative LMS that aren’t really being used. The past practice was to add the links early in the prototyping process and then train people to use them (access was sometimes limited to certain staff teams and students); this practice did not prove successful with ‘Alive’ and ‘iSpace’ learning spaces.

A lack of time for training, testing, and  a common language have been identified as barriers to the development of this learning environment. There is a huge variance too amongst staff (and students’) skills, attitudes and motivation.

However,this year motivations have become  more consistency high and attitudes are positive  in our school community to make our own choice and develop a online learning environment that works in with, directs and compliments the high quality teaching and learning that is happening in the classrooms.  We have come back to the LMS ‘Remodel’ which itself has been through developments and numerous editions. A link to ‘Remodel’ has not been placed on ‘CommonPlace’; instead select teachers have approached the IT team or been approached to use  ‘Remodel’ as a digital learning environment to complement and facilitate their good teaching and learning pedagogy and practice. Leadership teams have also been a positive driver in this focus and process.  ‘Remodel’ has been trialed and tested in a controlled but inclusive and participatory manner. This design process has been a very good example of ‘participatory design’ as it has been human-centred (Sanders, E., 2007).

Many positive aspects of this latest edition of ‘Remodel’ have been identified, like the opportunities and ease to allow for; personalisation, feedback, sequencing of learning activities, multimedia, engagement of students. These positive aspects of ‘Remodel’ match John Hattie’s principles of learning (2013).

The Network and Engineer and I also spent some time discussing the nature of  the ‘Status Quo’  approach versus ‘Experimental Spaces’.  ‘CommomPlace’ was initially chosen because it fitted with the way that the school was organised; departmentalised and structured. Attempts to use technology differently or organise learning environments in transdisciplinary ways is prevented by roadblocks like assessment strategies, timetabling,  pragmatic attitudes. It is through the efforts of the Network Engineer, the IT team and leading teachers that we are slowing challenging some of these ‘Status Quo’ assumptions.

At the end of this discussion we concluded that technology is not necessarily making our life easier as educators.We are a one to one laptop school and both the network Engineer and I had witnessed a culture where the students expect to use their laptop every day and nearly every lesson. Parents expect that the laptop is used too. Teachers feel an obligation to use the laptops  too; sometimes it seems that they are used too much. A need for more  handwriting and reading physical books is being noticed. Technology and digital learning environments can however greatly enhance and facilitate good teaching practice. We have valued being able to customise our digital learning spaces and have tried to match them to our user needs. The current design process of creating a better learning environment with ‘Remodel’ has benefited from the current trialing and testing phase and practice.

We have come  to appreciate the value of a participatory approach and team work in designing new spaces at our school and I look forward to seeing it continue and improve.

References

  • Hattie, J & Yates G. C. R. (2013). Visible learning and the science of how we learn. Routledge.

 

 

 

 

Blog task 3 -Design Brief – Entrance of a School

 

Background Information: The main entrance area of the school includes the administration, staff area and Library buildings. There is minimal gardens and seating area. It fronts the only car park and bus bay area. All the administration, staff area and Library buildings are scheduled for redevelopment over the next two years. We are not limited in the manner of which the original buildings are used or not used and the position of the buildings is up for rearrangement – new concepts for the purpose and design of this area can and should be considered, there is an opportunity to do something different.

Constraints: Surrounding classroom buildings, existing car park, bus bay requirements and limited monetary funds (as determined by management).

Challenge: To redesign the entrance of the school and create an environment that provides a connection point to home, a welcoming environment and a social meeting place for students (and staff).

POV (Point of View): In meeting this challenge we need to take a human-centred approach, and consider how students and staff interact with each other out of class time (and during lessons).

Pillars of the design: These project pillars are the focus points for this design (Kuratko, Goldsworthy, & Hornsby, 2012) –

Welcoming and inviting Social spaces Student to student/student to staff/ staff to staff relations Flourishing and Friendly community Supervision and safety

 

For this new entrance area, “How Might We (HMW)….” (D.School, 2012)

Amp up the good: HMW develop an area like the Library is well used in its existing form by students before school to meet, complete school work, gain assistance by the staff, print, and have access to free tutoring before and after school. A Library that allows for these behaviours needs to be included in this educational space. As staff walk past the waiting area near the car park, they can be aware of how many students are still waiting for their parents to come and pick them up.

Remove the bad: HMW increase limited seating areas outside the buildings. The existing seating is also cold in the cooler months, with the wind moving freely through it. There is not enough room for storage of bags. Students also have limited undercover areas to wait for the buses and parents at pick-up. The Library where many students congregate before and after school is not right near the car park.

Explore the opposite: HMW design this area could be a meeting area where students and staff greet each other, choose to sit and prepare for the day ahead or debrief after the day. It has spaces for people to sit. It is seen as the place to be. Parents can find their children easily and everyone feels welcome. Staff are there as resources.

Explore the assumption; HMW know what students want to meet at the front of the school? What do they want to do there? What sort of resources are we going to provide? How is the connection to home life made?

Go after adjectives: HMW make the area welcoming, social, sheltering, warm, resourceful, motivating, good for learning and safe.

ID unexpected resources: HMW create a space where students can be easily supervised, after school activities can be facilitated and more interactions between the staff and greater community can take place. The students can form an ownership of the space.

Create an analogy from the need of context: HMW form a space that makes all students feel like it’s a second home or an environment where they feel supported to learn and get ready to spread their wings into the wider world.

POV versus the challenge: HMW encourage the adolescent students to use this space and interact with each other. What does the space need to make it seem welcoming, social but still focused on encouraging learning.

Challenge the status quo: HMW engage adolescent students who don’t initiate positive interactions with staff and make them want to socialise in the school environment.

Breaking the POV into pieces: HMW provide enough room for the students who need to wait for parents and get onto buses. HMW connect the Library, Admin, staff and transport areas..

Prototypes:

  • Both the Library and Admin buildings can be refurbished or rebuilt where they are, more undercover areas could be built to house student before and after school.
  • The Library could be shifted to the front near the car park and good signage will guide the community to the admin building. The Library will be the gateway to the school. A large undercover area will be out the front. More seating will surround this main community area.
  • Extend the Library and build its role as a community hub (place it at the front of the school), connect it to the staff areas.
  • Build a large undercover area including a community café, wellness centre including chaplain, senior hub

References:

D.school, Stanford University, How might we?… Method Card: http://dschool.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/HMW-METHODCARD.pdf Accessed March 1, 2014

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson.https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/kuratko-d1.pdf

Comments:

I have made a comment on these other design briefs

Jerry’s

Bec’s

Ronnie’s

 

My Design Brief for a new Library

Here is the design brief I created for the our first meeting with the architect. My very creative and visual Library Assistant drew up a plan to accompany it ( will scan and upload with permission later). It was my second ever design brief I had written. I kept it short ( one page) . I found Kurato, Goldsworthy and Hornsby’s(2012) The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking very helpful and I tried to put their theories in use.

******** Library Design Brief – Introductory and First

Challenge:

To build a Library that provides a central learning and social space, as well as an information and technology services hub for the whole school community. It needs to offer an environment that is different to the classroom.

The people in our community;

Need to want to come to the Library, feel motivated to learn and be creative in the environment and have the flexibility to learn collaboratively and/or independently. The Library and Tech teams want to provide the best service we can to all the school community and have a dynamic and functional working environment.

Pillars of our design brief

Attractive, light filled and modern environment Service and Access Collaborative and creative learning Fun Flexibility Workspace Choice for people

 

Description:

The Library needs to have the capacity to seat up to 400 people in total. There will be a “café vibe” to the environment and a high technology presence.

The main area of the Library will be able to house up to 200 students in a seating area that’s flexibility encourages collaborative behaviours and yet caters for differing learning styles. This main area that will be highly used before and after school and at lunchtime needing to allow for good visibility and be a light filled space. Presentation booths, fish tank spaces (10?)and some quiet “cubby hole spaces” need to included. The fish tank spaces could be used for Makerspaces and gaming on different occasions or student and staff meetings. During class times multiple classes would come in and allow their students to work in a way that encourages their own learning style and choices.  Books will be housed on wall shelving (mostly). A lot of display spaces for front-facing books and promotion will be included. The main level will also include a café near the entrance incorporating a reading/magazine lounge.

Workspaces and the Service centre will also be included on this main level. Along the length of the building there would be a tech team workroom, library team workroom, shared tea/kitchen room and staff toilets. These workrooms will have one way glass overlooking two long service/ circulation desks.

There needs to be a performance, large group seating space (Year level) or piazza/forum space. This could be in the form of an oversized staircase that acts as a transition between the different levels of the Library and would be used as an informal seating area at other times.

On the upper level of the Library there will be a senior hub, more ‘quiet space seating’, production and presentation spaces and additional fish tank spaces with a link to the admin building.

Would love to hear your feedback!

Reference:

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson.https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/kuratko-d1.pdf

 

Transforming organisational thinking – a practical application

This week involved the first formal meeting to plan for a new Library at the school I work at as the teacher-librarian. Over the last month the major stakeholders had collated images collaboratively using  a Flickr album and have had many informal discussions. I knew my learning in this subject was going to help with this designing project and I was really glad to start putting the theory into practice.

After reading Kurato, Goldsworthy and Hornsby’s (2012) The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration: transforming organizational thinking, I summarised the important points and put them in an email to the other staff . Part of the reason what to digest and synthesise my thinking and also to explain my strategies in thinking about our design. Here’s what I wrote

Hello All,

I have attached some reading about The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration: transforming organisational thinking (after a discussion with ****** and ****** today ). It is very relevant, I think to the designing and planning we are currently involved in ( and hopefully will continue to do so as educators and managers of learning spaces). It made me think about how we can approach the design process. The main points I took away were (pg 104 – 115):
*designing a product or service that is worthwhile will drive innovation, the more innovation we generate, the more entrepreneurial we can be.
*the importance to apply creativity and be proactive
*we need to use our constraints as a source of inspiration
In developing our design brief
*we need to be inspired by a problem to solve or an opportunity to seize 
*focus on the main idea we have  – a Library that provides tech and information services and offers an environment that is different to the classrooms  (?!!), not ourselves.
*in a collaborative approach to designing the space look for consistent answers and insights.
*develop a clear vision and then identify the project pillars that hold up that vision (especially in a design brief).
 
This presentation by IDEO’s Tim Brown was also an interesting description of how design thinking is different to design.
His focus was
*less on the object and more on the design thinking as an approach to solving problems
*start with the humans
*the dramatic changes happening in technology (and education) are providing opportunities for new choices and existing solutions are becoming obsolete.
*the question that we are trying to answer or the solution we are seeking needs to be used to create the design brief.
 So, before our meeting on Thursday and throughout our designing and planning of these new learning and work spaces I am going to take these points into consideration and use them as guidelines. I hope this all makes some sense. I am still trying to synthesize all this information, and it probably isn’t all new to you but I think it will help us.
It was quietly but positively received. I find in educational settings in the busyness of the tasks teachers and leadership complete all day they don’t always pay attention to these big ideas and need time set aside  to discuss and learn about the thinking that will transform our learning and teaching.
References
Brown,T. (2009). Designers- think big TED http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_brown_urges_designers_to_think_big
 Accessed  18.7.14
Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson.https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/kuratko-d1.pdf