Observation – entering our Library

A visitor is given no directional signage to reception or anywhere else from the gate on the main driveway. There is no path through the “walk” gate and between the gateway and the edge of the library is slushy at this time of the year. I pass a large glass door before I reach the “main” entrance. It has two doors, and it is not clear which door is the one that opens. Parent visitor arrived during my observations and kept pushing the wrong door (and it’s a pull door).

 

Observations on the way to work

Observations on the way to work

 

The entry foyer is in many ways dead space. Junior students, who should enter with their teacher during class time, often wait here out of the weather – which blocks the entry. Sometimes it is a place for finishing lunch as the current policy is no food. Is it welcoming?

Next entry space fronts the visitor with lap top charging lockers, and a book display.

The path to the “Reading” area is obvious, warm and inviting.

The “Reference” area has a less obvious a pathway.

A welcoming face at the circulation desk would be nice addition, but staffing circumstances make that difficult to achieve.

Potential family tour groups are brought through another door, which brings them straight into the “Reading” area;  first impression is warm, welcoming and easy to navigate.

Limited options for collaborative space in reference end; no individual options in reading area.

Information screens generally appropriately sited except for 24 hour news screen.

Where most traffic flow goes

Where most traffic flow goes

 

Further changes to our school library

On Friday, I approached the workmen about moving shelves for me. This was greeted with “Not again!” Then they came and had a look, and within 2 hours all the shifting was done. Still not quite sure about what we call the “Reference” area but it will evolve as different groups offer feedback. The VCE Drama class working in period 1 were complimentary, so that’s a start.

I have been inspired by Matt Ives to film a walk through – I don’t think I have as steady a hand, but it will give you an impression of the space and the improved openness. Any comments will be very welcome.

The film clip can be found here: Reorganisation stage 1 2014.

The entry foyer is an anomaly – what can I actually put in there – it is out of sight?

The laptop charging lockers are an eyesore and get very little use. I am hoping to get rid of some of them asap.

Once my 3D printers and 3Doodler pens arrive, I need to put a maker space where the magazine racks are because that’s where the power point is!

Onwards and upwards.

Module 1.2

Why does design matter?

Design affects all aspects of an organisation in ways that are both seen and clearly understood, and also unseen, unclear and pervasive. It can be the latter that has the greatest impact on the people who work in an organisation, those who visit it, or those who might walk past on the street.

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

A design process is needed to ensure that the end result really does fulfil a need, ideally to the best extent possible. Design thinking charges us with being given the white pages of history on which to create beauty for the future (Starck, 2007). It entails needfinding, brainstorming and prototyping preferably in multidisciplinary teams (Seidel & Fixson, 2013, pp. 19-21) . Without interdisciplinary teams the hope of enriching a human experience is seriously challenged (Buchanan, 1992, p. 6).

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

The aim of utilising a design thinking process for learning space development is to build the learning capacity of students and enhance the teaching practitioner’s role. Design thinking is strategic because it unleashes the disruptive, game changing potential that is latent in everything (Brown, 2009, p. 7).

References

Brown, T. (2009).   Change by Design How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires   Innovation. New York: Harper Collins.

Buchanan, R.   (1992). Wicked Problems in Design Thinking. Design Issues Vol 8 No 2,   5-21.

Seidel, V., &   Fixson, S. (2013). Adopting Design Thinking In Novice Multidisciplinary   Teams: The Application ans Limits of Design Methods and Reflexive Practices. Journal   Of Product Innovation Management, 30, 19-33.

Starck, P. (2007,   March). Design and Destiny. Philippe Starck Thinks Deep On Design.   Retrieved July 5, 2014, from http://www.ted.com/talks/philippe_starck_thinks_deep_on_design

 

 

Using a Design Process to Effect a Change

The Senior Campus “Reference area” (see left of map below) is not serving the purpose of enhancing learning. It needs to cater for multiple groups ranging from Year 6 (11 year olds) to Year 12 (18 year olds) simultaneously in any school day. It is currently very traditional in layout, partly due to elderly infrastructure.

Floor Plan c.2011

The challenges of design in all its breadth are outlined in the introductory video for this course (MacIntosh, 2014):

The joys of considering future possibilities allows a broad range of potentially transformational divergent thinking (Brown, 2009) in stark contrast to the frustrations of the real-world limitations.

The space highlighted in this post is far too small for current needs, and the building was constructed well before the Internet. Capacity to fulfil current needs falls well short of requirements.

Future needs for such a space at our school have already been considered here: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/msimkin/2014/07/30/2013-submission-to-the-strategic-planning-architect-for-the-next-series-of-capital-planning/ .

An immediate need arises due to recent and impending changes to resource provision. These are summarised in the image below:

 
The issues surrounding our Reference space.

 

 

The issues surrounding our Reference space.

The challenge posed in Design and Destiny is to raise the angle at which the world is viewed, and use the resulting observations to create beauty within reason and invent a new story (Starck, 2007).  Most working in this area acknowledge multidisciplinary teams as providing the best outcomes, both in terms of the ideation process, but also in terms of producing an innovative result that is collectively owned and for which all are responsible (Brown, 2009, p. 28) . Such development also allows for greater divergence in the brainstorming phase (Seidel & Fixson, 2013, p. 21).

The process for changing this space commenced with a consideration of the various needs presented in relation to the physical constraints and in terms of improving teaching and learning outcomes. The brainstorming identified a number of potential solutions and there is the potential for immediate improvement, as well as a more futuristic scenario in the result envisaged.

As with any transformation that requires physical relocation of objects, the importance of working through a design process is critical for three reasons:

  1. Allowing for full consideration of the needs and the effects of the possible solutions
  2. Moving heavy furniture or removing fixtures involves other  people’s time
  3. Educational budgets are always limited

When some administrators are questioning the need to have a school library in the future, success is critical.

The changes:

Move most of the Reference books either into general non-fiction or onto different shelving. Move the current Reference shelving to the Reading Area to house Biography.  This will open up the floor space in the reference area and add display space to the reading area, which making Biographies easier to find. Spinners currently housing Biographies to be dotted through the Reference space and contain encyclopedias. Status – in train and awaiting workmen.

Purchase some alternative seating to allow for different groupings. Status – commenced with purchase of 6 “ghost stools” from Aldi.

Move current table layout into a variety of layouts across the wider space. Status – awaiting workmen.

Set up mini maker space near available power point – where the magazines are now sited. Status – as above.

References

Brown, T. (2009). Change by Design How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. New York: Harper Collins.

MacIntosh, E. (2014, July 2014). Introduction To Designing Spaces For Learning. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf0yI6zPvnA

Seidel, V., & Fixson, S. (2013). Adopting Design Thinking In Novice Multidisciplinary Teams: The Application and Limits of Design Methods and Reflexive Practices. Journal Of Product Innovation Management, 30, 19-33.

Starck, P. (2007, March). Design and Destiny. Philippe Starck Thinks Deep On Design. Retrieved July 5, 2014, from http://www.ted.com/talks/philippe_starck_thinks_deep_on_design

I have added a comment to

  1. Matt’s blog at http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/mattives/2014/07/29/designing-spaces-for-learning/#comment-17
  2. Greg’s blog at http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/leadinglearning/2014/07/29/that-problem-space/#comment-15
  3. Yvette’s blog at http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/yvette/2014/07/30/assessment-1/#comment-2

 

 

 

2013 Submission to the strategic planning architect for the next series of capital planning.

With great excitement I responded to the Principal’s request to make contact with the architect and indicate the Information Services needs for the future.

This is what I wrote (minus a few specific details):

October 2013

It is very difficult to predict the exact nature of school libraries in the future.  Even in as short a time frame as five to ten years, it is hard to know what types of resources will be required. While books may not be part of the landscape, other educational resources will replace them. Certain functions will, therefore, be ongoing, and that is the premise on which I have based this outline.

Geographically, the ideal location for an Information Services centre is central for ease of access for all the learning community. The location of the current libraries on both campuses is therefore less than ideal.  At the Senior Campus, it will be even worse from the middle of 2014, when the MYPEC opens.

Philosophically a school library underpins the curriculum of all year levels, and should cater to their diverse needs in the broadest sense. Diverse uses are currently made of both libraries, and this will (and should) be an underlying premise for future planning.

Functional requirements:

A school library in an academically focussed college such as ours needs to cater for all students and teachers serviced by the campus. There are multiple demands, some of which are conflicting. As an example of such divergence, places where students can work quietly for sustained reading or studying, and places where lively educational debate can occur.

To this end a renewed Alexandra Library building would need to:

  • Cater for students from Year 6 to Year 12.
  • Cater for individuals, as well as potentially simultaneous classes of up to 25 students in size.
  • Allow line of sight supervision from offices, preferably throughout the entire building
  • Provide flexible spaces for most of the building
  • Be fully cabled to allow the best power and technology solutions for the time
  • Support learning in all its manifestations as well as streamline work flow for those functioning within the spaces.

See: La Marca, S: Rethink!: Ideas for Inspiring School Library Design, School Library Association for Victoria, Melbourne, 2007

http://books.google.com.au/books/about/Rethink.html?id=qVscGgAACAAJ&redir_esc=y

and the Raeco Lookbook which can be downloaded free here: http://www.raeco.com.au/custompage.aspx?custompage=Lookbook

Space requirements:

Large spaces:

  • With seating and tables to suit whole classes of up to 25 students (formal) engaged in class type activities and need the same provision as classrooms, but with added access to shared resources that single classrooms cannot accommodate
  • With comfortable furniture adaptable to whole class silent sustained reading, and individual leisure reading at recess and lunchtime
  • Equipped as a “maker space” fitted out with tables large enough to construct robotics and the like and fitted out with storage to contain the products and parts required.

See:

http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/sylvia-martinez-and-maker-movement.html

Medium spaces:

  • For medium sized classes of either type described above.
  • For engaging in round table debating
  • For teleconferencing; professional learning activities and tutorials
  • Careers advice and research – requiring a combination of formal and informal space with storage, display space, connectivity and adjoining staff office (separate external door an advantage)
  • Office space for Library services (requiring neat and tidy storage, enabling workflow, with reachable sections for different types of resources). This needs to allow for collaborative meetings between teacher-librarian and teachers, either within the office or in a separate meeting room.
  • An AV/ recording space sound proof for  podcasting, vodcasting, and film production
  • A news room (soundproof) to run ABC News24 and allow reading of current affairs magazines and digital news. Many schools have this set up as a space where coffee can be enjoyed as part of the process.

See: Learning for the future: developing information services in schools (Second edition) Australian School Library Association and Australian Library and Information Association, 2001 This publication provides a detailed outline of space requirements for traditional library type activities on page 45:

        Enrolment    301-400 (Senior Campus) 378 square metres minimum

This is further broken down into size allocations for various uses.  I can provide further details if that would be helpful.

Smaller spaces:

  • Other staff offices disbursed throughout the entire space for ease of supervision. Depending on the envisaged use of the space this would include the IT Specialist Teacher office and could include the Head of Senior Years/Head of Year 12
  • Several Cubicles fitted out for  online testing but big enough to be used as study carrels if required for example by students undertaking  Distance Ed &  Languages Other Than English

Other Important considerations:

  1. Computers:  There will continue to be a need for high end computers for teachers and students to use for tasks that require either larger screens or significant RAM.  There would need to be enough overall to meet the needs of more than one class of students at a time and also to cater for drop in printing, or polishing of work, or students who have issues with their individual device.
  2. Shelving and furniture in the main body of the building should allow for easy mobility to cater for different or changing needs.

Award winning school libraries include:

Bialik College http://www.bialik.vic.edu.au/facilities/libraries/

429 Auburn Road
East Hawthorn, Victoria, 3123

Aquinas College http://www.aquinas.vic.edu.au/web/index.cfm?pid=About.Facilities#arc

46 Great Ryrie St
Ringwood, Victoria, 3134

These are both very different in appearance but provide an interesting perspective on possibilities.

A renewed Handbury Library building would need to:

  • Cater for students from ELC to Year 5.
  • Cater for individuals, as well as potentially classes of up to 25 students in size. A re-envisioned programme may allow for simultaneous classes with two class teachers and one teacher-librarian functioning in the same space.
  • Allow line of sight supervision from a lockable office
  • Provide flexible spaces for most of the building
  • Be fully cabled to allow the best power and technology solutions for the time
  • Support learning in all its manifestations as well as streamline work flow for those functioning within the spaces.

Space requirements:

Large spaces:

  • With seating and tables to suit whole classes of up to 25 students (formal) engaged in class type activities and need the same provision as classrooms, but with added access to shared resources that single classrooms cannot accommodate
  • With comfortable furniture adaptable to whole class silent sustained reading, and individual leisure reading at recess and lunchtime
  • Equipped as a “maker space” fitted out with tables large enough to construct robotics and the like and fitted out with storage to contain the products and parts required.  This cloud be done in the main body of the library if lockable storage solutions were provided
  • A number of high end desk top computers (assuming all students have an individual device of some sort in their hands) for reasons outlined above. There would be less demand for these at the Junior Campus.

Medium space:

  • Office space for Library services (requiring neat and tidy storage, enabling workflow, with reachable sections for different types of resources). This needs to allow for collaborative meetings between teacher-librarian and teachers, either within the office or in a separate meeting room.
  • An AV/ recording space sound proof for  podcasting, vodcasting, and film production

See: Learning for the future: developing information services in schools (Second edition) Australian School Library Association and Australian Library and Information Association, 2001 This publication provides a detailed outline of space requirements for traditional library type activities on page 45:

        Enrolment 101-200 (Junior Campus) 156 square metres minimum

This is further broken down into size allocations for various uses.

I can provide further details and information if that would be helpful.

Module 1.1

Image

Ideas fizzing around like bubbles in a fast running stream

Ideas fizzing around like bubbles in a fast running stream

The first part of Module 1 is appropriately titled “The Challenges”. I knew this subject would be engaging, inspiring and potentially make my brain spin – but I may have underestimated the effects.

The readings and subject notes raise a number of issues, and require a substantial amount of brain processing time, hence the time taken between setting up the blog for INF536 and now.

Considering the concepts of posture, surface, ambience and density (Witthoft & Doorley, 2011), in conjunction with the physical and budgetary constraints in which we operate, has been both uplifting and frustrating. The excitement of thinking about vertical surfaces in addition to horizontal, and a broad range of seating, standing room, group and individual space has led to much re-evaluation of what is possible.

The jump from reading about the variety of challenges, while still working on understanding the definitions, to a practical application, was not as difficult as I first thought it would be. It also gave me an opportunity to present an issue to the Library team (and an English teacher who fortuitously walked in during the action) and involve them in some of the processes which have formed part of our reading investigations.

In this case the first stage, the needfinding stage, (Seidel & Fixson, 2013) found us, rather than us designing or brainstorming to define a need. The brainstorming occurred in parallel with the prototyping, and the time allowed was defined in that we had a spare half hour between meetings and required a solution for the next day.

The space before our solution was implemented looked like this and offered 21 seats including the one usually occupied by the teacher: (it’s the one with the arms on the far left).

This is how the reading area has traditionally appeared.

This is how the reading area has traditionally appeared.

This is how the reading area has traditionally appeared.

The process we followed was:

A diagram showing the design thinking process.

A diagram showing the design thinking process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The end result was this:SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 
Cosier and also able to be shared by more groups at recess or lunch

Cosier and also able to be shared by more groups at recess or lunch

The result has been well received by almost everyone, with the most enthusiastic being the students (even the older students who can be conservative about changes to their space!). As each class has come in for a lesson, the seats in the middle of the space have been first occupied. There has only been one negative comment, from a Mathematics teacher who was taking a reading class for an absent teacher. He thought the students had been messing things up! He condoned the change once I explained that we had done it and why.

The dangerous thing is that we are now looking to move some other items around – and for those we will need the workmen!

References

Seidel, V., &   Fixson, S. (2013). Adopting Design Thinking In Novice Multidisciplinary Teams: The Application and Limits of Design Methods and Reflexive Practices. Journal   Of Product Innovation Management, 30, 19-33.

Witthoft, S.,   & Doorley, S. (2011, November 7). Cultivating innovative behavior using   design. TEDxManhattanBeach. Retrieved July 13, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqjXs0fNxYQ

Acknowledgements:

Photographs are my own with the exception of the “before photo” which has been copied from The College website: www.hamiltoncollege.vic.edu.au and was taken by our official photographer, Liz Crothers.

 

 

Starting Design Thinking

Having started reading and exploring has been quite exciting in terms of concepts. For this post however I would like to share two new tools which others may find helpful.

The first is Videoant  http://ant.umn.edu/ a website that allows you to annotate YouTube clips as you watch them. You can use it without joining, or join using your Google or Facebook accounts for example. I tested it today on this clip which links to module 1.1:

 

You can see how it looks here:

https://ant2.cehd.umn.edu/kiiydvbeoa

or you can add your own annotations to mine here: https://ant2.cehd.umn.edu/pzdghhudls

The second discovery is Pocket:

http://getpocket.com/a/ This is a web and mobile (multi-platform) based product that allows you to collect links to interesting things you find, tag them and read them at your leisure. It is fantastic for me because I spend time every weekend in an Internet “black hole” so I can collect when I’ve got connection and read when I have time but no connection. A great improvement to my work flow.

I started using it two days ago. It is intuitive and has exceeded my expectations!

 

References

Witthoft, S.,   & Doorley, S. (2011, November 7). Cultivating innovative behavior using   design. TEDxManhattanBeach. Retrieved July 13, 2014, from   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqjXs0fNxYQ