Final Blog Post!!

Incorporating technology in the classroom has profoundly changed the way teachers are able to educate and communicate with their students (Wilson & Randall, 2012, p. 1), and it will continue to change as technology advances. It is a daunting task for a teacher to be able to keep up with all of the new technologies and to be able to discern which ones to bring into the classroom to help prepare students for the future. What is even more daunting is to try to balance space, pedagogy, and technology – all of which have different life-cycles – into a cohesive plan that can evolve with an unknown future. The life-cycles of buildings are much longer than that of technology, so as buildings are updated to last for 50-80 years, there must be enough flexibility with the design to incorporate technology and new approaches to pedagogy (Johnson & Lomas, 2005, p. 26).

If broken down into simple steps, teachers and other educational professionals can manage these technological changes. We explored several physical spaces that were not serving their purpose, and offered some quick suggestions on how to change them (Campbell, July 2014; Campbell, Aug 2014). The key focus with these assignments was to understand what the user saw, what would best meet their needs, and enhance their experience. User needs, when it comes to design thinking, are at the forefront of the process (Kuratko, Goldsworthy, & Hornsby, 2012, p. 114). Another focus was to understand that changes do not have to be revolutionary – sometimes the smallest of changes could radically improve the user experience. In applying this to the digital realm, that may mean observing and asking students what technological help they need, and then developing lesson plans that use programs or software that they need experience with. It does not need to involve complicated and revolutionary changes; it just needs user input and plenty of prototyping.

The design brief is a tool used to help hone in on a perceived problem (Brown, 2009, p. 3). Once this was done, then the design thinking process could begin in full force because all of the known-knowns were written down – with some room for ambiguity, of course. After capturing design briefs, one could use design thinking to form fresh ideas and prototypes that had not been thought of before. With the coffee talk, it is clear that a range of people with diverse backgrounds can provide the best insight on any given project (Seidel & Fixson, 2013, p. 19). Collaboration is important to the design thinking process because fresh and varied perspectives on problems help to divert from what has already been tried and done.

Though the design process can be long, it is incredibly useful when an institution is looking to make a meaningful change to its space, technology, and pedagogy that will last. Before the start of this course, I was cynical of technology and believed that it cannot compare with the human interaction that classes provide. However, I learned that they are not two separate entities; technology inspires a range of collaborative activities that can enhance a classroom, without taking away from the human element. It is this type of thinking – open to all possibilities, all while focusing on the user – that I will carry with me.


Works Cited

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

Johnson, C. & Lomas, C. (2005). Design of the learning space: learning & design principles. Educause 40(4), 16-28. Retrieved from

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in innovation acceleration: Transforming organizational thinking. Boston: Pearson. Retrieved from

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.

Wilson, G. & Randall, M. (2012). The implementation and evaluation  of a new learning space: a pilot study. Research in Learning Technology,20(2), 1-17. doi:10.3402/rlt.v20i0.14431

Add comment Posted in  INF536 October 18, 2014

Interview with a Student

To learn more about the Laptop Program at this high school, I conducted a short email interview with past students. I asked some basic questions to see if they would elicit any type of response – negative or positive. I tried to make the questions short and open-ended, so the interviewee could focus on whatever they remembered about the program.

Male, 26 years old:

Do you remember the laptop program when you were in high school?
I remember some situations quite well.
Do you remember the teachers using them/not using them?
Most used them occasionally. Some would have you do in class assignments on the laptops regularly. Others would use it mainly for submitting homework via a website we called blackboard and thus not be using them much in class. I remember doing many power points for presentations and “taking notes” on my laptop during class. The use of laptops definitely varied from teacher to teacher and subject to subject.
Any lessons stuck with you particularly?
The laptop program got me comfortable with navigating a computer, including finding wireless internet and troubleshooting issues with it, connecting to a printer, connecting amouse, creating interesting power points, etc.: useful knowledge on a computer that most well-learned users take for granted but can be surprisingly tough for the inexperienced. The biggest lessons I learned was from my mistakes: Don’t believe the pop-ups (they won’t make your computer faster)!
Did you benefit from this program?
I definitely think so. I used the laptop for a lot more entertainment than the program intended but I think I have even benefited from that. Besides, now I type ultra-fast and destroy my peers in computer games. But it helps me at work as well. I use Microsoft Excel regularly and other computer programs in which I can better navigate through menus because of my experience with computers that started with the laptop program.
Did the level of laptop use change between 10th and 12th grade?
I don’t think it ever changed a crazy amount between grades. Perhaps in 12th grade we used it less because peoples’ laptops break along the way when being used every day (or was that just me?). Instead of lessons on how to submit your homework in 10th grade or how to use Microsoft Office, we could focus more on assignments/content in 12th grade.
I made a joke about “taking notes” in class. I may be wrong, but I really believed/believe I could focus more on what the teacher was saying when my mind was stimulated on simple video games. Not action games, but slow, turn-based games. It kept my mind stimulated. Without it, I feel my thoughts would drift or I’d grow sleepy and hear nothing the teacher had to say. I can appreciate that this would be much more of a distraction for many people, but for me, it kept me alert.

Female, 29 years old:

During 10th through 12th grade (2001 to 2003), I was a part of a laptop pilot program in which students/teachers incorporated laptops in the classroom. My parents made monthly payments to pay off the laptop and the school offered assistance to those who needed it. We had dedicated staff who would help fix the laptops and provide technical support. In my experience, the laptop program was very beneficial. There were some bumps in the road launching the program and some teachers adapted better then others.  We would type our papers and take tests on the laptops and “turn them in” by saving them on the hard drive. We also read books on our laptop.
Computer skills are crucial now in the real world. As a public relations professional, I have a laptop in which I do all my work on.

Female, 24 years old:

I’m pretty cynical about the program. My laptop didn’t last beyond the three years I had it in high school, and there were definitely better-made laptops around that cost less than $900. But having the laptop itself was hugely beneficial. It taught me how to use Word and Excel, and also how to discern what qualified as reputable online sources. We had to go to the library for those lessons. I remember in college we had to make a movie using our computers, and since I had to make some in high school, I was already ahead of some of my college peers who didn’t have a laptop program. So maybe I’m less cynical than I thought. The laptops furthered my education, but I think it was mostly self-taught. Most of my learning on the laptop seems to have been outside of the classroom, or in the lunchroom, rather than in it.

Add comment Posted in  INF536 October 10, 2014

Creative Beer Evening! Blog Post # 4

Those that attended my meeting:

  • a high school teacher
  • a nurse practitioner
  • a retired railroad worker (my grandfather)
  • an art store manager
  • an art store employee
  • a retired clerical worker

My grandfather, being the 86 year old social butterfly that he is, gets together with some people on occasion to chat, eat food, and drink some wine. I decided to merge my creative coffee morning -or rather beer evening- with his little gatherings, and brought some people of my own to add some diversity of backgrounds and jobs. My one downfall here is that I didn’t push for people to use Twitter, as only one of the members other than myself actually has it. As a result, it was mostly just informal chatter and excellent points about design (and some points not about design at all)!

1 My grandfather making a point

I started by asking the group if they had seen any new or meaningful design in any of the places they’ve been to recently. My grandfather, who was prepared for that, already had an answer for me. But his idea sparked a million other ideas from everyone else, so the creative beer evening truly commenced. We talked about a new technology device at a local restaurant and whether it improved the service or not. It resembled a little iPad that a customer can order drink refills, appetizers, desserts, pay for the meal, and play games on. The waiter or waitress must still come around to take the initial drink orders and to take the main entree order.

My grandfather, the retired railroad worker, who initially brought up the idea, did not care much for it. For one, the screen was too small for him to read what was on it. Also, he had questions about the menu that the apparatus could not address. He far preferred the social interaction that comes with going to a restaurant and being served by a waitress. The art store employee, in which many others agreed, thought the new device was a great addition, especially for young families. Though the games cost money, about 99 cents, she said it was worth the dollar so the kids have something fun and interactive to do while waiting for their meal. Furthermore, the restaurant can get hectic during peak hours. This ensures that tables are not forgotten. It was a simple design change that really altered the way service was done at this restaurant.

2 The guy in the middle (art store manager) did not agree!!

This was simply the beginning of the conversation, and it sparked into a whole range of discussions:

  • how computers and the internet has radically changed the way the nurse practitioner records and stores information about patients, and how there’s less room for error
  • how state curriculum restraints has prevented the high school teacher from teaching in a specific way, yet how it inspired him to think outside the box and try a different approach (this was the design thinking approach I was familiar with, but the teacher was not as chatty as others, so I could not ask for more information about it)
  • how small design changes in the art store, the way it markets itself, and changing around it’s online presence has helped increase business in a time where online shopping is a threat to this store

3 My grandfather, the nurse, and the teacher

It was tough for me to steer the conversation in any one direction – everyone had BIG opinions and ideas. It didn’t matter in the end; it made for a truly creative evening in which my eyes opened up to things I hadn’t considered, especially regarding small design changes in occupations I’m unfamiliar with (specifically the art store workers and the nurse practitioner). This won’t be my last creative beer evening I participate in with my grandfather and his lot. They have so many different experiences and stories to share, both failures and successes, and it was wonderful to hear it all.





4 comments Posted in  INF536 September 21, 2014

Blog Post 3 – Design Brief


The Family Resource Center is a library located within Golisano Children’s Hospital. The library was created four years ago with the intent of being a place for patients and families to go to learn about new conditions that had been diagnosed. They would have access to recent and reputable medical information under the guidance of a reference librarian. Since its creation, it has morphed into a library mainly for the children, providing services to keep the children entertained and at ease during their stay at the hospital. The small space contains movies, popular books for all ages, playstation games, board games, and other activities for families to partake in.


The space has confused purposes since its original inception. It is no longer simply a “Family Resource Center”- a place where families have access to medical resources. In addition to that, it has become a home away from home for patients and families, providing an escape primarily for the young patients to get out of the room and spend time in an enjoyable way. The setup of the room and its furniture have not adapted with its new purpose. Lots of tables and hard chairs provide enough space for board games, but the space does not encourage reading, watching movies, or playing video games in the space, all of which are the main services that the library provides.


  • make the Family Resource Center a comfortable place for families to relax in beyond the patient’s room
  • encourage extended stays in the library and participating in activities there
  • make the services known to families as soon as they are in the hospital and settled
  • the opportunity for a child to enter the space and make it his/her own; a home away from home
  • make the services easily available to patients that cannot leave the room


  • being such a small space, having large and comfortable furniture is limited, since the space must allow room for wheelchair access
  • not enough staffing (this means deliveries to rooms wouldn’t always be an available option- only when 2 people were staffed at the desk)
    • paid staff employed by library cannot make deliveries to rooms, but can make them to nurses’ stations
    • volunteers through the hospital can access patients’ rooms


  • cannot expand the space, for the time being
  • the library can get crowded during peak times (opening and closing hour), especially when children come in wheelchairs or wagons
  • for the space to be successful, the primary stakeholders — the patients who are anywhere from newborns to 18 years old — must be able to mold the space to fit whatever their desired purpose; it is a co-creative process (This is Service Design Thinking)


  • unclear budget
  • potential donations occur all the time that include a variety of items, or fiscal donations which can add to the budget
    • this especially occurs around Christmas time; the library creates a wishlist and makes it public, and charities or services seek to provide the library with the items from its wishlist
  • whether the restrictions on library staff moving to patient rooms will remain; discussions of allowing staff to make deliveries have been under development
  • the patients who use the library change all the time, and so do their needs; it is best to continually make observations (Brown & Katz, 2011) and adjustments to the space to adapt to the children in the hospital at the time

Ideas for Redesign

  • name change of the space to more appropriately reflect its new purpose
  • more comfortable seating near bookshelves to encourage browsing and reading
    • both comfortable chairs for adults to sit with young children, and bean bags for children to lounge in
  • “mini mobile library” – a cart containing a variety of media for children to check out that a staff member can bring around to the rooms
    • good for children who cannot leave rooms
    • good for raising awareness of space
    • can pass out a master list of objects on these trips to encourage families to come back to library if they want something else
  • more small comfortable furniture for the really young
    • right now there are small pillows that are a huge hit; young ones will throw them around and create a space for themselves, even though sometimes parents discourage them from making a mess!



Brown, T., & Katz, B. (2011). Change by Design. Journal Of Product Innovation Management, 28(3), 381-383. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5885.2011.00806.x

This is Service Design Thinking [Video file]. Retrieved from





1 comment Posted in  INF536 August 15, 2014

Blog Task 2

This isn’t part of my morning commute, but it is something that is very important to me. While I could not be a perfect observer (you have to be a patient or a family member of the patient), I could still observe new patients and families entering the library at the children’s hospital as an employee…

When entering Golisano Children’s Hospital, patients and families are notified that there is a library on the 12th floor where they can check out games, movies, books, and other things to help ease their child’s stay at the hospital. The space is formally called “The Family Resource Center”, and does not have “library” written anywhere. Here are some observations I made one morning:

  • numerous parents coming in (without their children who are presumably still in bed) asking if this is the library or how to get to the library
  • the circulation desk, which is located right near the entrance, always makes it so someone is greeting anyone who comes in
  • desk staff generally asks if its their first time in the space, in which case they will have them fill out a library card and then give them the rundown on how the space is organized and what resources they have at their disposal
  • most parents want to get in and out right away so they can head back to the room to their child; they are given a master list that they can take back to the room and explore the options with their child, limiting time away from their child
  • conversely, some parents come in with children looking to hang out, sit down and play board games or read picture books to each other
  • some people walk in looking as if they know what’s going on already and start browsing – they don’t have a library card or know the limit to the number of movies to check out or they don’t know all the services… the desk staff sometimes misses these people until they are ready to check out in the end; it creates a little bit of confusion for everyone
  • most of the time people come in unexpectedly to the hospital (emergency visits). because it is summer here, it’s really hot, but the temperature of the hospital is very cold and so you see people in shorts complaining that they are freezing
  • the space in general is very colorful and kid-friendly (all 2 floors of the children’s hospital is); I heard many compliments about how parents wish they were kids again so they could go to this hospital and not the grown-up one which is much more stereotypical in the way of the gloomy hospital atmosphere
  • LOTS of people saying they are so glad this service is available- helps visiting brothers and sisters stay in line too

I’ve made a million more observations, but I’ll settle with these because they were the most common.

Here is the sketch

Pictures of the space… circulation desk as you first walk in, opposite side of circ desk, movie collection in black boxes






7 comments Posted in  INF536 August 8, 2014

Blog Task 1

(a) Describe a Problem Space

The Health Sciences Library at SUNY Upstate Medical University is a large academic library that serves not only the faculty at Upstate Hospital (doctors, nurses, etc.), but also students and professors of the university, and the general public. It is hard to cater sufficiently to all three diverse communities, but it is certainly not impossible. While there are four floors that can provide different services to each group, people tend to congregate on the ground level, which creates for a noisy atmosphere and it confuses the purpose of the library.

(b) why that space might benefit from some thinking on its design

There is one suggestion box in the library to encourage patron participation with how the library should be used or improved upon, and it is located on the third floor which is available only to students. Not only is this a passive way of trying to engage the community, but it also excludes the other communities. Having the user’s input or understanding the user’s needs is an integral part of design thinking (Brown, 2009, p. 1). In this case, the focus must be on the needs of all three different communities, not just one.

There are numerous constraints to redesigning the library: bureaucratic constraints because it is a state-owned facility and changes must be approved through a lengthy process, followed by physical space constraints, and budget constraints. But these constraints can be a source of inspiration (Kuratko, Goldsworthy, & Hornsby, 2012, p. 110). The library doesn’t need new equipment or furniture, rather a restructuring of what exists. Since prototyping is another integral part of design thinking and for producing new ideas through experimentation (Seidel & Fixson, 2013, p. 21), changing the library’s layout in small increments may produce more user feedback, negative or positive. This feedback could fuel further small changes, making the process continual and making it so the library is always bettering its services for its members.

(c) describe the changes in order to create a better space for learning

There is a simple short-term solution to this problem that could alleviate the congestion that is typically found on the main floor. If there was better signage regarding the purpose of each floor, who can use it, and the appropriate noise level, then each user can settle on the floor level that fits their needs best. Or perhaps people congregate on the main floor for a reason: either they don’t want to travel too far to find information, or maybe they like to be located next to the reference librarians who are also on the main floor (this is something to find out by asking the community and getting them involved). If this were the case, creating a new layout for the main floor can make it multifunctional and can cater to more studying styles. This could be done through experimentation and small increments of change, as aforementioned. Usually when something changes in the library, people will come up to the service desk and talk about it, or the service desk will ask patrons how they feel about the changes as they check out books. It’s a more active way of getting the community involved, rather than scattering boxes with paper surveys around the library. These are but small changes that influence the library’s short-term goals, but to apply true design thinking among a diverse crowd could create more meaningful ideas for change and help the library in the long term, or help it to see the bigger picture.


Brown, T. (2009) Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. Summary by Get Abstract. Retrieved from

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in innovation acceleration: transforming original thinking. (pp. 103-123). Boston: Pearson. Retrieved from

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.


(d) feedback comments:





11 comments Posted in  INF536 July 30, 2014

Designed for a Purpose – Module 1.3

Upon first entering the cafe & bake shop – Panera – it’s pretty clear where you need to go to order, which is nice. They have a really large menu that even I can read (woohoo!) and a bunch of tasty treats on display as you are waiting in line to order. It’s very strategic and always calls out to my inner sweet tooth. The back side of the shop is  a walkway where you order and then pick up the food shortly thereafter. It’s nice because it means there is less traffic in the seating area which can get quite crowded with all the tables, chairs, and bodies. But sometimes the walkway gets backed up, especially near the soda fountain, or when they are a bit behind on orders. I’ve noticed that it’s quite difficult to navigate that area when you pick up your tray of food, especially soup, and really hope no one bumps into you. All in all, the design makes it so people can pick up food on the go, or they can choose to sit at their leisure.

Here’s the sketch

The tables near the windows were designed to have parties of 4, but because they are the only tables with outlets, many lone workers with their laptops like to sit in these spots and spread out on the bigger tables and do their work. Plus, it’s simply nice to be next to the windows! It gives Panera a certain atmosphere – one that says it’ a cool place to do work in (with the free wifi and the calm acoustic music, it is a friendly study space). However, on the weekends when more people come out for a quick lunch in between shopping (it’s located on a street with a lot of shops), stealing a table of 4 so you can plug in your laptop is a little less awesome… especially when you’re with people like my grandpa who’s 86 and just wants to sit down (he’s the nicest man however he wouldn’t say boo to anyone)! So while this has been designed to be a quick place to grab a bite to eat, it has turned into a hip study area – which is ok if the shop isn’t busy. It would be nice if there were more outlets, especially where the smaller two-seat tables are towards the back of the cafe. Perhaps a simple solution would be to switch some of the larger tables towards the windows with some of the smaller tables towards the back, though I’m not sure how that would work with the flow of traffic.

One thing I did learn while here was that I’ve found a new study space! For when it’s quiet of course…

3 comments Posted in  INF536 July 28, 2014

Impact of Space – Module 1.1

The library in the children’s hospital where I work is very small, yet it has a lot of great and comfortable furniture, and tables for activities. Not two days ago I was given the task of creating a “game night” every Tuesday for patients and families. This game night will have some sort of theme (for example: we have the TV set up to play a lego playstation game or perhaps play a lego movie and have legos lying around for kids to build whatever they want, with other related board games). One of the goals is to figure out the best way to rearrange the space for that night so kids can both see the TV and do the activities. The strength of working in this space is that the furniture can easily be moved, and thus we are constantly rearranging based on user needs and wheelchair access. The weakness is that it is so small, and if many people showed up to game night, there may not be enough space to see the television which is located in the corner, or even to participate in the various activities around the room.

SO that’s a preview of what I’ll be working on this semester, but here’s what I’ve been changing on a weekly basis so far:

Every Wednesday night in the same space, we have a “party” with patients and families and the administrative faculty of the hospital. Each week, my supervisor and I have been trying to rearrange the furniture to make it so people will want to stop in this room and be comfortable enough to talk about their experience. The faculty really likes it because it’s an easy way to learn what needs to be improved upon during patients’ stay at the hospital. For a while, the free food was located in the corner where people couldn’t see it from the entrance. About a month ago we switched it so people can see it, and become instantly interested in what’s going on (people love their food!). That little change has increased our numbers of attendees in both patients and staff; it turns out the working people like to eat too. We keep changing little things weekly, and on the spot as necessary. Some weeks we see more kids in wheelchairs or in the wagons, which take up a lot of space and are not easy to navigate or to park in the small library.

HOPEFULLY I have sketches to come… I just took a 2 hour detour trying to reinstall my scanner onto my Mac and have given up for the night.

1 comment Posted in  INF536 July 23, 2014

My situation at the Children’s Hospital

So I’m a bit overwhelmed with all the places we have to post things. Here is my attempt to consolidate everything….

Here are pictures of the space I work at:

It is a children’s hospital library. It’s very small but the furniture can be easily moved, and is moved quite frequently for wheelchair access and for wagon access (what the really young patients ride in).

As mentioned in my forum post, my goal this semester is to rearrange the furniture so there can be a game night every Tuesday, where game players can play board games using our tables and be able to watch a movie. The TV is in the back corner, so you cannot see it from all angles. That’s what I’m struggling with right now!

However, you can tell that it is such a cool place with such an important purpose. This job is so rewarding to me — anything to make kids smile during their stay at the hospital is the best feeling.

Add comment Posted in  INF536 July 23, 2014

Figuring it all out

YIKES!! Lots to learn with attending this new University from a distance (overwhelming, yet mostly exciting).  Currently, I’m in my bedroom in Liverpool, NY, USA, trying to make sure I have all the accounts set up for INF536 and trying to make a schedule so I stay on top of all my work! This has been the busiest summer for me yet — I work in a library in a children’s hospital (where I’m also interning off the clock), a medical library that caters to students and doctors, and at a grocery store (Wegmans) because of the scholarship it provides when attending school full time. But I’ve learned that staying busy is AWESOME. I’ve produced some of my best stuff because I’m keeping myself busy, and hopefully I will continue to do so with the start of this class!!

However, I must admit – this past week I did absolutely nothing but sleep, eat ice cream, and watch copious amounts of TV shows, because I had to get my wisdom teeth out. A necessary evil (or was it really that necessary??? not sure). At least it’s over with and I’m back to eating solid food. It’s the simple pleasures in life.

One thing I’ve come to realize for this course is that I must hand things in way early to make sure they are not late. Right now, it is 4pm on Monday July 14th in Liverpool, and I believe the time at Charles Sturt University is 6am Tuesday. I’ll have to adjust my due dates accordingly!!

Well, I’m looking forward to it all and I’m glad that this test blog is working! Let the learning commence!

Photo on 7-14-14 at 4.05 PM #2

^^ POST-WISDOM TEETH REMOVAL SUCCESS!!! no more puffy cheeks!


Add comment Posted in  INF536 July 14, 2014

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