Final Blog Post!!

October 18, 2014

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 http://www.getabstract.com

Johnson, C. & Lomas, C. (2005). Design of the learning space: learning & design principles. Educause 40(4), 16-28. Retrieved from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERM0540.pdf

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in innovation acceleration: Transforming organizational thinking. Boston: Pearson. Retrieved from https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/kuratko-d1.pdf

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. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jpim.12061

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

Entry Filed under: INF536. Posted in  INF536 .



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