Just another CSU Thinkspace site

Where to begin?….

I would really like to explore the concept of learning spaces across all age groups. Many of the resources I find on learning spaces are primary school oriented and I would like to explore the idea of space in relation to age (as I work in a school with only Year 11 and 12 students). I might introduce the participants to the concept of campfire, cave and watering hole and gain their perspective on an interpretation of this in the primary and secondary school space and in the online world. Then to see how they are being creative and using design skills in their own workplaces….

The people that I have invited to join me for a creative coffee afternoon are a primary teacher, a technology company executive, a secondary school teacher librarian, a school business manager, a student (teacher in training) and an interior designer.

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The following are some tweets from participants (from bottom to top):

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Then this

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The afterwards

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What we talked about…..

There was a lot of talk around the increase in the use of the mountaintop space in primary schools and whether we provide space for senior students to do this outside of formal assessment tasks, which has really made me think about what we provide on our library website and how we can attract more users to our site by displaying work. The primary teacher was very interested in the concept of campfires, caves and watering holes and said she is going back to her classroom to look at it with new eyes.

We also talked about the concept of providing semi-structured but adaptable spaces for learning and how this can translate to online spaces for students. We talked about learning  in person and learning online and what we think future students will prefer to do and we had lots of discussion about the social nature of people and learning.

There was an interesting dicussion around how designers and clients talk to each other from the perspective of both the teachers in the group and the interior designer. He was very interested to note how clear we were on what we do, which he thinks is not the norm (but may be different in reality).

We then became very distracted by talking about how learning spaces might be like coffee shops and how this may have impacted on our own learning.

My feedback…

  • Perhaps too many teachers in the mix. I tried to attract a variety of occupations, but may have been more successful if I was more organised. The interior designer and tech exec added some very interesting stimulus. However, it was good to have a balance of teacher in training, primary and high school to compare perspectives.
  • I asked the participants to tweet using the hashtag #ccafthj during or after the meeting, which was a great tool to reflect on what we had talked about.
  • We spent most of the time talking about design in schools (great for me!) but I would liked to have looked a little wider. We did touch on learning spaces in other workplaces as well.

What next…

  • I want to try this within my school and perhaps invite people I would not normally consult with.
  • I want to follow up the campfires, wateringholes and caves concept with the primary teacher.
  • Many teachers do not think they are creative!! I want to change this!!

Credit to the photographers….

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I have commented on

Monique’s blog


Lisa’s blog


Patricia’s blog


§69 · September 13, 2014 · Assessment, INF 536 · (6 comments) ·

6 Comments to “Task 5 – Coffee chat…”

  1. Margaret Simkin says:

    Well done – looks like a pleasant session and your thoughts sum it up well. There is an interesting combination of organisation, availability and the busyness of school life that makes the Creative Coffee concept tricky but I think your experience proves the merit of giving it a go! looking forward to my session tomorrow!

  2. plee says:

    Heather – Sounds like you had a positive first meeting: an interesting mix of people with the common thread of being together.
    I too share your want to try and change teachers’ perception that they are not creative. Maybe part of the answer lies in further opportunities such as the one you hosted?

  3. Yvette says:

    Heather – your coffee and chat meeting sounded like the attendees bought their different perspectives to the table for you and your discussion. It would be interesting to see the outcome of the discussion if you had less academics around the table, in-particular with relation to online learning spaces.
    Love that you are going to continue the process in your school.

  4. Jim Thomas says:


    Great job putting together such a diverse group of creatives (and such a young group of professional photographers).

    I liked how you used twitter before and after your season to introduce the topic, get some conversation going, and continue the conversation after the meeting.

    Regarding the conversation about learning in person and learning online, I gathered from one of our recent readings that the percentage of online learning increased with a students age and when the degree was more advanced. Did you get the sense from your group that they were anticipating more online learning with younger students at primary education level?



  5. kpolis@shore.nsw.edu.au says:

    I am most impressed with the range of individuals you included within your meeting. It is interesting that teachers perceive themselves as not being creative…. Maybe they should be on this journey with us.

    Well done!

  6. aus_teach says:

    The tweets show that the participants in your coffee chat were intrigued by the conversation – good work. Two tweets stand out: “love the way teachers are thinking about learning” and “What is the best way to get designers to understand educators”
    The first tweet underlines how teachers now work in a space where they think about pedagogy very, very deeply. Teachers often take their learnt skills and acquired knowledge for granted as we are so immersed in our profession and largely surrounded by like minded people. Thus one of the aims of these meets is to build networks that break down many professional boundaries. We have important skills and knowledge to share with other creatives in our communities. This brings me to the second tweet.
    How doe we get designers to understand educators? Simple I suppose, we continue to build networks that include them in discussions – just as you have done at your coffee meet. We are the experts in education and we should be bold enough to let the wider community know this.
    Congratulations on contributing in such a positive way.

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