Archive of ‘INF536 Designing Spaces For Learning’ category

Blog Post One – INF536

Here is my desk area in my study. For someone who feels such pride in being organised in all things work related, it is extremely messy and I often find myself sitting here for long periods Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 11.19.06 pmof time trying to find ‘that document’ or ‘that photograph’. My study is tucked away in the middle of the house, with no natural light entering in. It also seems to have turned into the storage room since having our baby. Not only do we both have a desk in there but also a piano and two sets of clothing drawers that are unable to fit anywhere else. I have all of the equipment I need for it to be a successful space for personal learning. I have my devices (MacBook and iPad), my cameras, printer/scanner, paper, stationery and a large charging doc, but the area is such a mess that I wouldn’t know where to find each item without going exploring.

SoScreen Shot 2015-07-24 at 11.18.57 pm, where do I begin when wanting to redesign this space? Carroll (p.15-16, 2014) describes design thinking as being ‘…an innovative, human centred approach to defining and solving complex problems… that encompasses active problem solving and believing in one’s ability to create impactful change.’ This encourages us to look at design thinking in relation to people rather than buildings or items, and focus on who is going to be the user of the space. In my case, when redesigning my desk area, I am the user and myself (and hopefully my grades) will see the impact.

When looking into why design thinking is so important, Brown (2009), ascertains that ‘society needs a new approach to innovation which aligns the needs of human beings and tScreen Shot 2015-07-24 at 11.20.49 pmhe natural world.’ Once again, focusing on the needs of human beings and ‘consumer experiences (Brown, 2009). Karatko, et al (2012), state that the design process allows us to then ‘play, display and watch the replay’ or enable us to process ideas, try them out, give and receive feedback, make adjustments and continue through this cycle.

With this in mind I thought about what I wanted to achieve from redesigning this space. I wanted (needed) to be more organised so I bought new folders to file paperwork and photographs away. Each of these folders needed to be labeled and dated so that I know where to look when in a hurry. These are stored underneath my desk so that they are easily accessible and have clip on lids that my daughter won’t be able to open without assistance. Likewise, everScreen Shot 2015-07-24 at 11.21.05 pmything stored under my desk is locked down or of no harm to my daughter. This instantly put me at ease in this learning space, as I know she can crawl around without getting harmed by materials I have close to the ground.

Kuratko, et al (2012), state that ‘design is the process that converts ideas into form, whether that is a plan of action or a physical thing.’ To cover both of these areas I needed to plan what to change and do it… and that is easier said than done. It took a full week to file away all of the paperwork I had lying around, and only then could I move on to sorting through the materials I needed to keep and storing resources that are not of current benefit or interest to me.

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The next step was to create a visual goal chart for myself, so that I stay on top of my university work and general organisation of my desk area. I therefore created a canvas with a range of drawings on it. Each night, after completing some university work and tidying my area, I get to colour one area of the drawing in. It’s going to take me a long time to finish it (I stopped counting at 213 different areas), but I know it will create good habits in me if I continue with it. I also created a whiteboard calendar so assist in organizing our hectic lives. This works as a visual display for both my husband and I to use when committing to events.

I moved the printer / scanner out of the corner of my desk so that I have a designated space for my other devices and therefore room for paper and pen to jot down notes. I bought a large medicine ball to sit on so that I can move constantly, although so far I have been alternating between that and my swivel chair due to poor posture (on the chair).

I made my space homely by adding a few photographs of my family and created a playlist of relaxing music that will enable me to work but not get distracted (so far so good, although my relaxing music may be very different to the typical Mozart, etc).

Finally, I have allowScreen Shot 2015-07-24 at 11.21.38 pmed myself a ‘distraction space’. This is a timed space where I can have a break from the work I am doing. Whether it be playing a game online, drawing on some paper, sorting through photographs or checking my phone, I allow myself five minutes before getting back into it. I have also ordered an adult colouring book online and plan on using that when I need a mind-numbing distraction for a few minutes. I hope it comes soon!!!

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Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. Harper Business. p.37.

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

Scott-Webber, L. (2012). Institutions, educators, and designers: Wake up!: Current teaching and learning places along with teaching strategies are obsolete-teaching styles and learning spaces must change for 21st-century needs. Planning for Higher Education. 41(1), 265-277.

Chilled Out Tuesdays

I organised to meet with a friend at a local coffee shop / restaurant on Tuesday afternoon. I decided to go a bit earlier to take some pictures and do some sketching. This is one of my favourite places to go, not only because the service and food is amazing, but because of the atmosphere at the venue.

From the outside you are greeted with a black and white, elegant shopfront. From only viewing the outside you would imagine a sleek, pristine and crisp space, but it’s quite the opposite. As soon as you want though the front sliding door you are met with a long wooden bench which runs down the centre of the restaurant. This is surrounded by high stools and a wide range of glass jars and cake trays line the bench. To me this instantly gives the venue a homely feeling, encouraging a space for everyone to come together for a meal and a chat.

The presentation of the walls gives it an informal feeling. Whatever render and paint that was on the side walls has been removed, leaving the red bricks exposed. The use of old painted doors and window frames on the walls add to that homely feeling and the mix-matched photo frames on several of the walls are not only eye catching but make you wonder about the history behind such a venue. They draw you in further.

There is an open kitchen at the back of the venue where you can see the chefs and dish-hands going about their work but this is not a focus when you walk in (I only noticed it on my second visit). After seeing the long bench in the middle of the venue, your eyes are pulled to the comfortable lounges and chairs surrounding wooden tables. They look like cosy nooks to sit and read a book in.

All of the tables have jars with fresh flowers in them. The flowers change every day and I love that they don’t always match the rest of the venue. There is upbeat and relaxing music playing in the background but it has minimal words.

One of the reasons I especially love this venue is because it has wide walkways. I can leave my stroller (and hopefully sleeping baby) in the walkway between my table and the bench without people needing to dodge it. Having this wide space allows for people to come and go as they please, with ease.

I think this venue was designed with these family values in mind but I think the different tone of street front is a clever idea. It almost gives the impression of, ‘our great service and food is spread through word of mouth’, rather than what the venue looks like from the outside.