Critical Reflection on INF537


As I reflect on this final capstone subject in this highly challenging, varied and so highly relevant degree, I have a sense of professional growth and achievement. Digital Futures Colloquium has contributed to the affirmation, integration and synthesis of ideas from the three other subjects I studied. We have covered aspects of teaching practices for the digital age, designing spaces for learning, design thinking, makerspaces, knowledge networks, digital scholarship and participatory learning.

Two years ago when I began this course I stated that my aim was to be a teacher librarian who can lead a community of learners into a digital world, enjoying opportunities to collaborate, create and help learners use new digital media. I feel confident to do this now because I am a highly networked and digitally literate educator who learns autonomously as I interact with digital media. Being able to understand how digital literacy and scholarship works allows me to design learning experiences and spaces where a school community can develop these skills too. I have the future work skills to ensure that I can add value to the technology that we use as learners and educators.

It has been easy to see how I in my role as a teacher librarian can integrate my understandings of learning in a digital age into my everyday practice. I know that the school library program plays a major role in promoting current pedagogy, adoption of technology, leveraging technology, promoting participatory learning, digital scholarship and digital citizenship.

My digital scholarship skills increased through the practice of research, sharing and refining ideas, reading and responding to blog posts, e-books and websites. Many of the professional readings have been highly appropriate to share with my colleagues and have had a major influence on the ideas that shape my practice.

IFTF_FutureWorkSkillsSummary_01                        2015-K-12-Report-Topics-Graphic-1024x794

My final assessment, a case study addressed the question “Do students become more autonomous as learners when they independently publish digital artefacts online?” and it’s major themes and findings about digital literacy, future work skills and the development of an agile approach to working in a digital age, allowed me to take the first step in leading the school community to match the trends, challenges in the adoption of technology.

This case study provided an opportunity to practice digital scholarship skills with survey design, communication and analysis. Through the use of technology tools, I examined and created many examples of digital media.  I correlated the recommendations for digital learning with my data and could see a pattern of behaviours which could inform better practice. I was pleased that I could see a real pathway for changing the way technology can be adopted in my school community.

In the future the connections in my personal learning network will remain vitally important to ongoing professional growth. Through the digital colloquiums in this subject I have widened this network and seen how others are working in an agile and sharp manner to leverage technology in schools and other learning environments. Listening to the likes of Annabel Astbury and Cathie Howie were excellent opportunities to engage with other professionals who  work together with educators to facilitate the best learning possible in a digital age. A very appropriate collection of ideas that I intend to use to inform my practice was Judy O’Connell’s recent presentation “Developing Agile Approaches in a Digital Age”. This presentation puts the school library centre stage in this approach.

judy agile approach My fellow students and lecturers have been a great source of collaboration and participatory learning. We have continued to engage in the backchannel of Twitter to support our learning and also respond and share through the subject discussion forums. This participation is vital to online learning and results in more ideas, resources, knowledge networks and global connections resulting in digital innovation for learners.

Using Current Pedagogy to Create Agile School Libraries in a Digital Age

Throughout this current subject: Digital Future Colloquiums and the preceding subjects in this degree I have been about to pinpoint many strategies and ideas that I can integrate into my practice as a Teacher-Librarian.

Judy O’Connell’s latest presentation  explains how School Libraries can develop agile approaches in a digital age.I am already integrating many of the strategies mentioned and I can foresee how my Library team  can continue to improve. I think it is  important for all educators and support staff to realise the potential that lies ahead. I plan to  share the key ideas with my fellow teachers some time. This presentation explains how school’s library program can support, leverage and inform about  the technological drivers in our world. The presentation summarises the concepts that support knowledge networks and digital innovation in Libraries.   Using current pedagogy to inform School Library programs is the best practice because it is easy to explain and justify our roles in schools.

judy agile approach

I have used some of the  ideas and resources in the presentation to synthesise the research, theory and recommendations for my current case study:

A Description of the Autonomous Behaviours Learners Develop when they Independently Publish Digital Artefacts Online and the Importance for Educators to Encourage this Learning.

Do students become more autonomous as learners when they independently publish digital artefacts online?

Leveraging Technology in a Library Program

In the chapter Innovative Technologies in Library Science (Farmer, 2014)comments are made about technology transforming Library spaces.  Libraries that leverage or take advantage of technology provide the most favourable, current and high quality programs for their clients of learning communities.

As a teacher-librarian and Library program leader, I need to pay attention to the societal trends that are highlighting technology as a key driving force. These include; emerging technologies that impact access to information, online education, data protection and privacy, highly technology-connected societies and technologies that revolutionise the global information economy. Access needs to be provided to all of our clients’ communities: by doing this we demonstrate our value and ability to contribute to the community’s development (Farmer, 2014).Social Media is a technology we need to leverage. It can be used to promote our programs outwards to the community and become more visible.

Digital curation is a tool that many teacher-librarians are practising to present information to their learning communities. Fortunately there are many free digital curation tools. Cataloguing digital collections and presenting through OPAC searches is very important for regular access.

I am currently having a rethink on the design of a contemporary digital library space.  I understand that marketing strategies will be very important, visual communication and community-based webpages. Planning systemically for digital interactions will be important too.

The obvious follow on is the physical space of the Library. Not unlike many Libraries, the library where I work is about to go through a physical transformation: we are currently in the designing phase. As well as combining IT and Library services we are moving towards a social learning commons approach for our physical space.  We want to facilitate: informal and formal interactions between people, cross-curricular interaction and innovation, technology tools for collaboration, spaces for experimenting and making, displays of creative work.


Farmer, L. (2014). Innovative Technologies in Library Science. In V. Wang, Handbook of research on education and technology in a changing society (pp. 178-189). IGI Global.

Participatory Learning in a Library Program

If participatory learning is manifested most profoundly in the maker movement, then school libraries are in the box seat. Teacher-librarians can “hack the curriculum” and provide varied opportunities for school community to design, create and share in the Library spaces and the rest of the school.

Opportunities to engage in the design thinking process, including trialling, prototyping and failing are still far and few between in schools. A makerspace can provide a safe place for self directed designing, creating and learning.

I am about to begin this journey of starting a makerspace movement in the school where I work in the role of the teacher-librarian and a thought leader. It’s time to become a “maker-teacher”: I don’t know how to code, program or make electrical circuits, but I do know who to ask to work with me, how to facilitate students to work together and how to connect with others and find out what to do. I am crafty, but need to practice making more technical creations.

The next step on with a school makerspace will be to show students how to share and make their creations public. To develop the students into true contributing digital citizens the teaching community may need to redefine our approach to digital literacy. A lot more conversations need to be had about how to change the environment on the web responsively and creatively. Blogs, wikis and other web 2.0 tools need to be named participatory media not ‘new media’ (they have been around for years now). Proven successes like to YOUmedia and Dream Yard projects look very exciting: they provide great opportunities for student-centred learning.

Digital badges are an interesting concept and remind me a bit of the MOOC concept where it can be open to everyone to engage, learn and succeed. It could be a great way of connecting people to expertise. I think it will take a while to shift attitudes to the type of assessments we provide.


A case study: using augmented reality to amplify learning in the school library program

I first came across this example of immersive augmented reality in a school library activity when I saw it’s creators down for leading a session at next week’s EduTECH  conference. Two local teacher-librarians Anne Weaver from All Hallows and  Cathy Oxley from Brisbane Boys Grammar teamed together to organise an immersive, augmented reality role play fantasy quest. This activity was set to be performed in a park, but due to the weather it happened inside the library. Working in teams and reading instructions the students participated in challenges amplified by the immersion in numerous augmented fantasy virtual worlds and scenes. As well as promoting fantasy fiction and reading, this experience integrated augmented reality in a really authentic and entertaining manner. I think its great for engaging young adult learners. Anne Weaver has a post on her blog about this innovative learning activity.



Assignment 6 Part B:Critical Reflection INF536

The commencement of this subject ‘Designing Spaces for Learning’ correlated with opportunities at my workspace to put my design thinking skills to the test.  My Leadership team at my school were noticing that I had valuable insights to share and I was ready to join them on a design process to design some new physical spaces in the school.

Personally I have learnt the value of observing environments and people to make better choices and decisions. I appreciate good service, functional spaces and the value of listening to users.

The nature of the Blog tasks encouraged me to realise the potential in changing the learning spaces to encourage collaboration, creativeness and newness.

Very early in the semester after reading Kuratko’s The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration: transforming organizational thinking.(2012) I began to recognise the value in collaboration, involving stakeholders in decision making  and developing a common language  abut design.  In preparation for initial talks about our school’s new Library design I developed a Flickr page where all stakeholders could add and observe images of Libraries they liked. I also helped transform and guide their thinking by sharing the principles from Kuratko (2012) and Brown (2009). What eventuated were  new, varied and many ideas! My library assistant even came up with a complete design and was included in the discussions with the leadership team and architect. This was a great example of participatory design (Woolner, 2009).

Following on from this positive experience I then began to frame my ideas for learning spaces in a more defined manner. My first attempt was to write a design brief for the new library using Kurtako’s (2012) recommendations as a guideline. The next design brief I wrote was for the entrance of our school (Blog task 3): for the first time ever I used Stanford’s How might we?… Method.  This simple change in framing the design brief really allowed be to come up with new ideas and contemplate the unknowns (Hatchuel,2004).

I have come to realise, partly through recently completing the Case Study on changes that have happened in our digital learning space that I can use my understanding of the design process, design thinking approaches, creative culture and the importance of recognising the influences and interactions of learning pedagogy, space and technology (Wilson & Randall, 2012) to reflect on past practices and make better decisions during future design projects.

Digital design is an aspect of education where I can see a lot of potential for innovation. The different online spaces like  McIntosh’s (2010)‘Seven Spaces’ , Thornburg’s(2014)campfires, watering holes, caves, life spaces and then Runnquist’s(2011) mountain-top spaces  has helped me identify new ideas that are yet to be integrated in our developing online spaces.

I feel more motivated now to facilitate a creative culture in my educational organisation and beyond. I know I am able to facilitate conversations about creative culture after a successful creative coffee morning. I do notice sometimes that the ’Status Quo’ and pragmatism  in education organisations can challenge one’s ability to be creative when changing learning spaces, but I think that a better understanding of approaches like design thinking will help me contribute to transforming the future schools that I work in and have an impact on student’s learning.


Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organisations. Harper Business., Stanford University, How might we?… Method Card: Accessed March 1, 2014

Hatchuel, A., Le Masson, P., & Weil, B. (2004). CK theory in practice: lessons from industrial applications. In DS 32: Proceedings of DESIGN 2004, the 8th International Design Conference, Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation accerlation: transforming organisational thinking. Boston: Pearson.

McIntosh, E. (2010). Clicks and Bricks: How Schools Buiidlings Influence Future Practice and Technology Adoption. Educational Facility Planner, Volume 45, Issues 1 & 2.

Runnquist, A. (2011). Learning envrionments based on learning. Retrieved October 2014, from Vittrabloggen:

Thornburg, D. D. (2014, March). From the Campfire to the Holodeck, How Place Matters in Education. Retrieved October 2014, from Youtube:

Wilson, G., & Randall, M. (2012). The implementation and evaluation of a new learning space: a pilot study. Research in Learning Technology, Vol.20.

Woolner, P. (2009). Building schools for the future through participatory design process: exploring the issues and investigating ways forward. BERA 2009. Manchester.

Blog Task #1 INF 536

a)      In the reading lounge of the Secondary College Library where I work, there is a small wall  that currently has a large map drawer, a poster holder, an information board (which has had the same posters on it for years) and some old photographs.  The adjacent wall has laptop benches and chargers and on the other side is the circulation desk. The maps and their containers are not used a lot and they are big, heavy and not very attractive – only teachers use them rarely, not students.  The space should be used for encouraging a reading culture not housing unused posters.


b)       Technology developments are driving a change in the way that Library services are being delivered to our learning communities. These changes are providing new choices for reading communities and the need for innovative ideas. Good design in this space could speed up the innovation process in our services- this is a continuing goal (Kurato, Goldsworthy, & Hornsby, 2012).  Following Tim Brown’s (2009) recommendations to start the designing process by focusing on the needs of humans alerts me to the fact that this space is not matching the behaviour of the humans in our school community. The culture and context of our school is changing and becoming more digital, participatory and client driven. This space is in the reading lounge, it could be used to connect the reading community to our recently added digital Library.  The digital library provides over $60,000 worth of books (it is shared with all the 120 schools in our district).The students have access via the school portal but it is still an underused but excellent resource.  The inspiration to alter the design of this area is influenced by the opportunity of access to the digital library that we want to seize; it makes a lot of financial sense (we don’t have to pay for it) and for a large part of our community access to digital resources is desirable.

c)       To create a space that increases the school communities access the digital library we will need to provide technology that allows the student a straight and simple connection to this digital space. The interface of the Digital Library lends itself to a being a permanent fixture on a screen. The user can browse the Library completely and then just log in when they want to borrow a book. The books will be downloaded into their account which they can access from their own device later.  All this could be done on a large touch screen that would be very attractive to the students.  All the map and poster storage could be shifted to another less used space in the Library. We have the funds to put in a simple high bench for the students to stand at and use the screen.  Instructions could be placed on the wall behind to guide students and teachers in using the Digital Library.


Brown, T. (2009). Designers – think big. Retrieved 2014, from TED:

Kurato, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation accerlation: transforming organisational thinking. Boston: Pearson.


Comments on other blogs:




My Design Brief for a new Library

Here is the design brief I created for the our first meeting with the architect. My very creative and visual Library Assistant drew up a plan to accompany it ( will scan and upload with permission later). It was my second ever design brief I had written. I kept it short ( one page) . I found Kurato, Goldsworthy and Hornsby’s(2012) The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking very helpful and I tried to put their theories in use.

******** Library Design Brief – Introductory and First


To build a Library that provides a central learning and social space, as well as an information and technology services hub for the whole school community. It needs to offer an environment that is different to the classroom.

The people in our community;

Need to want to come to the Library, feel motivated to learn and be creative in the environment and have the flexibility to learn collaboratively and/or independently. The Library and Tech teams want to provide the best service we can to all the school community and have a dynamic and functional working environment.

Pillars of our design brief

Attractive, light filled and modern environment Service and Access Collaborative and creative learning Fun Flexibility Workspace Choice for people



The Library needs to have the capacity to seat up to 400 people in total. There will be a “café vibe” to the environment and a high technology presence.

The main area of the Library will be able to house up to 200 students in a seating area that’s flexibility encourages collaborative behaviours and yet caters for differing learning styles. This main area that will be highly used before and after school and at lunchtime needing to allow for good visibility and be a light filled space. Presentation booths, fish tank spaces (10?)and some quiet “cubby hole spaces” need to included. The fish tank spaces could be used for Makerspaces and gaming on different occasions or student and staff meetings. During class times multiple classes would come in and allow their students to work in a way that encourages their own learning style and choices.  Books will be housed on wall shelving (mostly). A lot of display spaces for front-facing books and promotion will be included. The main level will also include a café near the entrance incorporating a reading/magazine lounge.

Workspaces and the Service centre will also be included on this main level. Along the length of the building there would be a tech team workroom, library team workroom, shared tea/kitchen room and staff toilets. These workrooms will have one way glass overlooking two long service/ circulation desks.

There needs to be a performance, large group seating space (Year level) or piazza/forum space. This could be in the form of an oversized staircase that acts as a transition between the different levels of the Library and would be used as an informal seating area at other times.

On the upper level of the Library there will be a senior hub, more ‘quiet space seating’, production and presentation spaces and additional fish tank spaces with a link to the admin building.

Would love to hear your feedback!


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


Transforming organisational thinking – a practical application

This week involved the first formal meeting to plan for a new Library at the school I work at as the teacher-librarian. Over the last month the major stakeholders had collated images collaboratively using  a Flickr album and have had many informal discussions. I knew my learning in this subject was going to help with this designing project and I was really glad to start putting the theory into practice.

After reading Kurato, Goldsworthy and Hornsby’s (2012) The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration: transforming organizational thinking, I summarised the important points and put them in an email to the other staff . Part of the reason what to digest and synthesise my thinking and also to explain my strategies in thinking about our design. Here’s what I wrote

Hello All,

I have attached some reading about The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration: transforming organisational thinking (after a discussion with ****** and ****** today ). It is very relevant, I think to the designing and planning we are currently involved in ( and hopefully will continue to do so as educators and managers of learning spaces). It made me think about how we can approach the design process. The main points I took away were (pg 104 – 115):
*designing a product or service that is worthwhile will drive innovation, the more innovation we generate, the more entrepreneurial we can be.
*the importance to apply creativity and be proactive
*we need to use our constraints as a source of inspiration
In developing our design brief
*we need to be inspired by a problem to solve or an opportunity to seize 
*focus on the main idea we have  – a Library that provides tech and information services and offers an environment that is different to the classrooms  (?!!), not ourselves.
*in a collaborative approach to designing the space look for consistent answers and insights.
*develop a clear vision and then identify the project pillars that hold up that vision (especially in a design brief).
This presentation by IDEO’s Tim Brown was also an interesting description of how design thinking is different to design.
His focus was
*less on the object and more on the design thinking as an approach to solving problems
*start with the humans
*the dramatic changes happening in technology (and education) are providing opportunities for new choices and existing solutions are becoming obsolete.
*the question that we are trying to answer or the solution we are seeking needs to be used to create the design brief.
 So, before our meeting on Thursday and throughout our designing and planning of these new learning and work spaces I am going to take these points into consideration and use them as guidelines. I hope this all makes some sense. I am still trying to synthesize all this information, and it probably isn’t all new to you but I think it will help us.
It was quietly but positively received. I find in educational settings in the busyness of the tasks teachers and leadership complete all day they don’t always pay attention to these big ideas and need time set aside  to discuss and learn about the thinking that will transform our learning and teaching.
Brown,T. (2009). Designers- think big TED
 Accessed  18.7.14
Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson.

Digital Essay Proposal

Digital Essay Topic Proposal

Topic: Makerspaces – environments that facilitate creativity in Secondary schools

Digital Tools and Spaces to be used:

I will create an additional page in my Thinkspace Blog. I am optimistic in my expectation that familiarity will lead to creativity and innovation with the construction of an interactive digital essay.

I plan to use a variety of tools including, YouTube, Flickr, podcasts, Vimeo, TED talks and constructed images.


A Makerspace (or hackerspace) “… is an environment where creative, legal, technical and other interested people join together to work on, think about and talk over a wide variety of subjects. “Some of these projects are really practical, others are more “because we can”. What is always the same is our goal to gather knowledge, work together and share our knowledge”, thus, founder of Hackerspace Frack, Jildou Gerritsma (as cited by Hackerspaces/ Flux, 2014)

A common problem in Secondary schools is disengaged students. Another challenge is being able to allow students to truly be creative and let their innovative thoughts shine- they often share these thoughts in out of school learning communities but not in the school space where teachers can observe. Makerspaces are designed to engage students’ curiosity, make them the centre of learning and provide time and space for collaborative creation and innovation.

This digital essay will allow myself as an educational professional and teacher-librarian, the opportunity to share knowledge and considered judgements about an innovative movement that encourages participatory and creative learning and can be integrated into my workspace.

In this digital essay I intend to describe:

1.       What is a Makerspace?

2.       The concepts and theories behind this movement of Makerspaces (And Hackerspaces -mentioning the influence)

3.       Examples of Hackerspaces and Makerspaces around the world and evaluate how well they are facilitating creativity.

4.       How Makerspaces can be incorporated into the Secondary Library environment and digital learning culture.

5.       The anticipated benefits/learning outcomes of Makerspaces.


Hackerspace/Open. (2014, March). Retrieved May 2014, from Hackerspce/Flux: