So, what does it mean to relate to a computer, standing up?
TOWARDS CREATIVE LEARNING SPACES
..... EXPLORING CONCEPTUAL, PERSONAL, SOCIAL, PHYSICAL AND VIRTUAL SPACES FOR LEARNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Saturday, March 9, 2013
So, what does it mean to relate to a computer, standing up?
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Image taken from the Learning Spaces Collaboratory website: http://www.pkallsc.org/Who-We-Are
Have not yet had time to compare and contrast it to the 2005 JISC -developed Planning and Designing Technology Rich Learning Spaces Infokit - which it superficially resembles - but interesting to see that the development of methods remains a key issue for learning spaces in HE.
Never got it together to post about the Future Learning Environments - How Space impacts on Learning conference at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm in July 2012, so just going to point you to a post by another conference delegate - Andrew Laing from DEGW. Just received the final versions of the papers presented at the conference, which are great, and will be published in a special edition of the Journal of Inter-Professional Care next year.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Following a visit to the University of Brighton from Cathrine Schmidt and Hanne Airo from the Danish Ministry of Science, who are developing a new learning spaces briefing for science spaces in universities across Denmark (more to tell you soon I hope), they kindly also put us in touch with Jonas Nordquist, the manager for a project called Future Learning Environments - How Space Impacts on Learning run by Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm County Council. See their web site at ki.se/learningspaces.
This feels like a really integrated, (relatively) large-scale project across both formal and informal learning environments, across three sites related to medical education; aiming to "develop and deliver a range of prototype environments to support new pedagogies within Karolinska Institutet s medical education programmes."
Working with White architecture practice, they have already developed a Concept Manual to act as a design guide. Interestingly this work was also supported by an ethnographic study of students responses to their environment which is - unfortunately - currently only in Swedish. The next phase is to build prototypes and then to do a comparative evaluation.
I may be wrong, but this is the first large scale, multi-space prototyping and evaluation research project that I have heard of. Of course the University of Melbourne has been developing a series of innovative learning spaces over several years; but as yet has no funds for evaluation, so the lessons for others are still difficult to learn.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
In the early days of the CETL Learning Spaces research project, we were invited to be involved in early discussions/events at the University of the Arts, London - partly instigated to enable staff to participate in thinking what kinds of learning spaces were needed for art and design in the new facility being built at Kings Cross.
Well the students and staff have just moved in and here is Jonathan Jones/Guardian's take on the space.
So, all comments welcome from actual participants in this new environment. Would be a great opportunity to do a before/after evaluation of students/staff experiences of their learning spaces - but assume that, as usual, no-one will have the time, energy or resources.....
Photo taken from Guardian website.
Can't find out very much about developments on the TU Delft 'Building the Future' project - so any help here appreciated, in terms of how this work is affecting the design of the University itself. Did find their Building Envelopes work, which looks at facade design more generally. The last conference in the series was called The Future Envelope 5 - Technology Transfer and was in May 201. They have also produced a series of technical publications on facade design with IOS Press, Amsterdam in the series “Research in Architectural Engineering”. Maybe interesting to a few readers of this blog.
Had an email recently from someone working on the new University of Plymouth's Space Strategy; initially this will involve a consultation exercise and series of lectures/discussions. The project - which will be carried out by a team from the Architecture Department, and has a steering group from across the university (Estates and Facilities Management, Procurement and Sustainability, Strategic Planning and Teaching and Learning; the Education Department; and the Dean of Students) - seems like a potentially great model for learning spaces development. So looking forward to keeping in touch with what they are doing.
But it also make me think how hard it is to find out what is going on at different universities and colleges, both in this country and elsewhere. There is no central place to 'catch' all the current learning spaces work going on. And because 'space' is such an amorphous word, doing an internet search throws up all sorts of - interesting yet miscellaneous - stuff. For example, Plymouth also has a SPACE project which is about inclusive assessment.... also very relevant to the subject of learning spaces, but - of course - not about re-designing the actual fabric. Similarly, Warwick has a project about 'opening up spaces' for student learning, that is, beyond the classroom setting.
And I also came across an oldish post (from December 2010) about TU Delft, about a project called Building the Future. This was/is exploring specifically architectural education with the following aims:
- reinforcement of design teaching and didactics;
- harmonisation of educational structure and alignment of the Master´s tracks;
- improvements to efficiency and assessment systems;
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
"The notion of space regains fresh momentum every time we interact with the world around us. As mobile devices weave into the fabric of everyday life, we are no longer confined to a specific location, time and place in accessing and interacting with communications technologies. Interfaces become more adaptable and fluid according to the user’s needs; capable of switching seamlessly between augmented, real and virtual information and communication techniques and practices. The conference will be exploring future learning spaces, from four different perspectives, each led by an expert innovator: Michel Bauwens will visualise networked spaces. Ben Betts will envisage social spaces for dialog and debate. Stephanie Rothenberg will be exploring open experimental spaces. Mauri Ylä-Kotola will analyse institutional spaces."
Friday, May 6, 2011
The collection here is that extraordinary combination you get with a private collector - important everyday artefacts from America and across Europe (mainly from the 1880s - 1940s), together with much which can only be called 'miscellaneous'. We have been talking a lot about how collections like this can support both conventional scholarly study and other kinds of creative activities, through the unexpected juxtapositions they enable. This, of course, raises tensions around accessibility, curation and conservation - similar to the ones that CETLD researchers found on projects like Behind the Scenes at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Wolfsonian is planning some new educational spaces and already discussing just what kinds of access and what kinds of learning can be best supported here.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Many of the contributors to this book start from a position that higher education is under threat from pressures towards an over-riding emphasis on employability. And they look to re-valuing education as an important public service.
I noticed that the upcoming American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting in New Orleans is called "Inciting the Social Imagination: Education Research for the Public Good." As Kris D. Gutiérrez and Joanne Larson write: "We are in the midst of a vibrant and troubling education paradox. On the one hand, it is a time of remarkable interest in education, with increased attention to reform policies, unprecedented educational legislation, and money from all sectors devoted to these efforts. In public discourse, education remains foundational to opening up a range of opportunities: to achieve social and economic mobility, to gain and secure employment, and to develop future life skills. Politicians refer to the knowledge society, economists write about the new economy, and the proliferation of innovative technologies demands new forms of learning in an unparalleled knowledge economy. Yet the path or shape that these efforts take is toward technocratic and market-driven solutions to the everyday issues schools, teachers, and students experience."
The conference will therefore explore how educational research might help deal with these challenges, particularly in enabling us to better re-imagine what an education for the public good might look like.
So ... I typed 'education for the public good' into Google and found a whole lot of stuff.....
The image here is of the Checkland Building, Falmer Campus, University of Brighton and is taken from a webpage advertising an upcoming pubic debate at the University entitled The future of university education? to be held on Saturday 30th April 2011.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Have been working (with my colleague Anne Boddington) on editing a collection of research papers about learning spaces, this time bringing together educationalists with designers and estate managers, and also others from areas like anthropology, computer science and museum education.
What has been interesting is how all the contributors are looking for ways - theoretically and methodologically - that do not reduce the incredible complexity of thinking about learning and space; and at the same time offer the potential for saying something rigorous and useful, which can take debates forward.
This is very exciting for me, that so many people are addressing questions of theory and practice simultaneously, and from a broad range of perspectives. Some overlapping influences are Henri Lefebrve's The Production of Space, Bruno Latour's Actor-Network Theory and Etienne Wenger's Communities of Practice work. Of course, what is also interesting is what different disciplines take from these authors, and the range of conclusions the various contributors have drawn.
The forthcoming book is called Reshaping Learning: A Critical Reader. The future of learning spaces in post-compulsory education and will be published by Sense in July this year. Contributors include Ronald Barnett, Paul Temple, Maggi Savin-Baden and Etienne Wenger.
NOW AVAILABLE FROM SENSE PUBLISHERS - CLICK HERE!
Saturday, November 27, 2010
The Re-Shaping Learning conference at the University of Brighton in July 2010 aimed to bring together the best researchers around Learning Spaces - who are usually separated because they work across the different disciplines of educational theory, design teaching, architecture and estates management. One of the things we have been interested in is how to make the best work more easily accessible (since it is scattered across many subjects and locations). So it is great news that Sense want to publish a book collection for us.
The conference was also one of the last events of CETLD, at the end of its five year life, and - as with the other CETLs - it is only now that some crucial emerging themes are becoming clear. A key concern of the conference was to widen debate about Learning Spaces beyond building some new innovative informal learning spaces. Many contributors agreed that it also urgently needs to include theoretical research and development, cross-disciplinary critical debate, improved methodologies for designing and evaluating spaces and a much more focussed engagement with the 'big' issues of learning as a social and spatial practice; that is, both unravelling the assumptions about where, how, why and for whom different forms of education are patterned in space and time, and how these might be better organised.
Monday, July 26, 2010
The person who stood out for me though was Simon Austin from Loughborough, one of the partners in the recent HEFCE -funded project on Academic Workspace. As he summarises:
"Many universities have tried to create new types of academic office environments that foster collaboration and knowledge flow between occupants, in a bid to increase creativity and innovation in teaching and research. However, core aspects of academic work also require privacy and opportunity for quiet reflection. A common strategy to address this tension is the provision of multiple work settings, which provide occupants with a mixture of private and social/shared environments. This presentation introduces the concept of default location and, with reference to two in-depth case studies, argues that this plays a critical role in the success of multi-setting office environments."
So, through rigorous comparative study, the research was able to show real qualitative differences in the experiences of academic staff/usability of space between having private offices with a shared area; and sharing an open-plan office with bookable 'seminar/private' spaces off. Most importantly this was not just a matter of functionality; it was how they felt they might be perceived by others if 'took up' space in particular ways.
Just great to see a well evidenced study, with clear and usable outcomes.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
- We'll explain the words we can use to define the qualities of well-designed places
- We'll describe processes and tools you can use to achieve good design
- We'll talk about the theories and policies you can use to deliver good design
- We'll help you learn by using pictures, stories, examples and activities"
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Met Jan Sellers at the Learning Landscapes conference: she is a National Teaching Fellow and her project is exploring labyrinths as a teaching tool. As she says:
"She began to explore the need for quietness, and time and space for reflection. She was aware of an increasing sense of stress, pressure and haste amongst students in their academic lives, and to some extent, a loss of joy in learning. (...)
The labyrinth works at a number of different levels. At its simplest the labyrinth provides a quiet, peaceful walk: a structured opportunity for reflection. The narrow path requires concentration to follow, thus offering a focus on the present; this may result in an experience akin to a walking meditation."
This led to the installation of the Canterbury Labyrinth at the University of Kent in 2008, as part of the Creative Campus Initiative (CCI). A team of facilitators at Kent are now working with this and other, temporary and portable, labyrinths, leading events including team-building, confidence building and workshops to foster creativity and deepen reflection within and across academic disciplines.
For more information, click here.
Image shows Canterbury Labyrinth in Winter: photograph by Jim Higham, University of Kent
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Just back from the Learning Landscapes conference at Queen Mary's College London, which was to launch their final HEFCE-funded report and tools. I gave a paper (called "where is the theory?") and also listened to an interesting and varied range of other speakers. Very full day - 10 speakers in total - so not much audience participation possible, but good in that the speakers were selected to open up debate, rather than merely describe the project report.
Left with a mixture of optimism about the vital potential of bringing together estate managers, architects and educationalists perspectives on learning spaces; and frustrated that we still have - despite the work of the groups like Learning Landscapes at the University of Lincoln - very few approaches or methods which offer a firm purchase on relationships between architectural design, teaching and learning encounters, and space/resource development and management. Or rather we have several, but which are being generated piecemeal across the sector, from across both academic and commercial locations.
So we are left to choose between - if we can even find the work - say, the LL approach based on a better understanding of the history of universities as a building type, or (from the Institute of Education in London) Paul Temple's ideas about thinking 'place' rather than 'space'; or even my own argument which is that we need to build better conceptual frameworks and research methods, preferrably on the best contemporary theoretical work across architecture, education and the social sciences.... the core argument behind the Towards Creative Learning Spaces book.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Getting close to my deadline for handing the manuscript of Towards Creative Learning Spaces: re-thinking the architecture of post-compulsory education into Routledge, the publishers, which is exciting and terrifying at the same time!
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
One of the important aspects of the recent CETLD-hosted Learning Spaces Special Interest Group (SIG) was the way it brought together people across education, and between educationalists from universities and from other institutions. So in addition to learning development people, there were also librarians and computing specialists; and as well as representatives from Brighton, Sheffield, Sheffield-Hallam, Sussex, Nottingham, Cardiff and Coventry universities there were also participants from the V& A and Writtle College.
· Outdoor formal garden space, Devon - good for formal, informal, complex, varied, surprising and aspiration reasons; challenges for weather, intrusions
· Herman Miller National Design Centre, London. Multi-functional modular open space. Good for flexible, adaptable, “aspirational”, interesting use of partitions; challenges – noisy, flexible, adaptable, jack of all trades etc. and noisy
· National Art library, V&A museum, good for quiet, peaceful space, old desks, beautiful view, challenges can include high noise at times
I have also recently been looking at the various Google offices again, and thinking two - potentially contradictory - thoughts. First, that we need to look at these too (and the whole impact of ideas of the 'knowledge economy' on office design. And second, that we need to know more about what is distinctive about spaces for post-compulsory learning, so that we can really understand what kinds of changes (whether physical or virtual) can enhance learning at this level.
Image shows facade of Herman Miller National Design Centre, recently opened in the Aldwych in London.