What do you get if you put 55 educators, designers and architects in a room filled with scissors, paper, glue, bubblewrap, paddlepop sticks, modelling clay, tape and give them Post-Its, posters, wall and window space? You get the beginnings of designing our learning spaces for the future.
The 2018 theme for the Learning Environments (LEA) Queensland Chapter events has been ‘Design Thinking’. The final event in the series was a workshop, held in CiTEL, that provided participants with the opportunity to put Design Thinking into action.
Workshop facilitators Gabrielle Kempton and Tim Osborne shared their wealth of experience in education, team facilitation and design thinking in a turbo-charged two hour workshop.
Gabrielle is the Head of Learning Creativity at St Paul’s School. Gabrielle works with teachers across all discipline and Year levels to build shared understandings of Creativity and to support teachers when adopting pedagogical approaches that foster learners’ creativity. Tim Osborne is the Head of Learning Design Thinking at St Paul’s School. Tim works with teachers in exploring the potential of design thinking as a pedagogical approach from PP to Year 12 and across all subjects.
The brief of the workshop was, “Faced with the challenge of transforming conventional learning spaces into environments that promote student autonomy, this workshop is designed to harness the collective expertise of Educators and Architects. Participants will be guided through the design thinking process to collaboratively revision and invent learning environments that make innovative pedagogy and learning workable, engaging and visible.” Participants worked in teams which were engineered with a mix of educators, architects and designers.
Guided by design thinking processes, by the end of the afternoon every team had systematically worked through a range of design principles and approaches. It was clear that there is more than just pedagogy and learning environments that link architects and educators – the shared passion for getting hands-on in construction was evident. Creativity was free-flowing and, using the range of materials provided, teams built models to enact their chosen design principles.
As a venue for the workshop, CiTEL’s technology, large versatile floor space and furniture provided the perfect collaborative workshop space for presentation and hands-on construction of models, and this was followed by a site tour of the College.
The use of Design Thinking as a theme for the LEA Queensland Chapter’s events has been very successful. In February the program began with a screening of the documentary ‘Most likely to Succeed’ followed by a panel discussion. The partner event with this was a site tour of Living Faith Lutheran Primary school, North Lakes. Living Faith has put into practice some of the principles from High Tech High, featured in the documentary.
The June LEAQ Symposium brought together several speakers and offered the opportunity for group discussion to explore the theme: DESIGN THINKING + PEDAGOGY = INNOVATIVE LEARNING. Appropriately, the venue was River City Labs in The Precinct, Brunswick street, a series of alternative spaces for start-ups. The partner event visit in July was to Hillcrest Christian College.
More information about the Association for Learning Environments events can be found on the website https://a4le.org.au/news/qld/ .
As a member of the LEAQ Committee and Director of CiTEL I am pleased that Lourdes Hill College has been able to play a part in this initiative to bring educators, designers and architects together towards the common goal of ‘Innovative Learning’. Effective design of the learning environment is indeed key to the future of learning.