“Thinking made visual”

“Design is thinking made visual.”  — Saul Bass This quote cuts to the heart of what good design shows–when everything in a space just “clicks” and feels comfortable, it’s really because the design is just reflecting the philosophies and beliefs behind it clearly. How do we get to that point when redesigning educational spaces? Most importantly we get there by knowing, as the participants at the recent Reimagine:Ed conference discussed, how people learn.  And in a library, it’s about understanding how people learn in a […]

Good design doesn’t just happen

The evening that the death of Steve Jobs was announced, I was in a hotel finalizing my slides for a presentation ironically called “What Librarians Can Learn from Apple.”   As I watched some of the news coverage of his death, read the tributes online at sites like Wired, and saw comments scrolling through my Twitter and Facebook feeds, I felt inspired, like I’m sure many others were, by the single-minded passion with which he pursued his vision of design. Today is officially Steve Jobs Day, […]

Libraries are “passion centric”

What does it mean to live your passion?  Recently, Joel Adkins and I met at Texas State University to hear Sir Ken Robinson, author of The Element, who was speaking there as part of their lecture series.   His entertaining lecture was about the importance about schools helping students find their passion. He spoke up against the way schools “label” and “brand” vocational pursuits over academic pursuits.   And rather than steer students only towards academic interests for their future, he suggested valuing student passions no matter what, […]

Creating a culture of caring

Think of your favorite bookstore or coffee shop?  Why do you go back?  Is it the lighting, the warmth, the decor, the people who recognize you?   When a place makes us feel cared for–like we belong there, we invest our loyalty in it. At the Educon 2.2 unconference, Bud Hunt, John Pederson and Zac Chase led an excellent discussion on the “Caring Classroom.”   But what we discussed in the session went far beyond the classroom, and could be applied to library spaces as well as […]

A multi-faceted approach

After seeing Kim Cofino’s presentation on 21st century learning at Langwitches‘s blog, I had to continue to “pass it on” and share it here. Not only is the presentation a clear and concise summary, but Kim’s slides are also beautiful examples of how good design makes a presentation more effective and inspiringly memorable. The 21st Century Classroom View more presentations from Kim Cofino. (tags: web collaborations)

Taking design in small bites

An art group I participate in has been working on creating “artist trading cards” which are small decorated cards that artists trade, like baseball cards.  Here’s a sample: It struck me that there is an assignment there for helping students with image design. As Anne Lamott reminds us, breaking things into short assignments allows them to be tackled more easily. So I wondered about the idea of having students make ONE powerpoint slide (or image) as “art,”  creating a collage, mixing different textures and fonts, […]

Libraries, schools and third places?

As the culture outside our schools change, are our buildings changing to reflect the “outside” world?        Mitchell Joel’s interesting Six Pixels of Separation blog comments on a fascinating article in the Economist, “The New Oases,” about how people now are much more nomadic in their use of spaces.  (I found Joel’s blog via Garr Reynold’s excellent Presentation Zen blog). Wi-fi, mobility,  and portability allow people to connect wherever they go, and so people gravitate to both indoor and outdoor spaces where they can conveniently “connect” or gather. As the architect professor William […]

Embedding principles of design

  Things of beauty attract our eye, refresh our spirits, calm a troubled moment, and bring joy and inspiration to our lives.  I would even posit that good design can encourage us to “do better.” Continuing my thoughts from previous posts about design, I’m contemplating points that Daniel Pink made in Whole New Mind regarding the significance of it.   He writes about a study at Pittsburg’s Montefiore Hospital that demonstrated that patients in well designed rooms have quicker recovery times, and a study at Georgetown […]

Can we help our students blaze new trails?

Design Are we challenging our students enough when it comes to design?   A recent article in Library Media Collection by Joyce Valenza, led me to consider how we need to take more leadership to help students improve their presentation skills.    With great thanks to Joyce–whose links led me to other links( in the random, yet not so random way that happens online)–I’m sharing some hints and tools that can help students be more innovative and effective presenters. Dean Shareski’s helpful “Powerpoint Extreme Makeover” presentation is one that could be easily shared with […]