Designing Collaborative Learning Spaces — Webinar!

Join Shannon Miller(moderator), Georgia’s amazing Andy Plemmons and yours truly for a Future Ready Webinar on Tuesday, August 15th!  We’ll be talking about designing collaborative spaces for students, particularly libraries, and have lots of suggestions!  I’ll also be talking about how to involve students. More details here!  Sign up online here!

Designing a space? First figure out your intentions.

Many of us are reconsidering our library/learning spaces and how they can better fit the needs of our students and schools.   But before we start buying furniture or retrofitting our rooms, we need to establish our intentions for the space.   A well-designed space works because all the pieces of it serve intentional purposes — purposes that are matched to those who use the space.  It means, in a classroom or library, meeting the many “intentions” that make it flexible throughout the given day or year. […]

Gleaned from the conference: TXLA Tidbits

The Texas Library Association conference in Ft. Worth last week hosted some excellent speakers as well as authors galore.    Aside from the excellent presentations which I will write about in another post, here are my “discovered” tidbits: On the vendor side: I was reminded that Ebsco’s ebook offerings are something to examine again.  They have several different distribution models– single use e-books, three user e-books, or a subscription model similar to Overdrive’s.    E-books either embed into the database(which I knew) or can be read […]

Library Design with learners in mind

This week, our library’s architect and I presented a case study at the CEFPI (Council of Educational Facility Planners International) Southern Conference in Austin.  It was fascinating presenting to such a different audience (mostly architects and facility directors) who are deeply trying to grapple with issues facing education.  I attended other sessions as well and listened as they struggled to make sense of the same issues we as educators debate–standardized test scores, the impact of technology, the value of a library, etc. In our session, […]

Library Design with Intention

In my recent presentation at TCEA2013, I shared ideas for rethinking/revamping library design to meet the needs to students and teachers.   Most critical to our approach is to take an intentional view of our own spaces–to look at them as a stranger would and identify  obstacles to use, observe how students are learning in the library space, notice the impacts of technology on how your library functions, ask students and teachers what they would like.   Prakish Nair, of Design Share, suggests that we create […]

What’s your intent? Design, intention and planning

In two presentations at TCEA’s Tecsig conference, David Jakes thoughtfully approached how we make our spaces reflect what we know about learning and teaching.  Whenever we approach a learning space, shouldn’t we approach it with intent and thoughtfulness?  Yet how often do we actually do that?  Or how often do we revert to known formulas, room configurations and furnishings? “The first step in rethinking the classroom is to disregard the notion that it has to be a classroom.” – D. Jakes What leads us to […]

“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, […]

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 […]