The Creative Learning Space was first suggested to DIC by the Canberra Primary Leadership, who were intrigued by the work we had done, namely “Priming the Classroom Experience” and the “Fidget Module Trial“.
We were shown a space that they had freed up in the first floor of their school compound, which they were planning to build a room for their Student Leaders, but had no concrete plans as of yet.
When asked if we were interested in designing the space, we agreed and started looking into how we could apply the Priming principles to this physical room.
The brief was as follows:
- To design a room for the Student Leaders of Canberra Primary
- To allow students to organize meetings efficiently
- To allow students to carry out projects that they are responsible for
- To provide a comfortable room for general activities
Images of space to be redesigned
This is the model DIC adopted, along with Canberra Primary School, to pursue this project.
Step 1: DIC does research and pitches concept to Canberra Primary, who in turn makes an ITQ (invitation to quote) to external vendors
Step 2: Canberra Primary selects the best work from the multiple proposals received
Step 3: DIC works with the selected firm to iron out the technical details of the space
We did some background research into how spaces are designed in a user-centric way, as we wanted this Creative Learning Space to be utilised in a manner that would benefit the Student Leaders who would be eventually using it.
Referencing the abovementioned books, we planned and executed a co-creation workshop to gain more insights into how the room could be designed.
Conducted in Canberra Primary School and featuring a participation of over a hundred Canberran Student Leaders of Primary 3 to Primary 6 level, the workshop not only gave the Student Leaders a quick exposure to what design thinking encompasses, but more importantly allowed them to be involved in the design of their future Creative Learning Space.
The following describes the flow of the workshop.
For the first exercise, the students were grouped and tasked to draw up a User Journey Map, jotting down activities that they did on a typical school day.
Next, they were asked to elaborate on the timeline they had just drawn up, by framing their “busiest day ever”. Placing the students in this mental state allowed them to pour out details about what they liked/disliked about their day, their pain points, and also when they were likely to take a break.
For the next activity, the students used hexagonal cutouts with the words WHO/WHAT/WHY on them to organically populate the functions of the space.
This was done with the intent to get them thinking about WHO would use the space, WHAT they would do in that space, and WHY they would use this space compared to anywhere else.
Using pre-cut photos of spaces from Pinterest, the students were tasked to select pictures that resonated with them for the different users and use-cases they had written down using the hexagons. They would then stick these pictures, along with a post-it explaining their choice next to the hexagonal tiles to finish up their Collage.
The final exercise in the workshop was to prototype their desired space using Lego blocks. This proved to be a fun exercise for them, and there were alot of interesting outcomes that the students produced in the time that they had. The groups took turns presenting their concepts to the rest of the participants, wrapping up the workshop proper.
In conclusion, the workshop helped us gain some valuable insights, namely that:
- The room would have to facilitate the few pockets of time they had during their busy days
- It would have to be spacious enough for them to prototype their projects
- The students would need a presentation area to present their work to the teacher-in-charge of the project
- They would need a way to pause/resume projects they were doing in the room
Visualization of a “day in the life of a Canberra student”
After gathering insights from the codesign workshop we held with the Student Leaders of Canberra Primary, we sought a way to synergize our findings with the research we carried out around priming and cognitive/behavioural science.
We modified the hexagon tiles from the codesign workshop we previously facilitated to carry out our own analysis of the space, using OBJECTS/ACTIONS/FEATURES as our tools instead. We then paired them with the priming cards to see if it would lead to an interesting outcome.
After selecting the appropriate Priming Strategies, we used images from Pinterest to create another reference Collage, and moved into creating themes based on the different zonal configurations we came up with.
They were mainly: Mobility, Collaboration, Leadership and Oasis
We did some preliminary prototypes using CAD and physical mockups.
We selected 2 themes, Canberra Oasis and Canberra Creative Hub, to be pitched to the Canberra Leadership. They were pleased with the details of both concepts, but ultimately settled for the Creative Hub, which we further refined for our final outcome.
The final outcome of the project was proposed to Canberra Primary in the form of a render, showing multiple views of the space and its zones/components.
Certain features of the room are marked out with a number and coloured ring, indicating the Priming Strategy that was referenced in coming up with the design.
The strategies can be found HERE.
^ please click to enlarge
The room can be split up into 5 key features:
- Idea walls
The large painted idea wall surfaces provide an allowance for students to write with whiteboard markers wherever they want to, without being restricted to a rectangular board.
This primes them to be comfortable with penning ideas down quickly and fearlessly.
- Tiered platform
The tiered platforms give students the opportunity to sit around and discuss work casually, breaking away from desks that they are used to in class and priming them to be less inhibited.
It also doubles as a presentation spot for the students, using the fold-out portrait TV screen as a medium to host content.
The peepholes are meant to bridge the gap between Student Leaders and the rest of the student population, giving them a glimpse into the canteen on the other side of the wall.
It also visually primes them to observe the behaviours of the stakeholders they serve and design for.
- Mobile and modular furniture
The furniture was chosen to be of the mobile and modular kind, to facilitate the type of group work that Student Leaders are tasked to do.
This would involve them splitting into teams and tackling different projects, be it small campaigns or large events.
- Wall Typography and Blazer Feature
Big, bold words that stand out on the wall call attention to the virtues that Student Leaders should embody at all times.
Along with the minimalist blazer display, it primes them to identify with their role in the community, whenever they step into this room.