Saturday, May 30, 2009

Learning Spaces in Higher Education

I wrote Thursday, May 28, 2009: "I am planning visit to Brisbane, May 30 to June 2 to look at flexible learning and green ICT. Who should I talk to?". One of those who responded was Gordon Howell, Manager Learning Environments Support at QUT. He pointed out the proceedings of a 2008 colloquium: "Learning Spaces in Higher Education: Positive Outcomes by Design". I hope to get along to see QUT's work on Lab 2.0 and see if it lives up to the claims made. I am sceptical of the value for learning spaces with movable furniture:
Lab 2.0 is an experimental learning space designed for students to be able to alter their physical environment to suit their learning needs. Students are encouraged to "make the space work for them"
with new non-traditional forms of movable furniture and related technology. The space is enhanced with technology and collaboration software that enables students to share project work, documents and artefacts in real-time with other group members.

The Lab 2.0 space has been developed in a vacant space within the Library building on the Gardens Point campus. It sits adjacent to more formal computer labs and is seen as a complementary addition to the more structured University computing facilities. The space covers approximately 350 square metres and was redeveloped with a focus on flexibility, simplicity and reuse resulting in a total development cost of slightly less than $90,000 including all furniture, technology, power and data fittings. Based on traditional figures for space redevelopment within the University, the space was redeveloped for between a third and a fifth of the normal costs associated with space redevelopment. ...

From: Lab 2.0, by Geoff Mitchell, Greg Winslett, Gordon Howell, Learning Spaces in Higher Education: Positive Outcomes by Design, NGLS 2008 Colloquium, University of Queensland, 2009

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