Tutorial 9   Shape the Physical Habitat

In this tutorial you use the Habitat Board to make alterations or full revision to the spaces where your lesson or unit will take place. Click HERE for examples from NBCS.

Step 1: Ideate

Before tackling what you do for real, spend some time gathering possible ideas. Use the sources below to gather as many ideas as possible. Capture these on small Post It notes. For the moment, don't worry if the ideas are good or bad, fully formed or half-formed, practical or impractical, etc. It's best not to discuss or communicate with your team as you are ideating. Instead, spend time silently exploring the stimuli listed below and individually contributing ideas on Post It notes.

 

Ideate Source 1 - The Habitat Cards

The small square cards represent spatial archetypes. You can use them to provoke your ideas, or to organise your ideas, or as a key on your final sketch (Step #5 below). We took our inspiration for the Cave, Campfire, Watering Hole & Mountain Top cards from this this article by Prof David Thornburg.

A space that allows a student to avoid external stimulation and engage with their inner world Relationship - 1:self Keyword: reflection

A space that allows a student to avoid external stimulation and engage with their inner world
Relationship - 1:self
Keyword: reflection

A space that allows a guru to offer their expertise Relationship - 1:many Keyword: expertise

A space that allows a guru to offer their expertise
Relationship - 1:many
Keyword: expertise

A space that allows people to interact with each other Relationship - many:many Keyword: collaboration

A space that allows people to interact with each other
Relationship - many:many
Keyword: collaboration

A space often brings an agenda with it! Empty space, or agile space, has a blank slate feel to it.

A space often brings an agenda with it! Empty space, or agile space, has a blank slate feel to it.

A space with tools and materials for students to create powerful physical and/or technological products and artefacts

A space with tools and materials for students to create powerful physical and/or technological products and artefacts

Whatever the normal boundary of the space, what if you went beyond those boundaries? 

Whatever the normal boundary of the space, what if you went beyond those boundaries? 

You can use the Mountain Top card on the Habitat board to represent space where students can display products and artifacts from their learning journey. 

 

Ideate Source 2 - Your Design So Far

Silently refer back to the People board and/or the Storyboard. Consider the sorts of experiences, interactions, tools and resources that are implicated by your design thus far.

Especially what sorts physical experiences, configurations and behaviours:

  • ...would suit the People personas you have defined?
  • ...would be in keeping with your vision and values?
  • ...are implicated across your Storyboard?
 

Ideate Source 3 - Educational Contexts

New ideas will come from outside your experience. If you are a Secondary teacher, look at Primary spaces. If Primary, look at Secondary or pre-school spaces. If you teach Science, look at how English or PDHPE teachers use space. If you teach English, visit a Music or Visual Arts space. 

Ron Clarke Academy

20 Ideas for Spaces

Image Search "Learning Spaces" 

Ideate Source 4 - The Wide Wide World

An excellent source of new ideas and thinking is the wider world outside of schooling. Consider these sources for ideas:

  • think of a work context that has a parallels to your topic or content, such as: English -> newspaper office, PDHPE -> Olympic Games, Music -> a recording studio, Science -> the CSIRO. 
  • look at the challenges in your Person cards, or values on the People board, and think of a non-school context where these challenges are faced. e.g. student has to move -> circus, student needs structure -> army camp, student loves chatting -> cocktail party. e.g. vision for creativity -> Google HQ, vision for collaboration -> a hockey match, vision for entrepreneurial mindset -> start up
 

Step 2 - Choose a Big Idea

We need a unifying idea for space - place the "Big Idea" in the middle of the Habitat board, and choose a simple phrase that will serve as the big idea for how you use space. If you have Big Idea for your Storyboard, you might be able to use the same one for your Habitat. Some example Big Ideas:

  • Think! Make! Move!
  • Google HQ
  • Every Child, Every Moment
  • Students as Journalists
  • We ARE IN the Music Industry
  • Bootcamp
  • A Blank Canvas
 

Step 3 - Sieve Your Ideas

Now we need to figure out what ideas to keep! 

Have a discussion about your spatial constraints. Do you have a budget? Do you have any time? Do you have one space or do you change spaces or share spaces? 

Considering which ideas will work with your Big Idea and your constraints, have each team member vote with a tick for 5 Post It notes to proceed with. Take the top 5 or 10 Post It notes. 

 

Step 4 - Create Several Draft Sketches

Generate several different sketches of your space. Vote for the best sketch and transfer it the Habitat board. Optionally, you can use the square cards as a key.

 

 

Step 5 - (Optional) Create a Physical Prototype

Go to the Prototyping page and follow the instructions for the physical habitat. 

 

Step 6 - Test & Iterate Your Prototype

Use your sketches or physical model as a prototype to be tested. You could put these somewhere public and seek feedback over a week or two. Look carefully at tutorials #5 and #7 for this process.