I chose the Innovation/Makerspace Center at Cal State Fullerton to speak about as my active learning space. I really like the variety of stations and the overall look of the space. I would imagine that students enjoy using this space. The author summarizes the space as,
[The center was] created to fulfill students’ creativity, innovation and talent through advanced technology such as virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D printing, Microsoft Surface Hub, Raspberry Pi, and high-end computing.
The strongest affordances I identified are listed below:
1. Audio/Visual Interface and Control
A lot is packed into the space. There is a variety of computers systems (PC/Mac), as well an AR/VR stations. This variety makes the space more valuable and more accommodating to several different end users.
One suggestion I would make for this affordance is the addition of whiteboards that could accommodate more than one group at a time. Although there is a very impressive (interactive) whiteboard, I only see one. More teams could utilize and may find it more useful if they had their own whiteboards and did not have to share the interactive display. I can’t tell for sure how much control that is available for users to control the sound and visuals, but this could also be an area of improvement.
2. Immersive Technology to Support In-Room Learning
This station is my favorite and looks like a lot of fun. I like how they have it set up with comfort in mind and the screen is plenty large enough to interface with, along with the VR headsets.
Space and noise would be my concern for the VR/AR station. Normally, when users are experiencing VR, often they are noisy, and this could be a distraction for individuals and groups that are sharing the space.
3. Access to Adjacent Informal Learning Spaces
I love the glass walls of the space. You can see that it is in the library and adjacent informal learning spaces included in the library. It looks good aesthetically, and is more inviting and comfortable, especially if there were 32 people in the space at a time.
Again, noise could be a concern for the room itself, but also the adjacent learning areas in the library. Even if it is sound proofed well, the movement and activity in the room could distract others in the library who were looking for more of a serene area to study and do work.
4. Furniture Configuration Flexibility
The furniture configuration flexibility in the space is nice and very appropriate for the variety of stations included in the room. All the tables and chairs are mobile, as well as the interactive display, which could be extremely helpful for group work and reconfiguring the space to accommodate the groups that may need to modify it.
Even though the furniture is very configurable, there is not a lot of extra space. Perhaps if they reconfigured the tables and seating, more open floor space would be available, but it seems tight.
5. Diverse Patterns of Use
This is the strongest affordance that I see with the space. There is so much diversity of use. They have an amazing array of uses and patterns of uses in a reasonably sized footprint. You could accommodate a variety of computer related activities and uses in the space.
Although there is a work area in the center without computers, I still feel that if the space were larger, the table and work areas in general could be larger. Perhaps cabinets or storage areas could be incorporated to allow more diverse technologies to be included in the space. I do see how not having cabinets could help keep the space cleaner, but I would want even more work space for the type of activities I work on.
6. Pilots and Prototyping
Pilots and Prototyping is another affordance where this space scores well. There is a 3D printer included to work on prototyping and even an open area (the only real open area in the room) nearby where protypes could be tested if needed. I like how they did leave room next to the printer and it is also included near the worktables in the center of the room. The way the tables are arranged in the photo show thoughtful design of how workers would use the space.
More space and more storage are needed for supporting a station with a 3D printer.
7. Interior Visibility
The interior visibility of the space is great. The room is very open, and the walls are transparent which makes it look even more open.
I can’t tell if one wall (behind the photographer) is open to the outdoors, but I am assuming it isn’t due to the lighting. With that assumption in mind, the lighting could be improved. The space’s lighting, as well as the libraries interior lighting is not ideal for users who are concerned with color, like designers.
The transparency of the room overall is a positive, the openness and transparency of the space makes it look larger and sleeker.
Moveable partitions could be helpful to some users who might be adversely affected or distracted by other groups working inside the space. Electroluminescent glass could be helpful to adjacent learning spaces and the users who are working adjacent to the learning space.
9. Visual Displays
The sizes and variety of displays seem very appropriate. The variety of computer systems are also impressive regarding the space size.
The lighting and reflection that are evident from the photo could be a problem for some users, depending on the type of work they were conducting in the space. Non reflective colors, or in this rooms case, more window and lighting control would be helpful.
10. Physical Inclusion and Universal Design
The space is open, and all the stations are accommodating to a variety of users. All the individual stations are small and accommodating to each participant. The flooring is nice and flat and could accommodate wheelchairs. Hazards are certainly minimized.
It is hard to tell from the photo, but I do not see any devices that specifically target users who might need accommodations, whether it be the visually impaired, or headphones. Any sort of storage could help house some of these devices that might be needed, while still maintaining the clean, minimal design that is in place.
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This is the education and instructional technology blog of Alex Swan.