At our recent Human Centred Design event we heard from Louise O’Donnell of Seed Production and Peter McGovern, Principal at Edmund Rice College. Louise shared her recent experience working directly with teachers, students and their families to transform learning outcomes in schools. Peter discussed how carefully designed spaces are changing the way teachers teach and students learn.
Louise, as a member of the team given the brief to transform education in NSW, commented that the ideas and process for change can be found within itself: the schools, teachers, students, policy makers and the broader education department. She observed that Human Centred Design is primarily about understanding the people you’re trying to design for, designing from their perspective and creating ideas they’ll embrace. This design thinking can be applied to any creative process, whether it be educational policy or architecture.
Peter presented a relevant case study. Since 2012 Edmund Rice College has undergone a strategic transformation that is evident in the evolution of its built environment. He suggested that a school’s vision could not become apparent within a stagnant built context and that new and inspired space goes hand in hand with facilitating fundamental change. A school traditionally focused on achievement through sport is reinventing itself and realising successes in other areas such as the arts. The new Waruga House, a creative arts hub and the new Narandha Learning Centre (Library) are just a few examples transforming the old into the new.
The evening wrapped up with robust panel discussion on how technological change is affecting the built environment and how schools will need to rethink and adapt their built assets. David Fuller, the CEO of Alesco, pointed to the objective saying “build in flexibility, add light and air and let them figure out how to use it”.
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Our next Human Centred Design event will be held July 18, with a focus on the health and wellbeing. Watch this space for further information.