Tag Archives: Design

Shopping for libraries – Melbourne University libraries and the Library at the Dock

The most dangerous behaviour for librarians of any sort (public, school, technicians, teacher librarians) is to sit in their library and not go anywhere. Actually, I would say the same for teachers in their classrooms. Staying ‘home’  in a time of change in education and economic life can lead to redundancy.  Going out to visit libraries has been on our agenda recently for several reasons – mainly to take a look at innovative spaces and their functions and to enter into discussion about what we have in common with public and tertiary librarians, specifically the support of crucial literacies for young people.

Recently our library team enjoyed visits to several libraries – the very new Library at the Dock (in the Docklands precinct of Melbourne), 3 libraries at the University of Melbourne, and the University College Library (University of Melbourne). Apart from the sheer pleasure of seeing beautifully designed new library and community spaces, we loved the conversations and connection with librarians. Taking a look at how similar institutions do things differently is without doubt the most fantastic way to spark conversation which leads to evaluation and review of the way we currently do things with a view to an improved future.

The Library at the Dock

From the City of Melbourne website:

Library at The Dock is a three-storey building, 55.3 metres long by 18.1 metres wide, and is made from engineered timber and reclaimed hardwood.

Read about the building’s sustainability features (PDF, 600kb).

As well as a traditional library collection, the library and community centre offers an interactive learning environment and a state-of-the-art digital collection, multi-purpose community spaces and a performance venue that holds 120 people. Connections to Docklands’ rich maritime and Aboriginal heritage is embraced and celebrated with facilities to support local historical research and educational experiences.

This is a beautifully designed library in a fantastic location with gorgeous views. From what we observed, people living and working in the precinct happily use the library and its spaces in a variety of ways. I’m surprised that this exemplary project was funded, to be honest.

The Melbourne University libraries

The first library we visited on the Melbourne University campus was the newly refurbished Giblin Eunson Library. The first port of call was the newly redesigned library and IT help desk. Whereas the old desk was a traditional design where the desk formed a barrier between the librarian and the client, with the computer facing away from the student, the new desk was an irregular shape with the person on duty standing beside the student client and working through solutions with both people looking at the computer screen.

 There is so much we can learn from an ongoing relationship with university librarians in terms of library spaces and design for optimal student support, and in particular, in terms of our role in preparing our students for tertiary academic life (search/research skills, independent learning, navigation of online resources, bibliographies/in-text citations and more). This is particularly important for MHS because most of our cohort will end up at university. We have already developed a partnership in terms of shared online content for research – the Melbourne Uni librarians have kindly allowed us to use and modify their excellent Research Libguide.
In turn, we have shared our Libguides resources for ipad apps with the Melb Uni librarians –
libguideapps
The visit confirmed for us the importance of revisiting the integrating research skills into all assignments at MHS – something which is always a struggle with the overcrowded curriculum and emphasis on content delivery within the VCE.
Of course, we have also greatly benefited from our relationship with Carolyn Brown (CJ), who has worked with us in between her job as College Librarian at University College library. CJ has provided a wealth of expertise, a link to tertiary academia, and to the role teacher librarians play in preparing our students for university.
We all agreed that our visit to the Melbourne University libraries (and our visit to The Library at the Docks before that) were an invaluable form of PD for us all – rich, relevant, ongoing and inspiring.
We will be unpacking what we’ve learned throughout the year, and collaboratively informing our practice and our future directions so that we can best support students and teachers at Melbourne High School.
I’ve included photos of our visit to Melbourne University libraries here, and photos of our visit to the Library at the Dock here.

 

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No more razzamatazz – Libguides go light

After an initial leap into Libguides a couple of years ago (inspired by Joyce Valenza’s passion and inspirational examples) when we crammed our guides as tightly as we could with fantastic content, images and videos, I’ve decided to go the other way and start stripping my pages down in favour of user-friendliness. Of course, in the teacher librarian world, we delight in our bounty of wonderful websites, infographics, and the such, and we want the world to see and marvel. But we must eventually admit that the world is not always marvelling because they are running away in fear – isn’t it overkill? and doesn’t it stop people from doing what we really want them to do – FIND stuff?

My friend and (now distance-) colleague, Dawn, helped me see the light but not without some time passing, during which I remained in denial, and stubbornly held on to my bursting boxes in our libguides, my pages which had to be scrolled and scrolled and scrolled. Oh, and how could I forget my tabs – crowded clusters of them, but wait! under these tabs I also had more pages.

Enough!

At some point I have had to accept the unpleasant truth – that I’ve been carried away with sharing with the world my resplendent array of finds (every day – from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Diigo, Feedly, and similar places). I’ve had to admit with a heavy heart that it’s been more about ME (look what I can do!) and less about my readers – students, teachers, others. Sigh.

So, it’s going to be a long, hard slog, but I will get there, and my online resources will be easy to find, logically organised, selected with restraint.

I promise.

See, the library webpage is much neater and more inviting.

libraryfrontpage

Currently I’m working on English. Got rid of 5 tabs today; moved the pages into the body of the guide as hyperlinks.

englishlibguide

What do you think?

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Year 9 Art project on paper, iPad and Pinterest

                              

Our year 9s have been working through a project in art which combines the best in hands-on activity, iPad technology and social media. Mihaela designed a project in which students worked through a process starting with research of patterns from different cultural backgrounds and culminating in the students designing their own patterns using the iPad app, iOrnament, and creating an oversized paper plane decorated with their pattern designs.

The research process encouraged students to dip into a rich and diverse cultural store of patterns before deciding on the designs of their own, and including some of the elements of water, fire, earth, air and wood. They were to select one or more of these elements to fuse with the theme of rejuvenation of the spirit and sense of self.

I relish my partnership with Mihaela, Head of Art at Melbourne High School. Every teacher librarian appreciates the teacher who is happy to collaborate, and in my case the partnership is built on respect, reciprocal interests, love of creativity and experimentation,  a desire for excellence, and determination to create a challenging process leading to a synthesis of understanding and original design. After we chatted, I was clear about what Mihaela wanted for the students and how I could support the project. I created libguides with visual examples and links to further resources to get the students started and hopefully inspired.

patterns2

My research into examples of patterns within a broad range of cultural contexts was a joyful task for me. Pinterest is a rich online resource which allows the discovery and collection of an enormous number of high quality visual examples. I searched The Grammar of Ornament on Pinterest and was overjoyed with the results.  I referred the students to the Symbol Dictionary online for a bit of research on symbolic background. Delving into the how and why is always fascinating, and often informs the direction of research.

I didn’t want to overwhelm the students so I limited my pattern examples to some of the main cultural sources, but also linked to Pinterest boards I was creating along the way. If the students chose to, they could continue to browse collections of general patterns, and also African, Australian Indigenous, Chinese, Indian, Islamic, Japanese, Maori, Mexican, Moroccan, Russian and Turkish.  One of the advantages of using Pinterest is that you can continue to add visual examples to the collection without changing the link, so students will be able to view a continuously edited collection with one url. Students can also search within Pinterest itself. Design of online resources presents the challenge of depth without overwhelming the user, and a reasonable number of external links for further research.

The students were also introduced to four artists for whom patterns were an intrinsic part of their art works. I created Pinterest boards for Shirin Neshat, Ah Xian, Ginger Riley Munduwalawala and Sangeeta Sandrasegar.

     

It’s a shame that the quality of the images in the following slideshow is not fantastic. I’ve included some general art study, such as colour theory, amongst the Pattern mix. Although you can’t read some of the text, you get an idea of the type of process journalling they have done.
The best part of this project, as far as I’m concerned, is the richness of the process. This is what I love about art – it is an example of the kind of process which should be embedded in all subjects. I was intent on documenting this patterns project in a blog post because it makes transparent what is most valuable about learning – the process of research (wondering, browsing, getting lost, refining search), working and re-working ideas and techniques, synthesizing found and created concepts and ideas, evaluating and reflecting and much more. Wouldn’t it be a smart world that required all students to study Art?

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Coding literacy

Here’s something I’ve been hearing about and ignoring. Coding sounds too much like maths to me, and I was never good at that. But it’s not about me, I keep having to remind myself. It’s not about what I’m comfortable with, what I’m drawn to. Knowing how to code is going to be something really big in the life of our students. I don’t even know if our school is teaching this; I should really find out. Take a look at this video from Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.

Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are teaching coding online here. Reluctantly I’ve signed up just to see what the course is like for coding luddites like me. I’ve read a little about the role of schools in teaching kids these skills but haven’t delved any deeper until now. Darcy Moore’s article on ABC Splash caught my attention in my Facebook feed this morning. The fact that students are seeking out these free online learning opportunities outside school underlines the need for schools to revise what is worth including in the curriculum. School is no longer the only place to learn, and this is becoming more and more evident. Although it’s not a bad thing for learning to take place outside school, it does beg the question: are schools as relevant as they could be?

The Starter League is another place to go if you want to learn to code and design on the web. Thanks for the article, Darcy, it’s given me something to think about.

 

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Judith Way’s Virtual Aussie Libraries Tour

This has been cross-posted from the Melbourne High School Library blog.

I am privileged to have as a friend Judith Way. Judith makes things happen – I’ve said this before. As soon as I heard she hit on the idea of a virtual library tour I knew it was going to be good. And it is. Take a look here.

Thanks to everyone for sharing photo of your gorgeous libraries – so many ideas for those of us who are thinking about how we can improve our library spaces. And thanks to Judith for going to the effort of putting this project together.  It’s one step towards bridging the distances between all our libraries and sharing library design ideas.

Historypin looks fantastic – have a look at all the different tours.

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What is the future of reading?

The connections to networks of people makes reading an enriching experience. This video has made me think about how we can make learning at school more engaging and meaningful through technologies which connect students to each other and popular interests and debate.

Amplify’d from vimeo.com
The Future of the Book.

Read more at vimeo.com

 

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How does my Art wiki grow

My art wiki is growing fat in places. I thought I’d point to the areas which have expanded the most in the hope of reaching Visual Arts teachers and students.

The blogs page in Blogs and Nings has really expanded. Blogs are my favourite way of finding art resources since they often represent specialised interest areas. It’s a very personal and rich way of discovering art. Blogs are  a labour of love, expressing the unique personality of the author. I can’t think of a more inspiring way to learn.

Here are some examples:

Roberto Bernardi, La Tavolozza , 2010, oil on canvas, 22 x 30″

100 best art blogs Massive list here divided into useful sections (you might have to give up your day job for this)
Art Studio Secrets Some very practical video demonstrations (under ‘Demonstrations’)
Art in the real world “In The Real Art World” alerts you to the best exhibitions of representational “realism” which are on at the moment anywhere in the world.
Sketchcrawl A communal blog for compulsive sketchers
Ephemera assemblyman A beautiful blog of many different examples of art, illustration, design and more.
Urban sketchers This blog features sketches and often equally colorful stories behind the scenes by invited artists correspondents in more than 30 countries around the world. Some are architects and illustrators, others are graphic designers, web developers, painters or educators, all sharing the same passion for drawing on location.
Samuel Michlap Concept artist, illustrator, fine artist and more.
Painting perceptions Perceptual painting is painting life from a personal vision and experience not just recording appearance. As Cézanne said, “Painting is nature seen through a temperament.”
Lines and colors Lines and Colors is a blog about drawing, sketching, painting, comics, cartoons, webcomics, illustration, digital art, concept art, gallery art, artist tools and techniques, motion graphics, animation, sci-fi and fantasy illustration, paleo art, storyboards, matte painting, 3d graphics and anything else I find visually interesting.
Paper forest showcasing great paper stuff, 2D, 3D and animation.

The Image/Flickr page is bursting with links to wonderful sharing people on Flickr – a cornucopia of imagery to inspire students looking for ideas in different media and styles.

Here’s a small sample:

by Irina Troitskaya on Flickr

Guggenheim Museum’s flickr sets
Flickr photostream by laura@popdesign Laura writes the Animalarium blog.
Flickr origami set2by Eric Gjerde
Flickr origami setby Eric Gjerde
All Eric’s origami and tessellation sets are
here.See Eric Gjerde’s website Origami tessellations
Art21’s flickr photostream
Bibimorvarid’s Art&Design set
Bibimorvarid’s photostream
Papercraft and mail art– by Corduroy Cat
Altered playing cards by Corduroy Cat.
Atcs and inchies by Corduroy Cat.
Corduroy Cat’s contacts and groups on Flickr (lots of stuff to explore here)

The Images/Design page is another rich resource; here are only some of the links:

Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der Nature


Blickfang – the eye-catching covers of Weimar Berlin.
Thirty book covers from Poland (from A Journey From My Skull)
Kunstformen der Natur (art forms of nature) by Ernst Haeckel (flickr set saved by Eric Gjerde)
The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones. Eric Gjerde has scanned this book and shared it on Flickr.
Styles of Ornament by Alexander Speltz. Tessellation related photo plates from Alexander Speltz’s 1906 book, “Styles of Ornament”. Eric Gjerde has scanned this book and shared it on Flickr.
Digital library for the decorative arts and material culture
Great style illustrations by Iv Orlov
Typographic art
Design Online: Design Online is an electronic library from the University of the Arts, London, containing a digitised record of Design magazine for the years 1965 to 1974. There are around 100 pages in each magazine, which are available as full screen size black-and-white or colour images.

Erwin Poell

There’s so much animation out there,   I love collecting examples. Amazing creativity to be discovered in this section, and fun to watch.

Phosphoro – is an award-winning student 2D animation (Read about it here. )

Of course, the wiki contains much, much more than this.  Some sections are more comprehensive than others, but you can be sure that I’m always on the lookout for new resources to support the teaching and learning of Art-related studies.

Why don’t you have a look for yourself?


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