A grand design for active digital learning

This week I wangled a visit to the digital learning facility work-in-progress that is UC‘s InSPIRE centre, directed by Prof Rob Fitzgerald and site-managed by Jonno – thanks for the tour, people.

InSPIRE will be “a focus for research into innovative good practice pedagogy that utilises ICT to enhance student learning outcomes”. So it’s a technology-enhanced space for teaching and learning about technology-enhanced teaching and learning. Deliciously meta! And if, like me, you wonder about the little ‘n’ in amongst all those caps, ‘InSPIRE’ stands for Innovative Sustainable Practical Imaginative Research Education.

Below are images I snapped; see the InSPIRE site gallery for building plans.

It is exciting to preview this embodiment of technology-enhanced active learning; and I like the approach Rob is taking: set it up then see how it’s used; like building the footpaths once you can see how the space is used. That means you build in flexibility – roll-out lecterns, lots of AV points in the floor, digital switching to project one room’s proceedings into another.

InSPIRE has all you need to create and share media (down to kitchenettes :), and it includes some great lo-tech: writeable walls, and a good-quality audio podcast room — with video capability, yes, but – isn’t podcast mobility great?

It has an industrial, resource-conscious aesthetic: projecting onto walls rather than screens, exposed ducts, recycled hardwood timbers, underground 25kl rainwater tank.

And it embodies a DIY ethic: BYO mobile or laptop and data: input plates for USB to project your data or to record proceedings; mobile interactive.

I can’t wait to see it in action. It’d be a wondrous venue for THATCamp Canberra, or any other smallish conference.

Maybe Rob will chime in if I have munged any details. (If he doesn’t comment, let’s just assume it’s all just so 🙂

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