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Project Plan: Space

How does the physical design of the space impact its use? How does it relate to the goals of the organization? Will changes be necessary? What is the ideal human-computer ecosystem for this organization? For example: should the space primarily emphasize physical interaction between people, with computers as a secondary tool, or are computers a central part of the use of the space?

General Needs

Tap-in’s classes are primarily held in a basement room in the McKinley Foundation. When we first visited Tap-in, we were under the impression that we would only have one moderately-sized room to work with (moderately-sized meaning 10 of Martin’s desks will fit, but it will be a squeeze, approx 13′ x 26′). In the course of our first visit, however, Sally was told that she could also use three surrounding rooms. Subsequently, there was a change of leadership; ┬áTap-in’s proposed expansion of physical space is now under question.

Tap-in likes to move around a lot, and the scholars especially like to spend time outside. In light of this, Sally wants to be able to provide ICTs that the kids can use outside and around the building. So in addition to the 10 desktop computers donated by Parkland, Sally bought 5 iPads (but only received 4). After discussing the utility, and more importantly versatility, of iPads, we and Sally began to think that maybe another kind of tablet might be better, like the Motorola Xoom. At this time, Tap-in will keep the iPads, but future tablet decisions may consider the emerging competitors.

Desktop-specific Issues

The space will be used for some formal instruction, but Sally also wants to the kids to be able to move around and collaborate. Therefore, we decided to use Martin’s mobile desks. With these desks, multiple configurations are possible. If Sally wants all the kids to be able to compute while following along with instruction at the front of the room, she can do so; alternatively, she can arrange for the kids to have more autonomy in their individual and group work. There will be a lot of “on-your-own” computing, where instructors will be available to the kids, but the kids work on their own projects without being lead through them step by step. The desk set-up is conducive to these different types of activities.

Here is an initial sketch of what the space looks like: