I gave a talk yesterday in the lab for the Spaces for Learning conference at Umeå University. Here is the abstract:

From optical fiber to conceptual cyberinfrastructure

Could an acqarium or a bean bag be more important to a technology rich learning space than a workstation or a screen? Using HUMlab as a case study, and the current discussion of cyberinfrastructure and e-science as a vantage point, a number of factors will be discussed that play into the design, use and development of technology enriched learning spaces. It will be argued that we need to be concerned with detail as well as more general design principles and what may be called conceptual cyberinfrastructure.

It was great to do this in the lab as I could physically draw on HUMlab and the history of the lab. Among the more general points I made was:

  • the importance of allowing and supporting exploration
  • the importance of paying attention to pay attention to small details
  • the importance of persistently engage with the space
  • think about design principles
  • the importance of situating spatial configuration, design and technology in a held-together conceptual-level framework
  • retrofitting is always going to be important (work with the space you have – making it situated)
  • the task is not only to find out about what can be done and how, but also to make it happen – and to that we need to engage in institutional, policy-making work

I have come up with an array of tentative design principles (for an article I am working on) and I will present those here at some point, and part of my argument was that we we need to work at multiple levels:

  1. details (that can play a very important role)/actual implementation
  2. design principles
  3. conceptual cyberinfrastructure/conceptual underpinning

I also related to the discourse of cyberinfrastructure and e-science – both critically and in terms of how the humanities can position itself to tweak that discourse and create funding opportunities etc.

Also, I enjoyed making use of two screens when presenting (experimenting) and also the screenscape in the new part of HUMlab.