Habitat and culture
In order to support and stimulate the student’s actions, imagination and mind-set (the inner elements), the outer elements of the DesUni model create a learning environment that assists teachers in constructing an educational setting in which students are likely to use their imagination, act and adopt a design-oriented mind-set in their work with the curriculum. The five outer factors guide teachers in designing a design-oriented educational setting, with the intention of changing the student’s expectations from being passive receivers of theoretical knowledge, to becoming active creators of knowledge and primary agents in their own teaching process.
To assist teachers in constructing an educational setting, Habitat and Culture in the DesUni model highlights the importance of the physical environment (habitat) and the culture of learning to any learning situation. Habitat sets the physical boundaries of the learning situation, whereas culture is concerned with the spoken and non-spoken visions, norms and values. Culture is also related to the lifestyle and expectations of the individual student involved in the learning situation. Culture deals with people, interdisciplinarity, norms and values of the student group, teaching culture, institutional university culture, etc.
DesUni perceives the learning environment as a playground where things can be tried out, experimented with and prototyped. The physical layout, the flexibility, the furniture, the walls, and how the space is arranged are important components in the learning process (Oblinger, 2006). One must be able to rearrange the room by moving tables and chairs to try out different learning situations. In this process the teacher and the students should be able to change the room to give it a different meaning and significance along with the changes of content and processes of learning. In this sense, the space is a matter of how the learning environment is designed as well as how the learning is planned in the space.
Oblinger, D. G. (2006), Learning Spaces, Educause.