The following are generally accepted techniques, methods, and processes to envision, plan, implement and sustain technology in learning spaces that aligns with users’ needs. When considering technology for learning spaces, it is important to first think in terms of the activities that need to be supported, rather than the physical attributes and specifications of the technology itself.
Visioning and Getting Started
- Start by fully understanding the overall vision of the initiative and specific objectives of each new or renovated space under consideration. Work closely with planners, architects, engineers, designers, and other stakeholders to integrate the technology viewpoint as early as possible in a renovation or build project.
- Get a clear picture of the overall current state of technology-use at your institution and understand the standards, and restrictions put in place. Proactively seek/request related information and documentation if necessary. This will help inform key decisions in subsequent phases of the project.
- Understand the budget and timeframe you are working with. Check how this aligns with any existing plans for implementation/rollout of technology and if there are overlaps, see if there are opportunities to create synergies between them.
- Think beyond the time-frame you are planning for. Wherever feasible, emphasize flexibility and adaptability in the physical structure and building systems in order to accommodate changes in technology over the life of the building.
- Understand the target audience the project is intended to serve (e.g. Students, Faculty, Staff, Community, Customers), and remember to think both from the users’ and supplier’s perspective.
- Aim to minimize post-implementation fixes and modifications which can increase costs significantly.
Operations, Evaluation and Sustainability
- Ensure you have enough support staff with the right skillsets to service the newly implemented technology. Remember, “If you install it, you need to support it.”
- Develop a hardware sustainability plan that includes robust lifecycle management, including purchasing, inventory, deployment, maintenance, and surplus/recycling.
- Monitor and evaluate the performance of the technology in an ongoing way beyond implementation – frequency of usage, user satisfaction, support service etc – for refinement and improvement.