The second in our series of articles about the four key learning zones – distinct areas designed for specific learning tasks – looks at a space designed for collaboration. Creating zones for specific tasks helps anchor the learning in the long term memory and primes behaviour appropriate to the space, which in this case is working together.
Being able to work as a team is an important life skill as well as one that employers from all industries and sectors look for. Enabling collaborative tasks in a rigid environment that is hard to adapt is difficult so this zone is designed to be agile, responsive and easy to reconfigure.
The Collaborate zone is an agile space with furniture that learners can rearrange to suit the requirements of the task in hand, where they can share ideas and work in teams. Mobile upholstered seating and writable LearningSurface® tables and screens make this a truly dynamic, energetic space in which to share ideas and collaborate.
What it’s for:
team tasks, peer-to-peer and group learning in various sizes and configurations.
If your students are working in pairs or groups on a presentation or research project, this agile space allows them to come together easily and in comfort. The Collaborate zone is also great for peer to peer learning; small groups can gather around a screen to collaborate or present to each other, pairs of students can grab a table or two and work together.
The dry-wipe LearningSurface® tables and screens allow learners to explore ideas quickly and collaboratively (as long as everyone has a pen!) and a quick photo captures their outputs. Larger groups can also be accommodated in this space – simply arrange the furniture to suit.
In this zone students are encouraged to move the tables, screens and seating to create a work area that suits their task. Research proves that being able to influence your environment creates a sense of ownership that improves engagement and productivity, so allowing students to ‘own’ the space has genuine benefits.
Why it works:
the neuroscience bit
As well as giving students a valuable sense of ownership, the Collaborate zone works because learning is an active and social process occurring as a result of observation and modelling. The brain can also learn vicariously while watching others. The design of the collaboration zone allows for both physical and cognitive collaboration, allowing students to learn alongside and from each other.
In addition to working and learning together, the Collaboration zone’s writable surfaces allow shared ideas to develop between students. Research shows that visual communication and the ability to explain ideas through sketching / scribing facilitates learning because it strengthens the neuronal pathways to the brain, providing additional routes to enable recall from long term memory.
If you’d like help designing a Collaboration zone for your classroom, we’d be delighted to help!