Huddle Spaces in the Classroom: Are You Set Up for Collaboration?
Rick Wagner, CTS | Education Account Executive
The familiar classroom of the early 2000’s, 90’s, 80’s usually consisted of a chalkboard, an overhead projector of some sort (remember when they were wheeled in on a cart?), and all of the students sat in rows facing the front of the room. These classrooms have changed considerably! Chalkboards have become interactive white boards or touch screen displays, and notebooks have been replaced by 1 to 1 devices. Even the layout of classroom furniture looks different; rather than a configuration of rows, desks are more often being arranged in groups. When new, interactive technology comes together with grouped furniture, a flexible space for collaborative learning is formed.
This new and progressive space can be identified in a number of ways, but here at ESCO we typically refer to them as “huddle spaces.” Huddle spaces allow students to do exactly as the name describes – huddle, a means of being together and working together to reach a common goal. Almost all huddle spaces share the following a few key components:
- Multiple students per huddle, usually around four to six
- One display, or monitor, per huddle that is easily viewed by each member of the group
- Each member of the huddle can display their personal device on the larger huddle screen, allowing work and control to be shared
- One main projection screen and/or large monitor at the front of the room where huddles can view and share work with other huddles
Aside from the basics, huddle spaces can differ quite a bit depending on the purpose the space is serving, or even the types of students using them. The following points are a few ways huddle spaces can become unique to fit the specific needs of a classroom:
- Movable Furniture – Some huddle spaces are fixed in a particular place while others allow teachers to adjust the layout of the room according to what is needed.
- Wireless vs. Hard Wired Display – Similar to movable furniture, the decision to create huddle spaces that operate wirelessly or wired may dependent upon how often the space needs to be adjusted.
- Interactive vs. Non-interactive – While our team advises that interactive technology is a learning trend that is most beneficial to students, not all huddle spaces are designed to be interactive. This, again, depends on the purpose of the space.
- Traffic Capability – While our team advises the most flexibility possible, the following capabilities can be included or excluded depending on what is needed within the classroom:
- Content shared between individuals within the huddle
- Content shared between huddles
- Content from one or multiple huddles can be shared on the classroom’s main display (usually at the “front” of the room)
- Content can be pushed from the teacher’s device or display to the huddles
I am often told by teachers that they are extremely excited to see the level of interaction and immersion achieved by their students when presented with this type of learning environment. Rather than being “talked at” as they might have experienced in an early classroom setting, students are now becoming more connected and involved. Talk to ESCO today about how our team can help amp up your learning environment with huddle space technology that is designed specifically for your classroom’s needs.