Over a year ago, when we were planning for our newly renovated high school space, we had the opportunity to test Steelcase’s new Media:scapes, a collaborative workstation that easily allows for 4-6 users to connect their computers, iPads, or netbooks to a “puck”. Pressing on the puck, one can easily project their screen to a flat screen display that all of the users can see. You can read about my initial experiences using the Media:scape from January 2009 (http://vvrotny.org/2010/01/12/test-driving-collaborative-workstation/)
Our first Media:scape was delivered just over two weeks ago and we have been begun using this device various classes. After two weeks of experimentation, we have been to determine what advantages the media:scape provides as opposed to students gathered together at a table or in desks. Here are some of my initial observations:
Using the media:scape provides a central focus point for the group, rather than being hidden behind their individual screens. This promotes collaboration versus isolation.
It is significantly more difficult to share resources and/or media (audio, video, or pictures) around a small screen and small speakers
The ease of being able to share and negotiate ideas quickly allows for inclusion of a greater diversity of ideas and promotes more discussion
The ease of collaboration shifts the focus towards group collaboration and discussion versus individual contribution. This is a 21st Century Skill which we want to cultivate.
The Media:scape provides ability to focus on process (discussion, negotiation, sharing) versus task (end document)
This week, I will be working with our United States and Advanced Placement United States History classes on a digital storytelling project through next week. I am excited to see what other new pedagogies we can begin to implement in anticipation for the five we will have access to next year.