Last May, after using our media:scapes with our 11th Grade classes in preparation for our use this year, I shared my reflections as to the advantages of using this new piece of furniture. In short, media:scapes
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.
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)
I want to share the reflection of Drea Gallaga, our 9th Grade English teacher and her perspective using the media:scapes in the English classroom last week:
My purpose with having the 9th graders work on the media:scapes was for them to refine their first thesis of the year, on their first major paper. I’m asking a lot of them with this thesis — they have two major literary ideas to incorporate (how a literary element demonstrates the theme of the story), plus they have new high-school level challenges in terms of how they structure and unify their ideas.
They spend most of this first week brainstorming and working on the thesis. In past years, I may have had them work with a partner, but usually I spend a ton of time working with each student, saying the same thing over and over again. I decided to try the media:scape to see if they could give each other constructive feedback. Turns out they can. I was excited to hear them saying when ideas were good, but also telling each other all the things we had gone over in class — “no, you need to say what the setting is”; “you need a verb in your theme”; “what is your by/because?”; (even such elementary things as — “that’s not the main character’s name!”). Between ten people, someone always had a good question or idea.
I knew something was working when groups started going back over people’s work twice, after they had gone all around once to make sure they had everyone. Students would go back to their own computers, revise, and then want another shot. It was the most lively discussion I’ve ever seen about thesis at this point in the year.