Innovation Hubs Facilitate Collaboration

Innovation Hubs Facilitate Good Old Fashioned Collaboration
Posted on 10/17/2019
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collage of students working on a project from endeavorCollaboration through technology doesn’t have to mean hiding behind a screen. In fact, a recent exercise led by Endeavor teacher Tanya Hoeting proved it can actually enhance interpersonal skills. 

Among all the gadgets in Lakota’s refurbished Innovation Hubs, the collaboration stations are among the most popular tools with student visitors. In these spaces, students can simply project their device on to a larger screen to share information with their peers and help facilitate group discussion. They also include a good old fashioned whiteboard. 

For the last month, Hoeting’s sixth-graders have been using their daily Personalized Learning Time (PLT) scribbling their ideas on the whiteboards and huddled around their Chromebooks at these stations - not lost in their own individual research, but collaborating in teams and exchanging ideas. 

“I started the lesson in my classroom,” Hoeting said, “but the moment we started visiting the Hub and making use of the collaboration spaces, I couldn’t believe how much the level of engagement ramped up.” 

“It’s super exciting that they are being successful in the Hub as collaborators and not just because of the ‘fun tech tools’ that are a part of the Hub,” added Lori Vanover, the innovation specialist at both Endeavor and Cherokee elementary schools. “Those are great too, but collaboration is a skill we want them getting better and better with.”

Hoeting challenged her students to enter a global competition known as “The World of 7 Billion.” The project based learning activity, which asks students to create a 60-second video providing a solution to a global issue caused by overpopulation, gave students loads of choices to make along the way - which issue to tackle, what research tools to use and finally what kind of video to create.

But the collaboration piece, Hoeting says, added a whole different skill set to the exercise. “The idea of making choices and decisions together made it very interesting and challenging for some students,” she said. “It’s been so neat to see them each make their own individual growth, but also help each other along the way.”

One group of students went as far as to assign titles, based on their individual talents - researcher, producer and actors. Adharsh Sundhar explained how one of his teammates introduced the group to a video production tool called “Powtoon” that they all learned how to use. “It’s been neat to teach each other things,” he said. 

Another group discovered a common interest in drawing and went as far as to teach themselves how to create a stop motion video. Their final animation will be made up of about 100 individual drawings string together.

“That’s the beauty of personalized learning,” Hoeting said. “Students get excited when they have some level of ownership in their learning.” 

Caption: A recent exercise brought Tanya Hoeting’s sixth-graders down to Endeavor’s Innovation Hub on a daily basis. One group makes use of a collaboration station to work together on their final video project (right), while another uses the whiteboard to brainstorm their ideas (left).