Grant: Collaborative Space

Huddle Room: Put Your Heads Together with Technology that Supports Collaboration! I wrote 6 grants in 2016, and I will be sharing each grant with you in entirety. Please peruse the grant below and feel free to adapt any information that you may find useful.

Huddle Room: Put Your Heads Together with Technology that Supports Collaboration

Brief Project Summary 

A Huddle Room is a collaborative learning space equipped with audio, video, and display system technology allowing students to leverage their BYOD (bring your own device) technology and engage with each other to solve problems, discuss ideas, and develop products outside the confines of the traditional classroom.

Purpose (statement of what grant project will do and accomplish) 

Technology is no longer a means to an end. Students no longer use technology just to type reports or do a bit of research for a larger project that is kept somewhere on paper. The project is kept on their device and always available. But then, students are asked to employ the 4C’s – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity…

The 4C’s overlap. When students are asked to collaborate, they must communicate, think critically, and use creativity. And while schools recognized that collaboration is important, schools struggle to offer effective collaborative spaces for students to work outside of the classroom.

The purpose of this grant project is to offer students an effective collaboration space that is equipped in a way that allows them to use their preferred device as the centerpiece of their collaboration experience – whether it is a laptop, tablet, smartphone, PC, or Mac. With their devices as the engine, students can use whatever application they want to collaborate.

SMART Objective (list the goals you intend to accomplish with this project and how you will measure these objectives to determine the impact of the project)

The Huddle Room will be made available for student collaborative group work by October 2016. During the 2016-2017 school year, 10 teachers that frequently utilize collaborative group work in their classrooms will be identified, and student groups from their classes will pilot the use of the Huddle Room for collaborative work during their respective class periods.

The Huddle Room will be available for any student collaborative groups to check out on a first-come, first-served reservation basis before school, during lunch, and after school.

Following an evaluation of the Huddle Room’s effectiveness via student participant surveys and teacher input on the quality of student collaborative work, we will determine the goals in this area for the 2017-2018 school year.

Project Description (specifically, how will your project improve, advance or enrich student learning? How does this project support the district’s mission and/or your campus plan? Include research as support for why you want to implement this project. Be sure to include strategies to achieve the goals and objectives listed and research to support why you choose to use this plan of action over another)

This grant project requests a collaboration table, seating for 4, InFocus JTouch DigiEasel 40” Interactive monitor, and a Solstice Pod SGE.

The requested Solstice Pod SGE is a platform purpose-built for wireless media streaming. The small form-factor Pod will connect to the display, the InFocus JTouch DigigEasel 40” Interactive monitor, enabling up to four students to instantly connect, share and control content on the display. This will specifically allow the group to work together to:

  • share thoughts, questions, ideas, and solutions (communication)
  • look at problems in a new way, linking learning across subjects & disciplines (critical thinking)
  • try new approaches to get things done equaling innovation and invention (creativity)

The vision for the district’s Mobile Learning Initiative is the integration of technology-based activities into existing curriculum to increase student engagement and student academic performance. The implementation approach for this grant project specifically comes from the Mobile Learning Initiative as it states there must be a collaborative effort between the teacher and the educational technology specialist. This collaboration will define the concept, vision, and expectations of the Huddle for the students.

This grant project aligns with goals, objectives, and strategies set by the Texas State Board of Education, district Board of Trustees, and our Campus Improvement Plan.

State Board of Education

OBJECTIVE 9: Technology will be implemented and used to increase the effectiveness of student learning, instructional management, staff development, and administration.

District Performance Goals Set by the Board of Trustees

GOAL 1: PISD will make academic achievement and student performance its priority.

Campus Improvement Plan

GOAL 6: Expand the use of technology.

OBJECTIVE 1: Enhance the understanding and use of technology.

STRATEGY 4: Increase technology hardware and software needs for state-required technology application courses and to reflect industry standards.

STRATEGY 5: Develop a plan for upgrading computer labs and equipment.

STRATEGY 8: Use BYOD to engage both students and teacher in process of using instructional technology in classroom.

This grant project also aligns with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Technology Applications. The technology applications curriculum has six strands based on the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS•S) and performance indicators developed by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE): creativity and innovation; communication and collaboration; research and information fluency; critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making; digital citizenship; and technology operations and concepts.

Many colleges and universities have implemented collaborative learning workspaces. The University of Southern California designed huddle rooms throughout their campus because “collaborative technology allows students to conduct consensus decision-making, cooperative learning, and critical thinking.”

Indiana University created active learning spaces utilizing the Solstice Pod SGE “to foster collaboration, decision making, and content sharing via any mobile device.”

The Solstice Pod SGE was chosen over other BYOD collaboration systems due to its ease of use with district’s current network infrastructure and the fact that no devices will need to be plugged into the pod in order to be displayed.

Project Evaluation (explain how you will measure the success of this project. How do you plan to share the results with your campus, district and Education Foundation?)

To measure the pilot, the Educational Technology Specialist will conference with the pilot teachers to determine the success of the huddle room collaboration based on the classroom lesson/project.

To measure the open reservations by the general student body before school, at lunch, and/or after school, the Educational Technology Specialist will keep a reservation log containing student names, time of use, and the purpose of the reservation. At the end of the year the reservation log will be reviewed to determine the number of students that used the Huddle Room, the amount of time spent in the Huddle Room outside of classroom time, and what the students valued as a good reason to use the Huddle Room.

Results will be shared with the campus during principal meetings, department head meetings, and faculty meetings. Members of the district’s Education Foundation will be invited to view the Huddle Room in action.

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