Cultivate Collaboration in Higher Education With Glass Dividers
Collaborative learning, sometimes called small-group learning, is one of the trendiest instructional strategies in higher education today. All over the nation, universities and colleges are featuring student-centered collaboration in their classrooms.
Why is it so popular now? It provides students the opportunity to work in small groups to practice their soft skills – skills that will help prepare them for their introduction into the workforce. Businesses want to hire candidates with good soft skills because candidates with these skills are more successful in the workplace. In addition, many businesses have embraced an open concept design plan in their building spaces, specifically designed to encourage collaboration.
A collaborative educational environment offers students many advantages such as:
- Makes it easier for students to brainstorm and bounce ideas off one another
- Improves communication
- Encourages and sparks creativity
- Allows students to learn from one another and appreciate the diversity of opinions and different cultures
- Provides a platform for students to practice higher-level thinking skills such as critical thinking, creative thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving
- Boosts students’ confidence and self-esteem as they practice expressing their opinions and solutions
- Improves social, interpersonal, and leadership skills and builds relationships based on trust
Besides all the academic plusses, collaborative learning is simply a more fun way to learn!
The changing classroom configuration
Effective collaborative learning requires a mindset change for everyone involved – instructors and students alike. With traditional classroom instruction, the instructor stands at the front of the room and lectures or leads discussion 100 percent of the time.
With collaborative learning, students are organized in small groups, with each group taking responsibility for leading its own discussion – whether that discussion involves brainstorming creative ideas or finding a viable solution to a problem. Instructors are available to offer assistance during the peer-learning process. Some classes offer a mix of traditional and collaborative learning.
The introduction of multiple small groups in one classroom setting requires a change in the way classrooms are set up. They now need to accommodate small group discussions, as well as traditional learning. And that’s left some education administrators and facilities managers wondering what the best solution is to meet their evolving needs. One solution to meet these evolving needs is with the Clarus go! Mobile™ rolling whiteboard, which presents college admins with the seamless ability to cultivate learning in small breakout sessions.
A win-win solution
One of the biggest issues with collaborative learning groups is the noise. There’s no way to get around it. Noise is an inherent byproduct of the group’s creative process. In a classroom situation where multiple groups are collaborating, privacy is essential to ensure each group can concentrate on its discussion while allowing other groups to do the same.
An easy way to remodel existing classrooms or equip brand new classrooms for collaborative learning is to use glass room dividers, also commonly referred to as a glass wall partition. Free-standing glass wall systems such as the Clarus Flex™ Wall can easily transform any traditional classroom into an environment conducive to collaborative learning.
A glass divider offers maximum flexibility for open space learning environments. They can easily be wheeled to the area where they are needed, whenever they are needed, then locked into place with a simple turn of the lift system. When they are no longer needed, they can be wheeled away and stored in an out-of-the-way corner of the room. It’s the best of both worlds!
In addition to visual privacy, glass room dividers also provide acoustical privacy for students’ small group sessions. Acoustic panels in a variety of colors and styles are available for glass room dividers to provide even more noise reduction.
Enhancing collaborative learning
Glass room dividers enhance collaborative learning in other ways besides setting up the classroom environment.
Students can write on them. The simple act of writing things down versus other learning methods has been proven to increase memory retention by 23% and increase memory recall by up to four times. In addition, writing things down boosts the creative process and helps students complete learning-related tasks 22% faster!
Unlike regular whiteboards, nonporous glass partition walls provide a non-staining writing surface. They won’t need to be replaced every few years. Plus, students can use any kind of marker on glass room dividers – even permanent markers. Writing on a glass room divider is quiet and smooth. No squeaks! And no dust and messy clean-up that’s required with regular chalkboards. This makes glass room dividers the ideal companion for collaborative learning.