A modular Collaboration Computer Furniture System or Collab Table that permits the setup of different shapes to promote the types of interaction particular to the collaborative learning process.
“Collaborative learning” is a general term for a variety of educational approaches which involve an exchange of intellectual effort by students and teachers together.
In collaborative classrooms, the lecturing, listening and note-taking process may not disappear entirely, but it lives alongside other processes that are based in students’ discussion and active work with the course material. Teachers who use collaborative learning approaches tend to think of themselves more as designers of intellectual experiences, and less as presenters of knowledge to students.
Click images or links to index to more information about each exchange™ shape!
Multi-Use communication methods are incorporated into different shapes that optimize the geometry of interaction. Multi-Use gives freedom, while the shape of the table promotes flow, selected to optimize the building of consensus, interpersonal relationships and teaming with the purpose of achieving specific shared goals. The shapes help remove barriers to consensus by encouraging non-confrontational, positive body language, while flipIT® and laptop power/data ports allow technology to enter in or be moved aside at will— facilitating the exchange™.
CAD Blocks Download zip file of CAD files for designing floor plans.
See exchange featured in the Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy's Cyber Cafe at their grand opening.
Shared Text Materials
With computers and laptops put away, full attention can be given to text materials for individuals, pairs and small groups.
With connectivity and power support, laptops may be used at any table location. For convenience, computers can be put away or used at will.
Combinations: Computer, Laptop, Text
With personal space defined by the Exchange™ Element, there is room for personal privacy without screens. Collaboration with individual and team focus can take place simultaneously.
Each exchange™ element can be a stand-alone computer or laptop table. Each is outfitted with a wire management leg; a steel-frame and mesh fabric modesty panel with wire management; PD-FC707 power supply with 3 power outlets and 1 powered USB Port for charging devices, 12 AMP rating with 10' 14-3 power cord with right angle plug; and locking casters. Optional equipment: genuine, patented flipIT® Convertible Workstation (shown) and fully-adjustable LeGrip™ CPUHolder (shown), or flipIT Laptop Safe®.
Exchange™ elements are made in mirror image versions: curve to the left or right. This permits the various shape configurations for the installation.
Collaboration can take many forms, and so can the exchange™ system. The rationale for these shapes will be presented. The elements are on locking casters so they can be easily placed in the space, adjust to changing situations, roll to store or move to different spaces in the facility. Elements have connectors to lock them together so they stay in place during active use.
Joining clamps are positioned to lock exchange elements™ into their planned positions. Click photo for larger view.
People use body language to express themselves. Sometimes they need to be open to a group or to a work partner. Sometimes they need to work with independent focus. Whether using text materials, computers, laptops or mobile devices, the ability to move the body for joining or blocking is essential for creative freedom and the ability contribute, synthesize and build consensus. The pinwheel shape offers a great range of postures without the need for time-wasting re-arrangement.
This collaboration group is working in pairs at this moment. They can refer to text material and computer screens, with non-confrontational body language, speaking face-to-face across a conference table space in each work area.
In an instant, the computers can be put away to make room for more text materials. Two are working independently without invasion of each other's space, but can engage the other with a turn of the head or shoulders.
Come here and look at this! Neighboring members can easily roll around to one person's work area to view the screen and compare notes with text or laptops.
See what I mean? When people need to put their heads together, all it takes is a slight change in the body language. The pinwheel lets two work closely together.
Give me a minute-- When the body language changes for privacy, the personal space is reinforced with the exchange™ element desk shape. No need for privacy screens for instant focus.
The exchange™ collab triangle is made up of 6 elements: 3 left and 3 right set up in mirror image.
This shape, which was developed for an Ivy League Medical School as the Collab™, lends itself to the formation of collaboration groups. People are drawn to the corners to huddle up, then have plenty of personal space when it's time to work independently.
When people use body language to express themselves, sometimes they need to be open to a group or to a work partner. Sometimes they need to work with independent focus. Whether using text materials, computers, laptops or mobile devices, the ability to move the body for joining or blocking is essential for creative freedom and the ability contribute, synthesize and build consensus. The collab triangle shape offers a great range of postures without the need for time-wasting re-arrangement. People tend to form up at the ends for teaming and shift to their workstations for independent focus.
Three types of collaboration are going on here: in a pair with laptop at the end, in pairs side by side at computers, and independent focus. All three types can happen simultaneously and spontaneously. Changing the work surface for text, computer or laptop use takes seconds.
With workstations mirrored side by side, it is not uncommon to have different computer screens at work while hard copy is being used for research. Freedom to assemble and synthesize. Non-confrontational body language for consensus building: people see eye to eye without butting heads.
Pass me that! Exchange of information is easy. Papers pass within reach, but there's plenty of personal space for independent study and focus.
Got it on here on my laptop. The ends of the collab setup are always free for teams to use with laptops. Plenty of table space for paper. Great body language posture for positive energy to flow.
Have difference of opinion. There's room for differences to get settled. Body language is never postured for "logger-heads." Promotes open posturing for consensus building, so differences can be understood.
The exchange™ linear offset is made up of alternating exchange elements: 2 rights and 2 lefts to make a block of 4 elements. This can be made to layout in collaboration shapes with bridges to make U configurations.
This setup is great for working in pairs, side-by-side, or in larger groups as a natural progression. When floor space is at a premium, this configuration goes a long way.
The linear offset is different than simply being seated at a rectangular table with workstations placed face-to-face. When the latter is done, the body language is confrontational: face-to-face, head-to-head. The linear offset positions people side-by-side for teaming and the offset keeps the body language non-confrontational, thus more inclined to build consensus. As people work, they can use their body language to send signals about what they need at the time: privacy or sharing. Although the tables are linear, people are situated in serpentine fashion, creating a positively charged atmosphere for creativity and problem solving.
Using text materials, the flipIT® computer stations are closed, allowing a completely cleared desktop. The top two users could easily roll to the center to team as the pair are doing in the foreground. There is room for privacy and independence, but chairs easily roll when closer association is appropriate.
When computers are used, there is still plenty of room for text materials and additional laptops. When team members relate to each other across the table, they are diagonally offset, so their body language is non-confrontational. Even if the group should meet in the middle, side-by side, the diagonal lines of the table top break up the space so bodies turn for friendly exchange.
I'll get back to you. The personal space of the linear offset permits working closely or having the distance to focus independently.
Meet me in the middle. Bodies turn for open exchange, whether in the middle or across the way. Laptops, workstations and text can all be part of the synthesis.
Working for a common goal. The sense of teamwork is present because the diagonal lines of the linear offset setup connect the group. Open body language is promoted, which leads to better understanding and resolution of differences.
The triangular table shape that works so well for iConference Tables, such as Piano, Collab, and Boomerang, is applied to the exchange™ elements in mirror image. The shape places all participants in the camera's angle of view so all faces can be seen. The flipIT® workstations present data in the user space. The monitors are semi-recessed, so sight lines to the camera and others at the table are maintained. Monitors and keyboards disappear in seconds when not needed, uncluttering the video. The flipIT® lids and modesty panels keep all beautifully dressed for the camera. These details extend the collab triangle body language to the party assembled at the other endpoint. Space and time are transcended. The geometry of interaction translates to the camera and screen, again, with non-confrontational body positioning with the aim of promoting sensitivity to differences and building consensus.
The exchange™ hexagon is made up of 6 elements of the same kind, left or right. 6 left is shown. The desktop space to the left works as a place for text materials.
Each workstation has enough personal space for focused privacy without the need for partitions. Screens are angled for privacy.
Built for round circle meetings with open sight lines within the group. Each exchange element becomes its own equalizing sphere of influence, similar to a circle (A circle does not give any territorial balance, so a greater amount of distance given an individual in a circle increases the power of that individual: greater distance = greater power. A round table can be counter to consensus building because it can encourage greater distance between people and their differences. King Arthur's round table placed people equally with none at the head. This is also true of the hexagon.)
When equal balance of authority is favored, the hexagon gives each seat independence. By keeping territories defined and spaces equal, participants carry equal weight in the collaboration. There is ample personal space for independent focus, and screens are far enough away and angled such that privacy screens are not necessary. Although people are head-to-head, the distance is far enough away that power balances. The diagonal shapes interrupt the confrontational body positioning and create a flow. Bodies tend to engage each other openly.
Each person has their own domain at the hexagon. Each has the freedom to use text or computers, laptops or mobile devices. Screens are private. Imagine that you are seated at one of the foreground positions, From those vantage points, the users' screens at the middle positions cannot be viewed. At each station, there is enough space to share a screen or laptop at a corner.
The work space is very generous. Reference books and note pads can be comfortably arranged, particular to each user. Computers can be flipped up in seconds.The users at the top of the table seem to be sharing a common space. This was done naturally, based on the cues of the corners. Notice that their body posture is open to each other, turning to each other. This is a subliminal cue made by the diagonals of the table.
Here's my point… When any of these people has the floor, each is empowered by the equal distance between the seats. Notice that the audience seems skeptical of the speaker. They are folding their hands and arms to declare this. See how the diagonals promote a flow that seems to connect them in purpose.
Synthesis. Besides having a voice, people need space for gathering information and putting thoughts together. The exchange™ element does this as a stand-alone, but also works the same way for the hexagonal collaboration shape.
Each in their own world, but connected in purpose. When viewed from the user's perspective, the diagonal lines within the hexagonal shape create the illusion of motion, promoting flow. See how the people seated near and far do not feel confrontational because of distance and the cues set up by the inner and outer hexagonal shapes with extended diagonal lines.