Even when you design a space specifically for collaboration, you still need a tool to enable it.
Already expected to be the template for the next generation of middle schools, West Lake Middle School was designed to be friendly and inviting; a ‘building without walls’. But the principal, Dr. Ken Hodgkinson wanted more; his vision was for the 1,500 students to be able to interact, collaborate and participate from anywhere. To achieve that, he needed Vivi.
To free teachers from their desks and give them the flexibility to use the incredible design of the new school to really interact and engage with students.
Vivi has become the school’s primary lesson delivery option, used by teachers from the start to the end of the day. It’s not a case of how teachers use Vivi in the classroom, Vivi is the classroom.
With the help of Vivi, West Lake Middle School has been able to:
Teachers are no longer tied to their desks. The ability for teachers to wirelessly project from wherever they are, means they can collaborate, engage and support their students from anywhere in the room.
The planning committee delivered a building that was ideal for students to interact, engage and collaborate. Vivi was the tool that enabled this collaboration to happen.
At a time when the pandemic has forced students to attend the school on alternate days, Vivi has provided the perfect platform for them to share what they have learned with the rest of the class. Despite such a difficult learning environment, Vivi has helped maintain students’ engagement and desire to ensure the work is done.
“With Vivi, you don’t have to worry about dragging cables, plugging in, or configuring.
Wherever you are, you can cast without cords.”
Dr. Ken Hodgkinson, Principal, West Lake Middle School
When it comes to information, such is the pace of change that something a student is learning as a freshman could be outdated by the time they’re a junior in high school. That’s a challenge for the schools tasked with ensuring the next generation can hit the ground running when they begin their careers. Collaboration is seen as a vital approach, but to enable it a school needs to provide the right environment and tools.
In the case of West Lake Middle School—a newly constructed middle school serving 6th, 7th and 8th grade students in the Humble Independent School District, Texas—the building and planning committee had really nailed the environmental brief. The concept of a ‘building without walls’ led to construction of unique, functional spaces in which students could really interact and engage.
But those innovative spaces would still need tools to enable collaboration. On his appointment in 2017—a year prior to the school’s opening—new principal, Dr. Ken Hodgkinson, laid down the gauntlet. From his 21 years’ experience, he knew teachers wanted to collaborate but felt chained to their desks by their devices. The only way to give them flexibility and freedom, was technology.
Mindful that many new technologies implemented in schools are not always fully embraced, he also wanted to ensure the solution had the potential to become the beating heart of the classroom, a tool teachers used from the moment their day began, to the moment it finished.
A few enquiries quickly led Dr. Hodgkinson in the direction of Vivi. As a platform designed to support the creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication that are so fundamental to 21st Century learning, it was the perfect solution. The school was able to adopt Vivi as the central backbone to support teacher-student learning and allow the investment the school had made in technologies—like Schoology and the deployment of Chromebooks across the campus—to be unlocked.
With Vivi, teachers and students—with permission—are able to share their screens from anywhere in the classroom, no matter what software they are using. It creates the perfect environment for teachers to check for understanding and for students to give feedback. In short, it provides the total flexibility Dr. Hodgkinson craved. What’s more, it has encouraged teachers to keep looking out for new, exciting media and ideas to share, without having to worry about whether they are in a compatible format or not, and that’s bringing the excitement back to learning.
Every classroom at West Lake is now equipped with a projector and a Vivi, and the hallways and cafeteria carry monitors. It means the tools for collaboration are always accessible and also means the school can push signage to reinforce specific messages. Vivi’s regular updates also provide the school with access to new and useful features to deploy across the teaching group.
To find out more about how Vivi can help build collaborative learning environments, contact our team here.
As well as the functionality Vivi brought to the classroom, the teachers quickly learned to rely on it. “That’s one of the great things about Vivi,” says Burgess. “Before Vivi, we were forever replacing lost or broken HDMI cables. When people went to project, they couldn’t. Now, there’s no reason why our teachers can’t project—every room has Vivi and everyone knows how it works.”
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