by LeeAnne Lavender, PeerSphere Storyteller
PeerSphere founders Michael Iannini and Ewen Bailey are doing everything they can to maximize the impact of their 44 peer learning communities for the new school year. And when they find a tool that can enhance and extend peer learning, they dive right in to explore and collaborate.
That’s what has happened with Derek Luebbe and Huddle Up Learning, an interactive collaboration space for peer learning.
Derek, a veteran international educator, founded Jetlag Learning in 2019 after years of experimenting with creating tools for online learning. He was an economics teacher and created a simulation where students designed their own companies and invested in peers’ businesses. A digital simulation tool called simCEO emerged and Derek was hooked on exploring the creation of digital tools to enhance deep learning.
“I’ve always been a believer that we can improve the ways we learn online and in person,” says Derek. “I feel we can leverage feedback and social accountability online like we do in face-to-face meetings. Learning from and with peers is a powerful model and I created Huddle Up with this in mind.”
In 2020, in the midst of Covid, Derek started designing Huddle Up as a way to enhance collaboration, feedback and authentic engagement through peer learning. He wanted something with an approachable platform and style where learners could see each other’s work and progress.
“With a lot of online courses and learning experiences, you only see your own work stream,” explains Derek. “With Huddle Up, you can see everyone’s progress, learn from ideas shared by peers along the way, and give and receive qualitative and quantitative peer feedback to learn from each other via rubric scores, comments, and asynchronous collaboration. The next time you meet face-to-face with your team, the data and information you’ve been sharing is all there, allowing you to build collaborative teams and use meeting time much more effectively.”
Huddle Up is used with PreK-12 schools, universities and corporations. Any type of organization or business that relies on collaboration can use the platform to increase engagement, dialogue and teamwork.
“With professional learning communities, you can have excellent participation during calls but it can be difficult to apply what you’ve learned after the meeting or remain connected with other participants. With Huddle Up, there are ways for invested participants to share examples and ideas, and get feedback. The project has multiple columns for tasks and anyone from a community can choose to join. Not everyone has to share but everyone can join and give feedback,” Derek adds.
In addition to the forums on the PeerSphere platform, Huddle Up can be used to increase engagement between synchronous PLC sessions. The conversations can be archived so participants can go back and review exchanges at any time, and it’s easy to post directly and attachments and links.
“Even if a small group of people from a PLC engage and post and share ideas between meetings, you can share those conversations at the next group meeting and this sparks more engagement from members,” Derek says.
When Derek isn’t running Jetlag Learning and sharing Huddle Up with new school partners, he is busy as the Head of School for Shanghai Community International School’s Pudong campus. He has worked at several international schools over 25 years (most in Egypt, Hungary, Taiwan and China) and his wisdom as a classroom educator, team leader, Principal and Head of School gives him a unique vantage point in creating tools for effective collaboration.
“Our goal for PeerSphere is to facilitate peer learning and networking opportunities for our members,” says PeerSphere co-founder Ewen Bailey. “For participants who want to engage deeply with colleagues in their specialty area, we have the ideal partner in Huddle Up Learning. Imagine being able to quickly set up a professional inquiry with a small group of peers on a platform that is specifically designed for testing ideas and getting feedback. I can’t wait to see the inquiries our members develop in the year ahead!”
Look for ways to engage with Huddle Up in your PeerSphere learning community in the coming months.
You can learn more about Huddle Up through the following links: