In today’s modern classroom, students are not sitting still. They are moving around, interacting with their classmates and the technology that is inevitably surrounding them. Both the next generation of standards and research done on the subject of learning agree that “active learning” is much more preferable to its passive counterpart.
To reflect these instructional needs, classroom furniture has also had to move away from unyielding desks and chairs. Some of those advancements include:
All furniture having the ability for easy movement
Casters, wheels, and nylon feet all help furniture pieces move around the room at the whim of the teacher. Desks and chairs can be moved around by even the smallest students. When one particular lesson is completed, the room has the ability to quickly be moved into an entirely different configuration.
Desks are more easily combined for collaboration
In the previous generation, desks came in one shape: rectangular. Today’s desks come in a variety of shapes with the goal being easy collaboration. Any number of desks can be grouped together in a way that every student has a clear view and face-to-face interaction with the other members of their group.
Furniture that can be reconfigured for various tasks
Some tasks call for the student or students to be standing with their devices. Laptop desks can be easily modified to become a “standing desk” (which is a healthier way to work in general). Chairs also need to be able to move independently of desks to facilitate active learning.
The technology moves everywhere
Students used to have to focus on the white or SMART board at the head of the room. New solutions even have the interactive boards moving around the room so the teacher can be presenting information to one group of students while the others work independently.
Good ideas come from everywhere, especially in an active learning classroom. Students need to be able to brainstorm wherever they find themselves, so classrooms are starting to incorporate more surfaces that can be written upon with dry-erase markers. No more gathering around one board. These materials are particularly popular for walls and desktops.
It’s safe to say that today’s classroom looks very different from the one in which we were educated. But then again, so do the educational opportunities available to our students. The right furniture can help students make the most of those opportunities.