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Creating active classrooms that drive student engagement

Flexible, “invisible” furniture can be a part of creating multipurpose learning spaces
Flexible, “invisible” furniture can be a part of creating multipurpose learning spaces
Flexible, “invisible” furniture can be a part of creating multipurpose learning spaces

Classroom environments must keep pace with technology, including 1-to-1 devices, digital curriculum and personalized learning tools, as well as students’ varied learning styles. Student desks and classroom furniture need to promote better metabolic health, greater student engagement and natural collaboration. To achieve the vision of an optimally productive classroom, furniture that has been designed to be intuitively flexible allow teachers to teach in a very personalized way.

Movement for learning and performance
When standing in the classroom, a student’s heart rate is kept higher, they burn more calories and they maintain better insulin effectiveness. This translates into a more engaged student with greater on-task behavior. Research on this topic is available at www.JustStand.org/Kids.

“Students are really involved because they can be comfortable sitting or standing and have options for moving around the classroom when using the LearnFit desks,” says Keri King, lead biology instructor, science coordinator and data specialist at Lamar High School, Houston ISD.

“I’ve noticed that my higher-level kids are performing even higher than normal, and my lower-level kids are also performing higher as well,” she adds.

Other educators too have noticed improvements in student learning due to the integration of flexible furniture.

“By implementing low-level physical activity into the classroom, such as sit-stand desks, we are activating the executive function of the brain and the kids are learning,” says Jayne Greenberg, director of physical activity and health literacy for Miami-Dade County Schools. “We know from research that there is a link between physical activity and academic performance. Being physically active does not take away from academic performance, but rather enhances it.”

Educator flexibility
“I find that there’s never a moment when the actual physical space gets in the way of learning the material,” says Monica Escobar, fifth-grade arts and history teacher at Alexandria Country Day School in Virginia. “I’ve really liked how the desks allow you to think outside the box with teaching.”

The use of “invisible” furniture can accommodate multiple types of instruction, and aid transition from one room layout to another quickly.

“Within each class, we have three different setups: quiz/test or individual work, whole class discussion and presentations, and collaborative groupings,” says Alex Brahm, instructor of world history, world religions and theory of knowledge, also at Lamar High.

Mobile standing desks, such as Erogotron’s LearnFit®, are a way to introduce non-disruptive physical activity into the classroom in a way that actually enhances student and classroom performance. To achieve the vision of an optimally productive classroom, furniture should be intuitively flexible to allow teachers to teach in a very personalized way.

This piece was produced by District Administration for Ergotron. For more information and video case studies, visit www.Ergotron.com/Spotlight

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