What if we told you that the furniture you purchase is technology AND a game-changer in the classroom? You might think we’re a little crazy, but we’re not alone. In today’s modern classroom, the innovation required for your furniture can be just as important as new computers. In fact, several research studies show that classrooms created with furniture in mind boost student engagement, which can ultimately improve student success. In a blog post from UW Bothwell by Sara Frizelle, the author writes in the headline of the article “Classroom Furniture is an Instructional Technology”. She goes on to state that “I find it ironic that we have 3-year cycles for computer replacements – and that we spend thousands of dollars creating virtual environments for our online and blended students. While our classrooms sit with years of deferred maintenance. This could change if our institutions (1) had a clear understanding of how space can shape or reshape teaching and learning (2) began to see classrooms as a way to reflect their campus’ missions and visions for teaching and learning and (3) invested in space design and redesign as it does in other technologies across campus.”
Treating Your Furniture Like Technology
When technology is selected for a school, the IT team and many others evaluate how it will work for their students. There is a rigorous process around selection. The same should be true for furniture. So how do k-12 schools, colleges and universities integrate furniture plans for classrooms, lecture halls, libraries and media centers? Ask yourself:
- Does my environment invite collaboration and acceptance?
- Is my space warm? Are the colors appropriate?
- Is there space for students to easily move through the classroom?
- Can students easily change the space from one type of learning to another? Can they get comfortable in their seats?
- Does my furniture easily accommodate the electronic technology we’ve invested in?
Steps to Picking the Right Active Classroom Furniture
Once you’ve answered the above questions, here are some key considerations when determining a new classroom or an entire school.
- Furniture will be moving regularly and kids can be tough on things. Make sure the structure of your furniture matches the wear and tear and look for a great warranty.
- Flexibility and Mobility. Ensure your furniture can be easily changed to any configuration and for any child. For example, how does the furniture you’re selecting handle right and left-handed children? Is this furniture on casters so that it can safely be moved?
- The reality is that you have a budget. Look for the highest quality products from a reputable supplier with great service and sustainable manufacturing that your budget can handle. In the long run, you will have made the right choice.
- Technology: How does this furniture integrate with the computers and devices that are required for the modern classroom?
Countless studies show that quality furniture improves student learning and student health. The technology and innovation that your furniture provides to your active classroom is as important as the i-things themselves.
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