Day 15 – What’s in a Chair?

Learning environments matter. Lighting and sound, classroom space, and–yes–even the furniture can foster or constrain learning. Take this chair, for example. At first glance it might not look much different from school desks of 1980. But then again… 

“Yes!” All IMG_1928day I had been hoping one of my teachers would have THE chairs. No luck, until 7th period when I walked into calculus. There they were! The swivels! Now, fifteen days into the school year, I still look forward to the swivel. It’s not just that these chairs are so much more comfortable (which they are). It’s that I can pull the desk part as far forward as I want. I can sit front ways or sideways and still get the desk part in just the right position for whatever we are doing every day. I can always get into a good position to see our teacher. The swivel chairs help me pay attention, and when math is 7th period, I need all the help I can get.  -11th grade student, FHS

This desk chair is one of several that have been piloted recently in our high schools. Students love swivels for their comfort, but the educational benefits reach far beyond a comfy seat. In student-centered learning environments, the ability to reconfigure learning spaces in-the-moment is important to instruction. As a class rotates between partner work, group discussion, individual study and more, desks like those pictured here promote communication and collaboration. Flexible learning spaces are a key component of 21st century education.  

-Submitted by Susan Drumm, Instructional Technology Coach