Learning spaces are undergoing drastic changes in the past decade. While whiteboards are slowly replacing traditional blackboards and classrooms are becoming more digitalized, the physical setting and furniture are not moving in the same stride. It is important to consider the influence of furniture and classroom layout on educational tools, student's performance, and well-being.
Traditional seating makes it challenging for interaction and communication to occur. It does not provide adequate space for educational and technological equipment. Overall, it does not align with the learning and teaching goals for 21st-century classrooms, which is to promote collaboration and group work. According to a study from Harvey and Kenyon, furniture that has mobility can increase student's ability to collaborate and feel physically comfortable. Incorporating adjustable furniture can help to enhance student engagement and to support diversities of the learning environment.
Collaborative furniture enables students to gain comfort and allows them to work freely. They allow students to change their postures and reduce sedentary behaviour. A study from the Ergonomics journal reports that design characteristics such as sit-stand, height-adjustable furniture presented positive effects for student's physical response, improving their postures, EMG and discomfort. There was also an increase in energy expenditure and improved academic performance in behaviour and attention span.
While classrooms are rapidly shifting towards group-based environments, collaborative furniture is able to accommodate such changes by offering an array of seating arrangements. Selecting arc-shape designed desks that can be rearranged for various functions enables larger groups to work together and fosters collaborative learning.
As education systems are changing, it is essential for educators to evaluate what constitutes educational success. Rethinking classroom layouts and furniture that is adaptable for students and teachers can enhance engagement and focus, maximizing learning.
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