Next Generation School Desks

Educational faciltiies may be getting a significant boost in power from the furniture itself as new desks provide next generation learning opportunities.

Credit: Durham University

In terms of current teaching, the new system means that the 'move-to-use' whiteboard is by-passed and the new desks can be both screen and keyboard. The desks act like multi-touch whiteboards and several students can use any one desk at once.

The technology allows all students to take part as opposed to one individual dominating.

Researcher, Emma Mercier, School of Education, Durham University, said: "Cooperative learning works very well in the new classroom because the pupils interact and learn in a different way. The children really enjoy doing maths in this way and are always disappointed when you turn the desks off!

Professor Steve Higgins said: "Technology like this has enormous potential for teaching as it can help the teacher to manage and to orchestrate the learning of individuals and groups of learners to ensure they are both challenged and supported so that they can learn effectively."

Such a classroom may be some way off being a regular feature of schools across the world due to the costs in setting it up, and the level of support needed to make it work, however, in just 3 years the project team have noted major improvements in the technology, and a reduction in costs.

The researchers also recognize that task management in the class environment is an issue requiring thought and planning, but the overall potential of the new classroom for improved numeracy, learning, and on-going assessment is very good.


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