- Nontraditional classroom furniture, such as standing desks, stackable and tilting stools and desks with bikes, has grown in popularity in recent year sfor both cognitive and physical benefits.
- Desks that allow students to stand have been attributed with helping them burn more calories while increasing their focus and maintaining their insulin levels and heart rates, District Administration reports.
- Other popular features include whiteboard desk surfaces, wheeled desk legs, cup holders and backpack hooks.
The focus on the health benefits of standing desks and other flexible seating options follows several years of growing concern regarding childhood obesity rates in the U.S. According to the American Heart Association, about a third of children and teens in America are overweight or obese, and the childhood obesity rate more than tripled between 1971 and 2011.
But beyond the physical health benefits, flexible furniture options also more accurately reflect many of the modern office environments that students may one day work in. The days when offices were lined by rows of cubicles are largely gone, as many companies now embrace open office environments that encourage more collaboration and creative thinking — soft skills with as high a demand among employers as many technical skills. If schools are to best prepare students for the future workforce, redesigning the classroom experience to mimic those conditions and encouraging more open and collaborative environments is among the key places to start.