Thirty to forty years ago, some of our parents were either just starting their education in primary school or were already on their way to high school. Either way, they had to sit in a small, one-person desk, that had a compartment on the bottom for books and paper, while they stared at the blackboard in the front of the class. This must have been boring, uncomfortable, and sometimes painful. If you were in high-school or college you had to use lecterns to present in front of the class. In this article, we will be discussing how educational furniture has developed from the old days, to today, and how it can positively affect student engagement in the classroom.
Educational furniture is a term given to any furniture used in an educational setting. This means that any desk, chair, computer stand, filing cabinet, etc. can be an educational piece of furniture. Like we mentioned in the introduction, in the past there wasn’t much creativity in this space, and so teachers chose to put, in their classrooms, what every other teacher had, making it very uniform and monotone.
Today, if you walk into any kindergarten or elementary school classroom, you will not see individual rows, but rather small groups of desks to encourage collaboration. You will not see plain floors, but floors with comfy carpets where kids read and recoup after lunch. You may even see beanbags, iPads, projectors, touch screen dry erase boards, and many other kinds of furniture to engage students. We believe this change has happened naturally, but it has also happened as a result of teachers who may have had experiences when they were in school, that they would not want present kids to have. So, what these teachers do, sometimes not even asking for permission, is that they decorate their classrooms both to accommodate themselves and their students.
Nowadays, kids have water fountains inside the classroom as well, which though it might not be a piece of furniture, it does engage children more by staying hydrated, and not having to use the restroom as an excuse to goof off and temporarily disengage from a lecture. Soon, educational furniture will evolve to a point where desks become touch screen, children can do their classwork by writing and typing right into the digital desks and can then submit and check their work via the help of an interactive artificial intelligence algorithm. This will truly be “educational furniture”, and the teacher may not even have to lecture, since the lectures will already be inside the desk software.
In conclusion, educational furniture has evolved from the times when our parents were in school and will continue to evolve as technology and school regulations change. One of the foreseen advances in the artificial intelligence space, will pose a threat to current teachers, because the algorithm may be able to learn and teach course material, faster. We will see in the future.