Pasadena high school realizes benefits of active learning with standing desks

standing-deskAs educators turn their attention to how physical learning environments can influence student learning, more companies are responding to the demand for flexible and innovative classroom furniture.

Ergotron, Inc. placed LearnFit Standing Desks in a classroom at Dr. Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School in the Pasadena ISD, a suburb of Houston, Texas, earlier this school year and is already receiving positive feedback.

Students taking freshman geography started the school year at traditional sitting desks and in October transitioned to Ergotron LearnFit adjustable standing desks to support project-based learning and reinforce the school’s focus on open, collaborative classrooms.

Next page: What educators think of the standing desks

“Since the introduction of the LearnFit standing desks student engagement has gone up markedly,” said Jason Rhodes, geography teacher at Dr. Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School. “Students are more actively participating in discussions and the amount of time that it takes students to complete tasks has lowered by four to five minutes, which is a big deal in a 45-minute period.”

The LearnFit desks transform static classrooms into active learning environments. Students can change their own desktop height on demand, so a comfortable position can be achieved whether sitting or standing or using different types of technology like tablets or netbooks. The casters enable easy movement for reconfiguring classroom layout and student collaboration. Desks can be rolled together for small group breakouts and quickly returned to the full classroom configuration when done.

“Oftentimes the afternoon, post-lunch hours pose the greatest challenge for teachers as student attention starts to fade,” said Rhodes. “The afternoon performance with the LearnFit desks is night and day. I’ve had no sleeping issues recorded this year, and any time I sense a potential issue I have the students change their positions, which does a great job of recapturing their attention and focus.”

Standing more throughout the day increases blood circulation, burns more calories, and helps maintain muscle tone and insulin effectiveness. The LearnFit standing desk promotes good posture by giving students age nine through adult the ability to easily self-adjust the desk up to 20″ (50 cm) to their preferred height, utilizing Constant Force technology to make the adjustment effortless. The on-demand adjustability meets the comfort and collaboration needs of students, without requiring any adjustments to be made by school staff.

“Students who sit at traditional desks are hindered in both mind and body by a lack of physical activity,” said Carrie Schmitz, ergonomic and wellness research manager at Ergotron. “An abundance of research indicates that movement is integral to the development of the mind and therefore the learning process, which is exactly what our products aim to do – encourage healthy behavior and improve student learning.”

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura