Nothing is more disengaging for one’s mind than being uncomfortable in our classrooms or learning spaces. It is crucial to update and bring our institutions into the 21st century. Fortunately, we are beginning to change the way we arrange our schools and educational institutions, moving away from standardization and unification and moving towards individualization and modernization. Classrooms are no longer filled with rows of combo desks and chalkboards. Libraries and common areas no longer contain just one type of desk and chair. Office Plus Furniture aims to stand out from the crowd and be competitive in all aspects.
Today there is a diverse range of teaching styles and techniques. Additionally, no two students learn or experience education the same. Educators and designers are changing the way we think about classrooms not only to accommodate teachers but students as well. There has been a fundamental shift in the type of furniture that permeates these spaces. The products actually take the user and the users need into consideration. Whether it’s comfort or technological integration, these changes are creating more dynamic and interesting classrooms.
If you step into a modern classroom the changes are evident. As these changes occur, trends are starting to emerge in the way educational furniture is being designed and made.
Not everyone enjoys the same thing when it comes to furniture. Some people like closed off workspaces; others enjoy a more open and free flowing space. For some people mobility is crucial and others need stationary or static pieces to help them focus. It is incredibly important to be able to offer a diverse range of furniture to accommodate any student’s needs. Offering options will not only help students but also will empower teachers. By giving them these options, they are able to create more effective learning environments. The classroom is different than they were 40 years ago and being able to offer products that are as diverse as the teachers and students themselves is a great way to bring schools into the modern era.
The Gift of Mobility
Movement is crucial in modern learning landscape. Teaching is becoming more interactive and with that interaction comes the need for mobility. And that applies to everything from desks and chairs to whiteboards and video screens. However, that doesn’t mean just putting wheels on things, but finding ways to make things lighter and more durable as well as optimizing things for storage when they are not in use. There has been a large increase in the demand for mobility, and furniture companies are finding smarter designs to allow for maximum mobility.
Cutting Edge of Technological Integration
Technology plays a vital role in the modern classroom. From tablets and e-readers to whiteboards with touch screens, integrating technology with our furniture is the main concern for any company or designer. With all this technology in the classroom, finding functional ways to fuse power sources with our furniture is a top priority. But more importantly, people are finding ways to integrate cutting edge technologies with educational furniture and tools to allow for educational spaces to be as interesting and dynamic as possible.
Functionality is potentially one of the largest trends in educational furniture. The question, “How do we get the most out of our furniture,” is at the forefront of discussions on creating new furniture. A desk is no longer just a desk, but a place to charge devices, store things, and also has mobility while doing those things. The goal of each piece of furniture is to provide as many features as possible that enhance productivity in the classroom and the common areas. One of the best ways to make something more functional is to increase the number of functions it can perform.
Emphasis on Design
Nothing aids boredom more than sitting in a monochromatic library with old, standard metal shelves and common, uninteresting wooden desks and chairs. However, over the last 20 years companies have really upped their game not only in regard to function but also in creating furniture that is interesting and aesthetically pleasing. And institutions have been filling their spaces with not just one or two different types of desks and chairs, but a vast array of furniture with different designs, colours, and patterns. There is no doubt that design plays a role in engaging our brains and furniture companies have improved at creating more interesting products. Also, institutions have gotten better at seeking out and selecting those products.
There was nothing quite as uncomfortable as the polyurethane combo desks of yesteryear. Fortunately, for students nowadays they don’t have to suffer the same agony that students of the past suffered, because companies have been putting an increasing amount of thought into the comfort and ergonomics of new furniture. Whether it is designing chairs that contour with the back, adding a little extra cushion, or making things adjustable for students of various heights, the added comfort allows for more active minds inside and outside the classroom.
Fostering a Social Environment
Learning spaces and classrooms have become increasingly social over the past few decades. No longer the “hush do as I say, repeat after me” environments of old. Collaboration and group work is a lot more prevalent. Thus, furniture companies were tasked with creating products that could foster this emerging need. Open discussion and exchanging ideas becomes increasingly difficult when things are designed for the solitary student and not for groups of students to converse and interact with each other. It is important to consider the social element when designing new furniture because if you don’t it can cause rooms and environments to feel stuffy and stifling.
The growing population is causing a burden on institutions to do more with less. That’s why having furniture that takes space into account is immensely important. And current trends match this need. Furniture is being designed more intelligently. Offering educators, the ability to store things more effectively, but also to get the most out of the limited space they have. Educational furniture, in and outside the classroom, is being created to help optimize the space around it.
Continuing to Grow
All of these trends and features help comprise educational furniture in the modern classroom. More trends will emerge in the future and it is important that we continue to grow and adapt in order to give students and educators the best possible tools for success. And that means being able to provide options and identifying needs when they emerge. By anticipating needs and creating trends in educational furniture we are giving the students of today and tomorrow a better learning environment.