Active learning is a form of collaborative education that has made its way to the forefront of schooling practices. In today’s digital culture, most of us spend significant amounts of our time swiping and staring at screens, so active learning has never been more important to keeping students engaged in the classroom. But what is it exactly?
What is Active Learning?
Active learning supports the belief that students who freely interact with their environment will become more engaged with the material they’re studying.
In an active learning classroom, students aren’t restricted to their desks or to the traditional ways of completing tasks by sitting and writing. Instead, they are encouraged to engage in group discussion and debate with their peers and teachers. The entire classroom shares information with one another, asks and answers questions and operates as a productive, forward-thinking team.
And it’s not just the teaching method that’s different — an active learning classroom is composed of furniture that facilitates group discussion and mobility such as collaborative desks, chairs on wheels and more. Traditional school desks are separate, rectangular and simply don’t allow for team-based learning. Active and mobile furniture is becoming a critical part of classroom design as the world we live in and the tools we use to do so become more digital-based and innovative.
What Kind of Classrooms Do Students Want?
Although students seated in rows facing a blackboard is what comes to mind when most think of school, classrooms with mobile furniture are becoming the new norm since they help to drive greater productivity.
Studies show that students respond to classrooms that allow them to go beyond merely following instructions and passive listening. Children confined to sitting silently at individual desks for the greater part of a school day are likely to act out or lose interest. Instead, they value the diverse functionality of adaptable furniture and being able to explore the space they’re in. Mobile classroom furniture isn’t disciplinary in structure; it is responsive to creativity, curiosity and hands-on learning.
Mobile Classroom Furniture
Mobility is an integral part of the dynamic learning process, so the furniture in an active learning classroom should be easily movable and facilitate activity. Mobile furniture can include chairs and tables on wheels, whiteboards on wheels, collaborative desks, mobile storage and more — all allowing for greater mobility and engagement.
Swivel chairs and tables with wheels expedite movement from one area of a classroom to another, allowing students to easily engage with everyone in the room. Collaborative desks of different shapes and sizes encourage group discussion and teamwork. Teacher stations that are flexible and not fixed to the front of the classroom are equally ideal for maximum group engagement. And finally, whiteboards on wheels that can be moved from one point to another eradicate the structure of a “front” and “back” of a classroom and promote full student participation.
The Benefits of Mobile Furniture Design
Mobile furniture design is flexible in functionality and so serves multiple purposes.
It can facilitate the energy and curiosity of learners of all ages and adapt to suit projects of any nature; it can be adjusted to accommodate students of varying heights, accessibility needs and physical attributes; it can be folded for easy storage; and it can do so much more to introduce active learning to the classroom and benefit students and their teachers.
It’s safe to say that educational environments that stimulate rather than discipline allow students to more effectively communicate with one another. Classroom furniture that is creatively designed and encourages participation and movement is proving to be the most effective way to instill young learners with optimism about the lifelong learning process they have ahead of them.
Bringing new concepts to life is part of how students further their understanding, so the best schools create an atmosphere where inquiry and solving problems go beyond reading and writing.