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How can furniture become an active part of the learning process?

The contemporary challenges educators face can only be met through adaptability in all things, including furniture. Before going farther, if you’re looking for adaptive furniture for students, teachers or staff with special needs, please refer to the Design Principles page on Accessibility. In the classroom, furniture must be adaptable (meaning enhance and enable learning) in a wide range of situations, everything from lectures, to small group work, to individual study and testing.

Adaptable school furniture. Can there be any other kind?

As more and more schools embrace cooperative learning concepts, the need for adaptable school furniture has become clear. Today, furniture must be adaptable for it to be appropriate for learning situations of all kinds: groups from two to six or eight, individual work and testing and even the occasional large group lecture. It was cooperative learning that inspired Smith System’s innovative desking, often considered the first wave of adaptable furniture.

In the future, currents in education can change again. That’s another factor that makes the versatility of Smith System furniture so valuable. We call the concept “future-proofing” the classroom and it’s based on adaptable school furniture. The way we see it, our furniture’s flexibility supports almost every imaginable mode of learning and teaching.

What are the subtleties of adaptable school furniture?

To best answer that question start with another question: What can make that desk, chair or table more useful in more situations? When it comes to seating, it’s important to determine how the student’s attention is to be directed, and how much freedom is to be allowed. We call this our <Graduated Movement Concept>. It’s important to choose the right furniture for its use. Similarly, would adding mobility to the seating, through casters, add needed adaptability? Also, would Extensibility add to the furniture’s adaptability?

Desking and tables can be surprisingly adaptable furniture. Again, adding mobility through casters makes is a good place to start, making it easier for elementary students to reposition their desks.  Like seating, the adaptability of tables can be increased through Extensibility.