Classroom Furniture: Revolutionary Updates for Schools
At Hyperspace, our top mission is to understand how our users can transform their spaces to work more efficiently and more comfortably. We charge our designers and project managers to find the best use of your current space and to find the furniture that matches your daily routine.
Although we sell furniture, our empathy for the consumer is a foundation of our business, and we work very hard to solve common problems via space.
Reinventing the classroom
As summer comes to a close, and school resumes in September, we now turn our attention to helping students learn more in the classroom. With national requirements and regular testing schedules, it is critical that we take a closer look at the classroom. We want to optimize the setting for the learning process instead of making students suffer through it. With this goal in mind, we observed students move in and out of the classroom furniture, how they took on various tasks, watched when they became fidgety, and took notes on their posture throughout the school day.
Designing the Node chair
The result of this research is the Node Chair, designed for higher education classrooms, by David Kelley.
Exceptional design is not just visually trendy; it takes less thought to use. A professional friend and frequent design partner of Steve Jobs, Mr. Kelley helped designed the computer mouse back in Apple’s early days. His quiet roller ball and intuitive movement were revolutionary for the time. For decades, he has continued to design useful products, and his company, Ideo, is widely known as the world’s most innovative design company today.
Kelley’s belief, and his entire business, is that good design results from time spent with a diverse group of people from diverse backgrounds, all tasked to share, build, and expand on each others’ ideas. Discovering something revolutionary requires incorporating actual human behavior into the design.
So how did Mr. Kelley design the Node Chair and other classroom furniture for the current generation of young people?
Well, let’s start with a universal problem: fidgety kids. Still in their growth stage, kids will forever be fidgety, but for the average child, they are not a classroom management problem. It is a stimulation issue.
Instead of propping them up stiffly in fixed seating, why not allow them to move their body while keeping their mind on the topic at hand? Having kids bleed off some of that excess physical energy in a guided way will keep them from disconnecting to looking for an outlet. Teachers can then keep the child’s focus, mentally.
Our seating swivels.
Swiveling seats allow for small-scale, unobtrusive movement, but they also allow more ease in getting in and out of the seat, or turn to the side for teamwork. We also notice children stretching or arching their backs in discomfort during longer class periods, so we built our seatshell to be flexible for a more comfortable backrest.
Helping teachers with interactive learning
That mobility of the Node chair becomes valuable for the learning experience as well. Today’s teachers use different styles of learning to meet each child’s preferred learning style. Moving from rows or lecture configuration to group work clusters is made easier with the casters on the chairs. Students can form groups without dragging desks across the floor, and easily roll to the side to welcome in new group members.
Forming a horseshoe configuration for lecturing allows teachers to avoid the traditional rows that require students to maneuver to one side around the student in front in order to see the teacher and discourages participation from those in the back.
This is easier with a classroom chair that mobilizes to allow movement between the teachers’ preferred setups.
Researchers also noticed some clutter with students moving down the rows as they file in and out of the classroom. Backpacks sit on laps or next to their feet under their desks. Straps frequently get pushed into the aisle, causing trips or narrow passageways.
Ideo designers considered a better way and created a molded base under the seat so personal belongings never touch the floor, and straps are kept tucked inside. Arms of the chairs are fashioned as hooks to hang backpacks or handbags within reach of the student.
The Node classroom furniture also:
- Gives students enough space with a work surface large enough to fit a laptop and a notebook.
- Keeps tablets and smartphones within reach, but out of the way, with tablet stands built into the desk surface.
- Accommodates both right-handed and left-handed students with a comfortable desk surface.
As with all David Kelley designs, the results are remarkable. According to user surveys, the new seating improves concentration by 96%. Find out what powerful changes you can make to improve the educational classroom with Hyperspace to lead the way.
Share this with your institution’s decision-makers to improve your classroom this school year.