Five Innovations in the School Desk
A school desk is a piece of furniture that holds everything you need for studying, homework, and projects. There are many types of school desks, each one with its own unique features.
Open front desks allow easy access to books and supplies. They can also have a large desktop for an ample writing surface. Some have a book box with a lid that opens on a hinge.
1. The Chinese Bench Desk
The school desk is an object that almost everyone has encountered throughout their childhood and adolescence. From its humble beginnings as a wooden bench to the fashionable chrome designs of the mid-20th century, the history of the school desk has displayed a progression that shows society’s changing relationship with education. The following are five innovations in the school desk that demonstrate a growing concern for students’ comfort and autonomy.
The Munkegaard desk, designed by Arne Jacobsen, was a single student desk that came with a stool and was built exclusively for the school. The desk was a combination of wood and chrome that reflected the increasing interest in modernism at the time. It was also a functional piece that offered storage for school supplies and allowed for easy access to the desktop.
Like the Munkegaard desk, Jean Prouve’s design was a single student desk that used economic materials to save classroom space and ease production during World War II. The desk was also adjustable to accommodate different heights of students. This feature demonstrated a growing concern for children’s health and well being in the classroom and may have encouraged more regular attendance at school.
Unlike school benches, the Fashion desk was an individual seat and desk combo that gave students more autonomy. It was also easier to clean and could be stacked for more classroom flexibility. In addition, it was a good place for students to do their work in groups and collaborate on projects. This type of desk was the precursor to today’s standing desks, which are a popular choice for office workers because they can improve health by helping them maintain good posture and blood flow throughout the day.
2. The Welsh Desk
A repurposed Welsh industrial table from 1920, this desk was the only one of its kind in the entire school. The planked wooden top is painted in a bright red and bound in iron while resting on a simple iron base. Its double compartment top suggests that it served as a storage place for school supplies. This desk shows a growing concern for student privacy and autonomy in classrooms as it provided students with their own personal space to store school items.
In addition, unlike the Fashion Desk, this desk had a built-in inkwell, so students could re-ink their pens without leaving their seat. This was a revolutionary innovation as it saved students from having to leave their desks in search of a re-ink bottle or even the nearest inkwell.
As a result, the Welsh Desk was a popular choice in American and European classrooms until the 1930s. Another classroom desk innovation of the time was a single-seater desk that could be adjusted for different height students, similar to how adjustable office furniture is today. This is a sign of a growing awareness for students’ well being and comfort in the classroom, which was a major factor to encourage more regular attendance at schools. The adjustable desk also shows a change in the perception of school as being a place where children learn, rather than just as an assembly hall where they sit for countless hours.
4. The Standing Desk
A growing trend in classroom furniture, the standing desk has a long history of ergonomically friendly design. Typically designed for the individual, they allow you to work while sitting or standing, depending on your preference and the task at hand. These desks come with a variety of adjustable features to accommodate your height and work environment. Some even offer built-in monitor risers to give your eyes a break from looking down at the screen, preventing strain on your neck and back.
The 19th century Fashion school desk featured an innovative fold-up design that allowed students to either sit or stand at their seat. This was a great feature in the classroom, as it meant students could more easily answer questions or exercise during recess. The stand-and-sit style of the desk was also a great way for teachers to keep an eye on student behavior during lessons.
This classic combo desk, pictured above, combines a chair with a simple writing area in one piece of furniture. The desks were commonly used in elementary schools and high school classrooms. The benefits of this type of school desk included lower costs, less time to set up each seat, and no chance of chairs being removed from a desk and absconded during class changes. However, the combo school desk often had only a single storage compartment that was usually on the right side of the seat, making it difficult for left handed students to write comfortably.
The modern classroom continues to be a place of innovation and discovery, as students explore flexible seating options to help maximize their learning potential. From collaborative markerboard kids’ desks to traditional chair and desktop combo desks, the options are nearly endless for a classroom that allows students to learn at their best.
5. The Adjustable Desk
As the name suggests, this desk is adjustable – you can switch between sitting and standing heights to keep your body active. This makes it a great choice for an office setting, where it can foster healthy habits in the workplace and boost overall productivity. Plus, it’s easy to assemble (another big plus compared to other standing desks!) and can hold all of your belongings! It also includes a headphone hook and a coaster so you don’t damage the desktop. And, it’s affordable, so you can easily add one to every office in your building! Check it out here..
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