The benefits of collaborative learning in the classroom and in work environments are well known. Collaborative work promotes valuable skills like cooperation, acceptance, and accountability while reducing anxiety and creating a support system. Both team and individual work is possible when you invest in a collaborative desk. When it comes to choosing the right collaborative desks for your environment, you may need to consider your audience and available space among other factors.
Laminate surfaces provide users with a number of color choices. Desks no longer need to be uniform and bland. Choose from a variety of wood-like finishes, neutral tones, or bright colors to facilitate fun and learning in the environment.
Dry erase surfaces add a unique functionality to the desk environment and promote group interactions during activities.
Tables designed for science labs are designed to withstand lab experiments with heat and chemicals. Hardwood legs with steel bracing, rubber leg covers, and chemical guarded tops provide protection and durability in a collaborative learning setting. A trapezoid shaped science table is perfect for science collaborations, and can be used seprately for independent study or testing.
Many steel legs on collaborative desks are made to accommodate different heights. With adjustable legs, you can raise or lower the desk height as necessary for your needs. If you work with different grade levels over time, adjustable legs are a great way to save money while still meeting the needs of your students.
Casters are typically recommended for all student desks that you plan on reconfiguring daily or even weekly. Mobile collaborative desks take the stress out of rearranging desks, and helps to keep desks from becoming damaged. Popular now are wheelbarrow casters, or desks that are only outfitted with two casters, verses four casters on every leg. Students simple lift one end of the desk and move it like a wheelbarrow.
The hallmark of the collaborative design is its ability to be used as a traditional desk in rows and as part of a larger table structure. There are several different shapes and designs to choose from in collaborative desks, all designed to take your classroom into the 21st century.
- Trapezoid. These desks are longer on one side than the other and come together to create an octagon or other polygon shaped work environment. In this circular setting, individuals can discuss work and share ideas in large groups without leaving their seats.
- Triangle. These desks come together to form a square. Long on one side and pointed on the other, these three-legged desks are a unique configuration well suited for small group projects. The full table that results when the individual pieces are pushed together leaves only a small hole in the center, making it perfect for interactive work.
- Curved polygon. Also known as a “dog bone” style desk, two parallel lines are rounded out on the ends to create a bone-like shape. When put together, these desks create a whimsical square table that can seat four individuals at a time. Art projects and other activities requiring more desk surface may benefit from a design like this.
- Hexagon. When a traditional desk surface is pulled out on each side to a point, a hexagonal work surface is created. The added space on either side of these desks makes keeping supplies handy a breeze. Pull these collaborative work stations together, and the result is plenty of space between users while seating as few as 3 or as many as 6 together for a collaborative project.
- Cut-edged triangle. With three primary lines and three short pieces, these table “slices” fit together to accommodate 6 in a collaborative setting. Use the full table to share supplies or work on a project together, or pull the desks apart for individual learning.
- 2-student desks. These desk surfaces feature enough space for two students to work together in one space. The rounded triangular shape allows students to be seated on either side of an edge. Put three of these tables together for group projects that will accommodate as many as 6, or spread students out on one desk a piece for testing.
You will find slight variations on the above selection of designs. Some are intended for multiple shaping options, while others feature fluid designs that will bring a classroom to life. For instance, some tables feature small circular designs that come together to create a flowing tabletop a student can pull her or himself into. A variation on the triangular desk allows students to pull their tables into a flower-petal-like configuration. Whether you need to seat one person at a desk, center students in groups, or create rows in your classroom, there is a collaborative design that will work well for your needs.
Collaborative Media Desks
Another popular area for collaborative desks is a computer lab. To accommodate several different computers at once, desks that fit together allow access to one central power source while keeping students in a more private area for testing and assignments. You can find network towers that will easily fit in the center of a computer desk configuration and send power out to 8 or more different devices.
Other desk environments may benefit from a power accessory that includes individual outlets and USB charging stations. Perfect for a library environment or other computer space, these accessories can accommodate a number of desk solutions.
Multimedia tables are great for classrooms and office settings. The singular table is designed to fit several chairs while accommodating a display screen and outlet/USB power connections for multi-media activities. Many also include an optional TV mount so you can show presentations and interactive activities with ease.
Choosing the Right Desk for You
The options for collaborative desks are endless. The solution that works in your classroom or office may include settings that allow for multiple configurations or save space overall. Think about the overall size of your space and how many total individuals you expect to accommodate in the desks. Remember that desks will fit in a room differently when they are pulled together, so measure out the space you have to work with to guarantee your choice will fit comfortably.
Let our professional team at Worthington Direct know how we can help you find the perfect desk today.
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