Computer Table and Workstation Buyer's Guide
Every school or training center needs to accommodate computer workstations. From elementary schools to universities, any educational organization can benefit from an organized and well thought out computer training room. The most important part of the room is the computer table, which will give your students a work area to learn and complete their assignments. We have provided some basic tips to help you plan out your next computer table purchase.
Number of Students
Once you have established how many students will be using your computer classroom or training room, you can begin designing your layout. Depending on which type of computers you are using, you can select the appropriate depth for the table and also decide how the tables should be arranged in your room. If a desktop computer is used, a 30" or deeper work surface is recommended. Students will need more space to accommodate the setup of a desktop along with any written materials that will accompany lessons. Some tables made for desktops will allow for the PC unit to sit on top of the desk, while others have areas or CPU tower holders beneath the desk to house the PC.
Laptop users who are bringing their own equipment to sessions may be able to use 24" or smaller desk configurations successfully. More desks will fit into a compact space with a laptop focused desk setup. Consider rolling and stationary collaborative tables for smaller tables that can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom.
Rectangle shaped units work very well in a traditional classroom, and nice even rows can be created with two, three, or four student workstations arranged side by side. A collaborative table setup can also be beneficial. While generally more space consuming, collaborative table workstations provide room for students to work together or independently at a station.
Several shapes and sizes are available when it comes to computer training tables, including rectangle, trapezoid, or even cluster style pods. Some models allow the instructor to conceal the electrical and data cables behind an access compartment to avoid clutter and electrical hazards.
Split level tables give teachers the ability to adjust the viewing platform at a different height than the work surface. Another solution for creating different heights as needed are monitor grommet mounts that provide a monitor with the flexibility to move. Great as an instructional tool, a student or instructor can move the monitor for visibility as needed. While standup desks are an amazing innovation that encourages health and productivity, they are not recommended for a training classroom setup.
Leg styles range from the traditional four leg design to a pedestal style to allow for easy in and out. An adjustable height leg style is recommended if students of varying ages will be sharing the unit. This type of flexible table can also be used to accommodate any wheelchair bound students who need access to the computer tables. ADA compliant tables are indicated, check with your orginazation's policy on equal access.
If the room is identified as a multi-use area, tables that fold down and roll away can save time and space. Simply flip the table tops as needed to create a space that is useful for whatever training or activity you need to use the room for at the time.
When you start building a space for learning about computers, you’ll need to think about the orientation of the instructor. Will there be lectures where students and trainees will need to be within comfortable eyesight of a screen? Or will the learning be more hands on with an instructor walking around the classroom to provide help? Answering these questions will inform you about the way a room should be structured for the most effective learning format.
Computer tables are very similar to other classroom tables, and sometimes they are exactly the same; with a few added options. They can be constructed of metal, plastic, wood, or a combination of all three. The most common type is a laminated work surface over particle board with steel legs. The computer tables have added features to allow for wire management and are also built with extra support to handle the added weight of computer and monitor equipment. Look for units with grommet holes and wire chases to route annoying computer cables out of the way.
Make your tables mobile with the addition of casters or add CPU holders to keep your valuable PC or MAC up off of the floor. Need more desktop space? Add a mouse tray and keyboard tray to your table and free up valuable space for desktop instruction. Don't forget about a power strip as an option to most tables. That way, you can plug in your equipment to a conveniently located electrical source.
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