[Video] LearnFit for the Active Classroom

YouTube Preview Image
Introducing Ergotron’s LearnFit™ Adjustable Standing Desk, our first adjustable desk for students aged nine to adult.

It’s now possible to transform classrooms into active learning environments with on-demand adjustability for students. See what educators have to say about bringing standing postures into the classroom.

Available June 2014.

Kids are taking a stand!

Despite technological advancements in the 21st classroom, many still have an old Leave it to Beaver view of children sitting neatly and quietly in a classroom every day. That notion is certainly antiquated in today’s day and age.

Kids are taking a stand, and you know what? They’re liking it. According to an article by Jenny Quill, contributing writer for Gazebonews.com“Standing Desks Are Upstanding New Trend at Lake Bluff, Lake Forest Schools,” students at Lake Bluff and Lake Forest elementary and middle schools in Illinois are learning about the pioneer days, even as they pioneer a new wave of school reform—using standing desks in classrooms as a means to introduce healthier movement into the long school day.

But that’s not all. Educators and district leaders are exploring active classrooms as a means to help increase focus and engagement in the classroom. According to Sue Barkhausen, Learning Resource Teacher at Everett Elementary School, “Current research supports the fact that students who use standing desks exhibit increased on-task behavior, alertness, and attentiveness during academic instruction.”

And the research is growing, here in the Midwest, and throughout the world. Does the act of standing more have implications on learning behavior, test scores, overall health of the students?

Carrie Schmitz, Ergonomic & Wellness Research Manager here at Ergotron, is working with global researchers to explore these questions in education to mirror the work previously done with standing in the workplace.

“We believe that health and achievement go hand-in-hand, and sit-stand solutions in the classroom help teach the whole child,” said Schmitz. “Creating opportunities for physical activity (what the CDC defines as “bodily movement that results in an expenditure of energy), within the classroom is an ideal setting to establish healthy habits in children that help to grow healthy adults.”

The introduction of sit-stand desks in education should also be welcome news to the percentage of student population requiring, as Jenny Quill states it, “an outlet for all that youthful, excess energy by allowing students to fidget freely, without disrupting others.”

And for those looking at pilots like that of Lake Bluff and Lake Forest elementary and middle schools, we say this, “Explore on!” We’ll be tracking your progress and sharing our findings in the months ahead.

Check back soon on our blog for more information on Ergotron’s sit-stand efforts in education.

Why We Need to Sit AND Stand

It isn’t enough to have a standing desk. You need the option to sit and stand throughout your day.

A few days ago I read a post on Hacker News from Mikael Cho the founder of ooomf declaring why he killed his standing desk

From his post I gleaned these reasons Mikael killed his standing desk:

  • Standing for long periods caused him pain
  • This pain distracted him from his work
  • His standing desk forced his body to take breaks when his brain wanted to work
  • He couldn’t stay ‘wired in’ and focused while standing

Mikael also mentioned the following items related to standing, productivity, exercise, health, and lifestyle:

  • His standing desk helped him stay focused during certain tasks like answering email
  • Sitting isn’t bad. It’s sitting for long periods of time without movement that’s the killer
  • When we don’t move, our risk of cardiovascular disease increases and our blood circulation drops
  • A standing desk may be one way to solve the sitting problem but it doesn’t solve the inactivity problem
  • In the book Blue Zones, longevity was linked to regular, low intensity physical activity
  • One community in Okinawa, Japan has one fifth the risk of colon and breast cancer and lives seven years longer than the average American. In their culture, people sit on the floor, causing them to get up and down thirty to forty times per day

Our mission at Ergotron is to offer high quality sit-stand workstations at an affordable price so that you have the option to sit or stand while you work.

The problem with Mikael’s desk is that it was a $22 standing only Ikea hack that didn’t offer the option to sit without re-configuring your technology. In this limited configuration, transition between standing/sitting is a productivity obstacle.

Having the option to easily sit or stand is critical to a great user experience.

Over the years since I first started using a sit-stand workstation I encountered many of the same issues Mikael faced. My legs got tired. I needed to sit to focus or get into flow mode. I found myself more productive standing going through email but needed to sit to get ‘into’ writing. Some days are different than other days. Some days I stand most of the day, other days I sit most of the day. Most days I am up and down, transitioning more than 10 times.

When at a desk for 6-8 hours a day, simply taking a break and standing for an hour to go through some emails relieves my muscle and joint stiffness.

With my WorkFit-D, using a single hand I can transition from sitting/standing while maintaining creative flow without re-configuring my screens, keyboard, or mouse.

But don’t kill your hack yet!

Are you like Mikael Cho, ready to kill your hacked standing desk? I say wait. Consider what a WorkFit configuration experience might do for you. Maybe a WorkFit D with the Dual Side-by-Side LX Arm configuration.  What, you’re a Macbook user? Think about the WorkFit-P for Apple. Whatever your scenario, we’ve got a sit-stand configuration to suit your style.

And if Mikael is reading this, I have an offer for you. You can find me at @solson.







Steve Olson- Director of Technology – Ergotron a Nortek Company