CNN’s Kelly Wallace explores standing in the classroom at the Alexandria Country Day School in Virginia. The school added 128 Ergotron LearnFit™ Adustable Standing Desks to its middle school classrooms to improve students’ focus and increase their physical activity. Multiple Ergotron TeachWell® Mobile Digital Workspaces were also deployed to enable teachers to teach from a mobile, sit-stand platform. The products were funded through a $3 million gift from an anonymous donor in 2014, the largest in the school’s 32-year history. Learn more about other schools piloting standing desks at Ergotron.com/spotlight. Stay in the loop socially by sharing hashtag #schoolsthatmove on Twitter.
We came across something amazing for education recently – a surprise “flash funding” utilizing an online crowdsourcing site, DonorsChoose.org, to support our nation’s school kids. The campaign, #BestSchoolDay, brought together more than 50 celebrities, athletes, and philanthropists (such as Bill Gates) who fully funded 11,000 classrooms in 47 states to the tune of over $14 million.
Since 2000, DonorsChoose.org has been supporting teachers and students by making it easy to help a classroom in need. Their mission is to connect the public to public schools – so that students in every corner of this country have an opportunity to get a great education.
Though the one-day flash funding event took place on March 10th, you can still get involved. There are projects on the DonorsChoose.org site marked with a #BestSchoolDay match offer logo – that means you can double the impact of your donation.
Here’s a great example of a teched project with a match offer, called Chromebooks for Humanities. The request is for Chromebooks and an Ergotron charging cart for Mr. Woolums’s class at the Air Force Academy High School in Chicago.
Are you a public school teacher in need of funding? We recommend DonorsChoose.org as a good way to engage with community philanthropists and major corporations. The more people who know of your need, the better your chance of getting it met. Start your first project here.
We know teachers are unsung heroes who open up so many doors for their students. That’s why we have educator resources on our website, including a grant writing kit, so that everyone has their #BestSchoolDay. Together, we can help kids do great things in the classroom, and beyond.
This is the first in a 10-part series as a follow-up to our recent edWeb “School Moves!” webinar on unleashing the power of non-disruptive activity in your classroom. Access it online — and earn CE credit!
Bob Hill, Education Manager at Ergotron, will be addressing the questions we didn’t have a chance to answer during the session.
Q: Is it difficult for students to stand if they are in a lab typing exercises or in a 4-hour-long lab?
A: If students are in a dedicated computer or typing lab for an entire class period, there are a different set of ergonomic guidelines that should be followed. Because of prolonged repetitive motion, you will need to be particularly attentive to wrist angles, elbow angles, and monitor height. Perhaps a more appropriate solution for a typing or computer lab would be a height-adjustable sit-stand workstation that is designed specifically for ergonomic computer use. Take a look at Ergotron’s WorkFit-S and WorkFit-A.
Q- Is Bob standing during this webinar? I want PROOF that Bob is standing!
A: I’m a stander! I stand at my desk at least 75% of the time, and take my sitting breaks when I’m in meetings. If I start feeling a little “unfocused” or drowsy in a meeting, I then just go stand in the back of the room. When we did our webinar the other day, I was most certainly standing – I feel inhibited in expressing myself when seated, and I just have more energy when standing. (See photo below of Bob; he’s quick on his feet!)
Q: What’s the best posture? I heard it’s good to pretend that you’re shooting a laser out of your chest at the face of the person you’re talking to?
A: As ergonomists commonly say, the best posture is the next posture. Translation – don’t be static. With both our youth and us adults, it’s important to keep moving, even if it’s just considered NEAT [non-exercise activity thermogenesis]. As for how to have proper standing posture, here’s a link for more information about the ergonomics of comfortable sitting or standing.
Last week, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo stopped by 360 High School in Providence to tour her state’s first active classroom – equipped with 30 of our LearnFit® adjustable standing desks! Also joining her was Michael Clarke, CEO of Nortek (our Providence-based parent company), who, earlier this year, donated 58 LearnFit desks between 360 High School and West Broadway Middle School in an effort to locally transform classrooms into active learning environments where students stay more engaged.
During the classroom session, Michael and Governor Raimondo discussed the importance of building a healthier generation of students – which begins in the classroom and can be further championed with the use of adjustable standing desks – as well as the key role they will play in fueling the future Rhode Island economy. The Governor also impressed upon the students how collaboration plays a major role in both government and business.
In his own words, Michael relayed, “Our LearnFit desks allow students and teachers to create an atmosphere of collaboration and engagement that you can’t do with traditional desks. We donated the desks because we want to invest in the next generation of Rhode Island’s future. The kids in high school today are the employees we will need tomorrow – and we want them to be smart, healthy and productive. LearnFit desks help on all those fronts.”
Are you interested in bringing standing desks to your school? Learn how your school or district can turn its standing-desk wishes into reality for more active classrooms by accessing grants for K-12 programs. Visit Ergotron’s Resources for Educators to find information to get you started, along with details about the LearnFit desk. You can also hear directly from teachers, administrators and students about their experience at other Ergotron spotlight schools or by following #schoolsthatmove on Twitter.
On Monday, Feb. 8th, join our live webinar for educators, discover how to unleash the power of non-distruptive physical activity in your classroom – and earn CE credit at the same time!
Ergotron’s Education Manager, Bob Hill, will share ways to improve your students’ health, behavior, and achievement through daily movement. Highlights of what you’ll learn:
- Health and social dangers of childhood sedentary behaviors and associated obesity.
- Role of low-level, in-class physical activity in boosting health and achievement.
- Movement links to musculoskeletal, psychosocial, cardiovascular, and metabolic health.
- Introducing movement and “enheightenment” into your learning environment.
- Realizing the promise of personalized learning tools and 1:1 devices.
- Finding funding and grants to add height-adjustable and mobile desks for your students.
Best of all, you’ll have a chance to get an personal answer to your questions during this live, interactive session on Monday, Feb. 8, 2016 at 4:00 pm ET/1:00 pm PT.
Register today and join the Amazing Resources for Educators professional learning community while you’re at it. Can’t make this scheduled webinar? You can access it at edWeb.net later, at your convenience. And be sure to check out the educator resources on the Ergotron website.
Stay tuned to this blog for news of the release of our companion ebook, Sit, Stand, Move!
Ergotron is on the road again with a busy schedule of educational conferences and tradeshows around the globe. These events are an opportunity for us to meet up with partners, teachers, and the educational community at large. We’d love to connect with you!
Come see how the LearnFit helps to create a more dynamic and interactive classroom for students by introducing low-level activity into the school day. Our award-winning Zip and YES charging systems are extremely flexible, so they can accommodate most mobile devices.
Will you be in any of these cities or at any of these events this winter? If yes, come and see what the excitement is all about!
12-15 Jan 2016
Booth # 623
20-23 Jan 2016
Excel Stand F105
1-5 Feb 2016
Booth # 1333
16-20 Feb 2016
Halle 9.1 Stand F037
9-11 Mar 2016
Hall 2.1 Stand F6
Can’t make it to these shows? Ergotron has rich online resources for educators at the K-12 to university level. Learn how to turn your wishes into reality for healthier, more active classrooms. Check out our wellness research and grant tools to find funding for bringing standing desks to your school.
It’s a new day in Providence, RI, for 360 High School and West Broadway Middle School. Volunteers from the schools, Nortek, Inc., and Ergotron installed LearnFit™ Adjustable Standing Desks in a unique pilot designed to help the schools test the sit-stand concept in real-time. @BiancaBuono covers the story at ABC6 News.
For more information on other schools around the country visit Ergotron.com/spotlight or hear about Virginia’s Alexandria Country Day School and their decision to adopt sit-stand on a broader scale in this USA Today report.
I just returned from the EDspaces 2015 show for education furniture. The attendees were largely educators, architects and designers, and resellers seeking to use new furniture concepts to improve learning objectives. Among what I expected to see there, there were also a few surprises. Here are my “cliff” notes from the event if you couldn’t attend:
- Introducing motion into the student’s day. There is significant interest in this topic, most certainly fueled by all the recent research proving the benefit of reducing sedentary time. One of the award winners had a wide range of bicycles, walkers and elliptical mechanisms built into desks—a seemingly good idea, but expensive, complex and space-intensive. Perhaps a good specialty solution. Hat’s off to them for their efforts.
- Standing desk solutions are starting to emerge. Ergotron’s Bob Hill gave an excellent talk surveying the research supporting the value of standing desks, and discussing how the early adopters have achieved success in their schools. The questions being asked by the audience were not exploratory, rather they had detailed questions about how to successfully implement, such as deciding how many chairs need to be planned in a classroom of standing desks. A key point was the need for student-adjustable desks. In a recent article in FastCompany, the principal of Vallecito Elementary says, “Our current favorite desk has some of the things we need, but is cumbersome to adjust and requires an army of parent volunteers to adjust the desks in each classroom to fit each child. This is obviously not scalable across the country. …”
- Collaboration is a top educator priority, but solutions are haphazard. There is clearly a strong desire to provide flexible, re-configurable desk solutions. However, ironically, the most common desks that are touted as collaboration solutions appear to be odd-shaped regular desks. Kidney shaped, trapezoidal, interlocking organic shapes. They look nice, but few are mobile, few allow for height adjustability, and few readily allow the students to reconfigure the classroom quickly. Also there appears to be more attention to color than to performance. The key to developing the ideal collaboration products will be to provide prototypes to innovative educators, and cooperatively work on developing new solutions.
- Cheapo tablet/laptop charging carts…yikes! Among the exhibitors there, there were lots of manufacturers with cheap charging carts with power strips. Some even were made of particle board. Please understand that computing devices and their power bricks give off a lot of heat during charging, and they also can draw enough power to blow a circuit breaker or overheat. At a minimum, these carts can reduce lifetime of your computing devices by overheating them, but more seriously, they can be fire hazards. Buy a safe cart with power management and a metal or flame retarded housing please!! The number of fires allowable in a school is ZERO. Look for UL certification labels.
- Knockoffs. I was surprised to see copies of one of our products and some other top manufacturer’s products. Please don’t buy copies—it takes a lot of research and development to create a ground breaking product.
I am convinced that this is the beginning of a major trend towards standing desks that will improve our student’s health and learning outcomes. Check out emerging research on juststand.org.
By Pete Segar, CEO, Ergotron Inc., President, Nortek Ergonomics and Productivity Solutions
Great ed-tech news! Ergotron was recognized by Tech & Learning Magazine with two Award of Excellence designations for innovative solutions to aid student health and academic performance in our schools. Products honored were the new-category creating, mobile Ergotron LearnFit™ Standing Desk for students, and the Anthro wall-mountable YES Charging Cabinet that powers up mini-laptops in cramped classrooms and media centers.
Tech & Learning’s prestigious Awards of Excellence program recognizes innovative technologies that break new ground as education tools. Winners are selected by panels of professional users, editors and a panel of more than 30 educator judges who tested hundreds of products for their quality, effectiveness, and ease or creative use of technology.
When asked how the desk was received at the event, Bob Hill, Ergotron’s Education Industry Manager replied, “How many times have we heard a teacher ask a kid to stay seated in the classroom? Teachers get it.” What they “get” are children’s impulses to move. And how that movement is linked to brain development and ultimately performance. Read the news >