Tag Archives: Edtech

Active Schools Recognizes Ergotron As Partner of the Year

Last week at the 2017 Partnership for a Healthier America’s Building a Healthier Future Summit in Washington, DC., Active Schools honored Ergotron, Lakeshore FoundationNational Center for Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) and Marathon Kids with its Partner of the Year Award.

Organizations coming together to support active lifestyles for kids.

Active School Partner of the Year Award

Active Schools, a nationwide movement dedicated to ensuring 60 minutes of physical activity is the norm for K-12 schools, recognizes organizations that support active lifestyles for kids. 

Said Bob Hill, Ergotron’s Education Manager who attended the event, “Partnering with Active Schools is a natural fit to our underlying mission to activate work and learn spaces.

Attendees to the summit had a full agenda, with keynote speakers like Cindy Crawford, Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton also helping champion the cause.

“Ergotron is honored to be partnering with such dedicated organizations. Our mutual objective is to create awareness and understanding of the sedentary problem, while introducing a solution that can make a difference with our youth,” said Hill.

Read more about it.

Standing Desks Webinar: Educators have Q’s, we have A’s!

Thank you to those who joined us for the recent live Standing Desks: How and Why Educators Are Using Them webinar about how standing desks create a healthy, flexible, and personalized learning environment. (If you missed the webinar, access it online at edWeb and earn a CE credit!)

Bob Hill, education manager at Ergotron interviewed Monica Escobar, fifth-grade arts and history teacher, and Jim Girard, a  seventh- and eighth-grade history teacher at Alexandria Day School in Virginia. They shared many insights gained from introducing standing desks to their students and unleashing the power of non-disruptive activity in the classroom.

Webinar listeners had an opportunity to pose questions on how to reduce student sedentary behavior and boost their academic performance. Bob Hill addresses three questions that weren’t answered during the session due to time constraints.

Q: ISN’T IT DISRUPTIVE TO HAVE SOME KIDS STANDING AND SOME SITTING?

A: This is a very common question among teachers and principals. Most are concerned about the impact of students standing and sitting at will during class, that they will lose control of the kids. The reality, as reported by teachers, is that these concerns become a moot point. The greater good of a more engaged student, more effective classroom dynamics and more classroom efficiency outweighs teachers’ initial concern.

Teacher Jim Girard explains: “I configure my classroom multiple ways throughout the day to allow for teacher centered instruction, group work, individual work and simulations. With the LearnFit® Desk, I can easily move set ups from a horseshoe shape, to multiple small groups and even all desks moved aside for an open floor space. Just one week into the first school year with the adjustable standing desks, I was already enjoying the benefits of giving the students the option to stand or sit at their desks.”

Q: WHAT’S THE COST OF A STUDENT STANDING DESK?

A: The basic desk/chair combo that has been used in education for generations ranges in cost from $150 to $250. These seated student desks inhibit student performance and health, and are not conducive to easy collaboration. Standing desks are priced from a low of $250 to $1,000, with fixed-height standing desks at the lower end. It’s useful for teachers and schools exploring sit-stand options to understand the restrictions of the various models available to them. Some standing desks may restrict individualized student adjustment and collaborative movement, and or are not scalable to multiple classrooms or whole schools. An adjustable, mobile option like the LearnFit standing desk ushers in a whole new era of classroom furniture. It allows students to intuitively adjust the height of the worksurface to suit them, and the casters allow for easy and natural movement for ultimate classroom collaboration.

Q: DO STANDING DESKS WORK FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS?

A: Research at the ATTAIN Tech Lab in New Hope, MN, suggests it does. SPED students were encouraged to stand for at least five minutes every half hour. Simple movement may increase focus, concentration, work quality, and overall behavior for students with cerebral palsy, autism spectrum, developmental coordination, emotional and behavioral disorders. Watch a video of an interview with an ATTAIN educator or read the scientific journal article: Sit, Stand, Learn.

While Ergotron desks are not officially ADA-certified, educators find that both the LearnFit and TeachWell® mobile adjustable workstations help level the playing field for many students with physical challenges. For example, students in wheelchairs can wheel right up to the desk and engage more easily with peers while participating in group projects.

Stay tuned for more Q & A from the webinar, as well as other FAQ’s about active classroom furniture.

In the meantime, check out Ergotron’s educator resources for research on “sitting disease,” grants and funding sources, and other tools to support building the case for standing desks at your school.

You can also access last year’s School Moves! webinar on-demand – it focuses mainly on the metabolic health and engagement aspects of an active classroom. (CE credit is available.)

Bob Hill,
Education Manager at Ergotron
@LearnFit_Bob#schoolsthatmove

Say “YES” to the Basics: Flexible and Affordable!

Perhaps your school district — like many — is in the throes of a race to the top with an aim toward educational innovation. At the same time, it may be hampered by severe budget constrictions. If so, you’ll be relieved to learn you don’t have to scrimp and penny-pinch to purchase a safe, sturdy, secure charging cart to go with your new technology.

Get Ergotron quality with the new YES Basic Charging Cart: a smaller, simpler version of our popular YES 36 Charging Cart for under $1,000! It shares family traits with Ergotron’s YES and Zip charging systems at an extremely budget-friendly price. All Ergotron charging products are designed to keep your mobile devices secure, protected and charged. In addition, we rigorously test our carts to ensure they can handle the stresses a modern classroom can demand of technology.

A Simpler Cart: This rugged, space-saving cart will charge, store and transport up to 36 devices. Move or remove adjustable dividers as needed to create your own custom-size spaces — ideal for tablet, Chromebook™, Ultrabook™, MacBook® and laptop devices. This YES Basic cart truly is the last cart you’ll ever buy.

At recent tradeshows, educators liked these YES Basic features best:

  1. Small footprint – 23” x 23” (59 x 59 cm).
  2. Works with all devices, including mixed devices now and new ones in the future.
  3. Lifetime Warranty on mechanical; 3 years on electrical; 1 year on cables.

What’s the main trade-off for a lower price? Charging time. The YES 36 and Zip40 Charging Carts use Ergotron’s patented PowerShuttle® charging system and charge up to 30% faster than standard round-robin charging systems.

Ergotron has the broadest and best selection of charging systems in the industry. Find the right one for your devices – download our Comparison Matrix or visit Charging.ergotron.com.

 

We have a LearnFit Essay Contest winner!

Thank you to everyone who supported the contest by sharing the word or submitting an entry. (We received more than 400 entries!) Congratulations to Pottstown High School as the winner of the Let’s Move! Active Schools LearnFit Essay Contest. Just as Pottstown High School takes a “whole body learning” approach, so too does the LearnFit adjustable standing desk, providing benefits to students’ physical health, mental health, social wellbeing and academic achievement.

Of particular interest in the Pottstown High School essay submission was the attention to the role of mental health in learning, citing a 2016 Pennsylvania Youth Survey of students in grades 6,8,10 & 12. Not only does mental health impact the current and future wellbeing of our youth, it also impacts classroom performance and attendance.  Research shows links between physical activity and mental health, so our aim is to provide students and educators with practical means to break up sedentary behavior that can contribute to debilitating metabolic and mental health issues.

Research also shows the link between low-level physical activity (LLPA) and metabolic health. By introducing standing into the classroom, students’ heart rates are kept higher, they burn more calories and they maintain muscle tone and insulin effectiveness. This translates to healthier, more engaged students with greater on-task behavior.

The amount of physical activity and physical education time is greatly reduced when students advance into secondary education. High schools are grossly underserved with physical activity outlets and external interventions. By supplying practical learning solutions to educators, our partnership provides students with the best opportunity to succeed. We believe that introducing low-level physical activity – in the form of LearnFit adjustable standing desks – into otherwise sedentary classrooms can make a difference.

–  Bob Hill, Ergotron Global Education Manager
@LearnFit_Bob

A back-to-school charging cart story

Ergotron_Blog_Cable-Management_640_Jun14

The other day I picked up my husband from work. He’s a fourth-grade teacher at a St. Paul school in Minnesota. Since we’ve been talking to a lot of educators and administrators about our new LearnFit® Adjustable Standing Desk, I took this opportunity to check out his classroom and chat with him to research the flow of his day.

BeforeChargingCart

I also wanted to see this charging cart he’d been complaining about. He couldn’t remember the brand name but he said it was a big mess. He said only about half of his students were plugging in their devices because the cables were so tangled; he often couldn’t even get the door closed because of the cords! He was right, it was chaos. ErgotronYesChargingCart

He told me I should see another fourth-grade teacher’s cart. “It’s awesome,” he said, glowing. “The devices almost plug themselves in.” I had to check out this paragon of virtue, a little daunted that it might be a competitor’s cart.

Happy to say, it was one of our YES® Charging Carts. I think these pictures pretty much tell the whole story.

What’s your cart story?

Angela Swenson, Director, Global Channel Marketing

TIPS FOR TAMING TECH CHAOS IN THE CLASSROOM

Are you an educator looking for new strategies for organizing your classroom routines and trouble zones? Consider these tech tips for a fall refresh:

Choose a cart, locker, or other charging system that’s compatible with a wide range of devices. One size does not fit all, so make sure your system matches your laptops, tablets, or handhelds. That way, you can mix and match devices today, and your charging solution won’t become obsolete tomorrow.

Locate your system logistically in the classroom, office or media center. It should be out of the way in crowded spaces, but within easy reach for convenient distribution of devices before, after or during class. Sometimes closets or other nooks can serve as charging stations.

Quality, well-made products are durable enough to withstand abuse, the kind that only kids can dish out, but even then… Avoid broken shelves, dismantled cords and jammed locks which require IT to track down replacement parts or call in vendors, such as locksmiths.

Train students to use a gentle touch and act responsibly around technology. Talk to them seriously about the value of the equipment they’re using and what an honor it is to be “tech pioneers.” Not every classroom has the advantage of these devices.

Have a conversation with fellow educators to learn successful strategies for integrating technology into education. You may find that your young, inexperienced peers are comfortable with tech and can give you digital tips and tutorials. Older, seasoned peers may be able to offer good advice on classroom management and how to inspire students. Or the opposite.

Make use of online resources, too. For example, check out the back-to-school posts on the Ask a Tech Teacher blog. In addition to advice, you’ll find over 100 free EdTech lesson plans from a group of savvy contributors. Read away!

Active classroom benefits gain global spotlight

Spanish TV Vid

Video courtesy of www.ccma.cat.

Good news! Reports about how standing desks are helping students to learn have crossed the Atlantic. Recently a number of European television stations have covered this educational phenomenon.

Spain’s Televisio de Catalunya sent reporter Raquel Sans to Virginia’s Alexandria Country Day School to see how Ergotron’s LearnFit™ Adjustable Standing Desks help create an active learning environment. According to teachers and administrators, middle-school students are more productive now, and can stay focused and attentive for longer periods.

For more information on this and other Spotlight Classrooms around the world using our sit-stand student desks, visit Ergotron.com/spotlight.

Classrooms of the future need the right furniture

Ergotron_School-Moves_Blog

By Bob Hill, Ergotron Global Education Manager

Have you noticed? While there is little doubt that classrooms have become more sophisticated and digital, the physical classroom setting and furniture don’t seem to have evolved at the same pace.

It’s true.

The tablets and devices that are transforming the learning process still sit on top of the same style desks from the 1950s. The blackboards and chalk may have been replaced by interactive whiteboards connected to a computer or projector, but far too often, students still sit in stagnant rows looking up in the same direction at the teacher for the daily lesson.

While curriculum modernization creates opportunities for teachers and students to use the classroom space more effectively, traditional classroom furniture does not. In order for the classroom to truly evolve, teachers, principals and district administrators need to address the entire classroom environment.

Consider this about classroom furniture:

  • Classroom furniture at the most foundational level should enhance the educational tools and technology it’s supporting. At an aspirational level, it should also support the teachers’ curriculum, the students’ health, comfort and learning styles. This requires a fundamental change in thinking as schools adopt 1:1 technology, requiring analysis of what else is changing in association with the technology.
  • Facilitating the move from traditional lectures to more group-based, collaborative and active environments requires adjustable and highly mobile furniture for both students and teachers. Stationary desks do not lend themselves to an active classroom nor do they facilitate a group-dynamic or mobile learning environment that has become so prevalent in today’s educational system.
  • A desk that is both height-adjustable and mobile will foster an individualized learning environment that addresses these issues and offers a myriad of benefits to teachers, students and the school.

Why adjustable desks?

Access to adjustable furniture has been proven to help reduce fidgeting distractions, give teachers more time to teach, increase student engagement, improve academic performance and enliven curriculum. In addition, the rising concerns about childhood health issues are addressed when students are given an alternative to sitting all day—introducing standing into the classroom is an effective means to break up sedentary behavior. We’ve seen this played out dozens of times in our LearnFit® ambassador schools across the country.

Input from surveys, interviews and case studies have all demonstrated that teachers prefer desks that facilitate movement and that students adapt to them intuitively. These types of desks foster collaborative learning while satisfying a child’s need for motion and allow for the teacher to use every inch of the environment for instruction.

Given today’s intersection of technology and education, the classroom set-up is at a crossroads. Schools like the Alexandria Country Day School in Virginia get the critical role classroom furniture can play in making today’s classrooms healthier, more collaborative and more conducive to learning even as schools prepare for the next wave of digital instruction.

It is time to “stand up” for important and fundamental changes for today’s classroom and the classroom of the future.

Bob Hill, Global Education Manager, @LearnFit_Bob

Bob Hill, Global Education Manager, @LearnFit_Bob

Visit us at ISTE in Denver, booth #1515

Ergotron_ISTE_Products_Blog_Jun16

The ISTE Conference & Expo has been the premier forum for sharing groundbreaking ideas, unveiling new learning technologies and forming collaborations with the power to impact classrooms worldwide. Visit Ergotron/Anthro booth #1515 to get a glimpse at what Ergotron brings to the education market in 2016. Some highlights:

New! Ergotron LearnFit Sit-Stand Desk

Transform classrooms into active learning environments with on-demand sit-stand desks. With the simple squeeze of a hand lever, kids can change from sitting to standing. The first-generation LearnFit was named a 2016 Bronze Award Winner by the internationally renowned Edison Awards and endorsed by the Global Educator Institute (GEI).

Joyce R., a GEI reviewer and teacher in Florida says:
“I mainly use the LearnFit with a student who has disabilities and has an IEP that allows him to stand and be close to the classroom door. This desk is perfect for him. We can roll it closer to the door and he can stand up and work. Before, when he needed to use his laptop, he would have to sit because the table is too low for him. He always felt uncomfortable and was distracted easily. Using this product allowed him to be more comfortable and much less distracted!”

Top Seller! Ergotron YES Charging Carts and Cabinets, for Mini-Laptops and Tablets.

These flexible charging solutions can adjust to say YES to all your devices, now and in the future. Mix and match laptops, tablets, smartphones, and handhelds. Units offer compact and secure charging while saving valuable floor space in cramped classrooms and offices. Built with Anthro-DNA, they’re also TAA compliant.

Tracey, a reviewer and educator in North Carolina, gave the YES Cart five stars for security:
“This past winter one of the carts was really put to the test. We had a break in over the winter holidays but our Chromebooks were safe! The top of the cart had been pummeled by a hammer. The hammer marks were very clear but the cart remained locked and the thieves left the cart with the Chromebooks inside!”

Drop by our booth #1515, see the mock classroom, take all of our products for a spin, or enter one of our contests. We are giving away 3 products at 3 PM every day and have a grand prize that will excite! You’re sure to walk away a winner.

Protect your digital devices from vandalism and theft

Ergotron_YESMOR-Security_May15_640

Last year, over winter break, vandals broke into a North Carolina elementary school and attempted to steal digital devices from the instructional technology lab. They took a hammer to the top of the cart, the YES36 Charging Cart for Mini-laptops, because the cart’s doors were securely padlocked. Unfortunately, this event is played out in similar educational institutes around the country. Device security was never a more important topic on IT agendas.

Happily, in the case of this school, the vandals were thwarted. This is one example of why choosing a  cart with a tough exterior finish and the sturdy overall construction should be a line item on the “must have” list for a charging system roll out at your school. The top of the cart was damaged (see below) and showed multiple marks, but the school was able to replace just the top to get the cart back to pristine condition and back in operation.

Law enforcement officials warn that break-ins are common, especially during holiday vacations, and that there’s only so much that a school can do to avoid theft and vandalism. Security measures, such as spiked iron fences, iron-shuttered windows, and motion sensors, may stop young pranksters but not professional operators, who have ways of counteracting those safeguards.

Ergotron_YESMOR-Customer-Photo_May15_640

So what can a school do to protect its investment in digital technology? First of all, make sure to choose the right solution for your environment, whether it is a wall mount, desktop or cart charging system. In addition, the unit must be tough enough to withstand common educational rigors, such as rough handling by unruly students.

Finally, consider these security features when comparing charging systems:

  • Is a standard locking feature enough, or does it need more (keyed door plus padlock, etc.)?
  • Does it need additional security brackets that will lock the locking system to the floor or wall?
  • Can the unit be rolled into another secured area at night, such as a locking closet?

At Ergotron, we’re always looking for new ways to keep your tablets, laptops, and handheld devices safe, charged, and ready for use. That way, as educators, you have peace of mind, knowing your edtech investments are well-secured, and so you can focus on what you do best – teach.

 

The importance of safety certification for charging systems

YES_Dorothy

No doubt you have already been through at least one or two technology decisions for your school, choosing devices that will meet your student and curriculum needs. Just as you discovered that you weren’t always comparing Apples to eReaders, the same is true with the charging systems that keep your devices powered up and in play throughout the school day. There is a tendency to assume that all charging systems are safe, but this is not always true. In fact, all device charging systems are not created equal.

Therefore, it is equally important to choose a charging products that has been safety certified by a third-party organization and that the system is being evaluated as a complete and integrated system. It is important to require this of your supplier to ensure the safety of your devices, your facilities and your students.

Some manufacturers use individual components that are safety certified, but then combine them into a larger charging system that is not certified. Charging systems that are not evaluated and certified may exceed allowable load limits, thereby causing electrical arcing, facility problems and/or interaction and interference with other equipment. Safety certification also ensures that mechanical hazards such as user “pinch points,” tipping, sharp edges and crush/cut potential are mitigated.

What are the risks of using non-certified products? You may be surprised at how many there are. Here is a list of considerations when choosing the right systems for your campus:

  1. Critical materials are not fire resistant: This is a potential fire hazard if a battery or electrical fault occurs.
  2. Electrical hazards are not physically enclosed: Shock hazards exist if energized circuitry can potentially be touched either directly or if exposed metal is not safely grounded or properly isolated. Another fire hazard can exist if the enclosure can potentially let out flames or molten metal if an electrical fault occurs inside of the enclosure.
  3. Mechanical hazards are not mitigated: If not properly tested and certified, pinch points, tip, crush or cut, sharp edges, and moving parts can injure students and staff.
  4. Equipment ratings must meet National Electrical Code: Non-evaluated systems may exceed allowable load limits causing electrical arcing, facility problems and/or interaction and interference with other equipment.
  5. No manufacturing factory quality surveillance: Product quality and consistency must be managed and ensured.

Whether you are a choosing a small desktop unit for a back office, a wall unit for an AV center, or a full cart for laptops, tablets, Chromebooks, or netbooks in the classroom, safety should be a number one priority for all the stakeholders involved. Technology is meant to open up new worlds to the students, not new headaches for teachers and IT staff. Look for the certified safety labels or documentation and be sure to differentiate the whole system is safe.

Check out the educator resources on our website, including a grant writing kit, to power up every classroom safely and securely. Also, our charging matrix (PDF) can help you choose the right solution for your environment.

Bob Hill, Ergotron’s Global Education Manager

Bob Hill, Global Education Manager, @LearnFit_Bob

Bob Hill, @LearnFit_Bob