I have long been a proponent of perch/sit/stand workstations. I have one here at Thing Tank World Headquarters. Mine is hacked from a drafting table, some kitchen shelf stand offs from Ikea, a piece of plywood and a perch/sit chair. The mighty Aeron Chair, and the "ergonomic" chairs that followed in its wake, told us that it would be ok to sit still for 8 hours a day, because they were so supportive. The truth is support is great when you need to rest. The rest of the time, support is a nice way to say "atrophy inducer."
Its not the position you are in, its the ability to change positions easily and frequently that makes a workstation comfortable. And nowhere is that more important than in classrooms. Teachers are always trying to find that middle ground between kids falling asleep and going nuts. Maybe increasing the width of that middle ground is the answer.
“At a stand-up desk,” Ms. Seekel said, “I’ve never seen students with their heads down, ever. It helps with being awake, if they can stand, it seems. And for me as a teacher, I can stand at their level to help them. I’m not bent over. I can’t think of one reason why a classroom teacher wouldn’t want these.”
“We just know movement is good for kids,” Ms. Bormann said. “We can measure referrals to the office, sick days, whatever it might be. Teachers are seeing positive things.”And don't even get me started on kinesthetic learning.
Here's an awesome article in the New York Times about a school in Minnesota that is implementing these desks, and the academics that are studying them. In the words of the director of Education Minnesota Foundation, a teacher's union arm;
“We’re talking about furniture here,” she said, “plain old furniture. If it’s that simple, if it turns out to have the positive impacts everyone hopes for, wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?”Design nerds have always thought that plain old furniture could have positive impacts. Its nice to see some regular folks joining the fold.
Thanks to my loving wife, for pointing out this article.