Don’t Be A Square
Face it, conventional school computer furniture has not been designed for desktop PCs, much less notebooks or tablets. On top of being the wrong height for small hands to rest comfortably on the keys, there’s rarely enough room for a mouse and school work. And, don’t get me started on what to do with all those wires for power and peripherals. Sure, traditional school furniture is OK for kids to scribble notes or write essays, but are not exactly optimal for a keyboard, mouse and screen. This is changing, but slowly, with a variety of classroom furniture that’s been designed from the start to accommodate computers.
While its name implies a break with the past, Versa’s Revolution Desk isn’t as radical as its name. It sticks with the traditional rectangular table shape, but everything else is changed for the better. Instead of allowing kids to hide behind a screen, the Revolution keeps the display below the surface and angled so that they get a good view while the teacher can keep an eye on them. A keyboard tray pops out of the bottom, the whole desk is built on a sturdy steel frame and it comes in four choices of laminate surface color. The best part is that the Revolution comes with a lifetime warranty. The 48- by 30-inch desk costs $800.
SmartDesks’ Quark system is the first computer furniture made especially for classrooms built around laptops. Curved and swooping, Quark is inviting for kids to use. It provides a 34- by 34.5-inch work surface made of long lasting medium density fiberboard with thermofoil laminate coating. On top of thoughtful places to stash wires, Quark has a cup holder, a pencil tray and a way to lock a computer into place. The desk’s central pillar can be adjusted with a pneumatic lift by six inches so it fits bulky high schoolers or tiny first graders. Several Quark desks can be put together with the QStar table, making an instant computer center.
Acrobat Tech Labs from Smith Systems does away with the rectangular desk altogether and replaces it with an arrowhead shaped table that provides more room on the side for mouse work. On top of standing individually and in pairs, the Acrobat can be set up in clusters of four for flexible classroom designs. To work comfortably with kids of differing ages and sizes, the 24- by 60-inch tabletop adjusts from 24- to 36-inches high and there’s no shortage of places to hide pesky wires and cables. The best part is that with the optional riser shelf, there’s a lot of space to put a printer, scanner and no shortage of books. The Tech Lab table costs $660 while the riser and shelf add $390.