In traditional learning spaces, there are either rows of individual desks or several larger tables – but not both. The Berries Collaborative Tables from Jonti-Craft accommodate both styles of learning without needing two sets of furniture or multiple classrooms. The tables are designed to be ergonomic and fit both right and left-handed students. They pair well with traditional media as well as technology.
by Tina Manzer
Behold the simple table – no more. Like clay in the hands of creative classroom-furniture manufacturers, this epitome of utility has been molded and shaped into an octagon, clover, flower, cloud, circle, half-moon, horseshoe, kidney, trapezoid, chevron, dog bone and “splat,” to name a few. For getting the job done (especially if the job is listening, reading, constructing, playing, discussing or building – for groups and individuals) today’s tables are teachers’ pets. Schools are delighted to have them on their team.
Some teachers love tables so much that if their school can’t provide them immediately, they’ll make their own by pushing four desks together and connect them using tape or zip ties. Then cover the top with shower board purchased at Home Depot. There’s more than one way to skin a cat!
Today we are seeing more tables because more educators see tables as a grand solution for collaborative learning. In that respect, lashed-together student desks simply won’t work. Moving tables together and then apart, depending on the learning to be supported, is the key. When individual shaped surfaces fit together like puzzle pieces to create a bigger whole, the work surface becomes dynamic, cheerful and even beautiful. We all know what effect that kind of positivity has on student outcomes.
Manufacturers in our industry are happy to accommodate schools and their new, innovative uses for tables. Here is just a sample of what’s available.
Flash Furniture’s YU Half Moon Tables are designed for instructor/student interaction in early childhood settings. They’re height adjustable and available in bright green, blue and red. “Our activity tables are mobile for flexibility of use,” explains Barry Briebart. “They’re also lightweight for easy portability around a school.” Flash stocks large inventories in multiple warehouses across the country; 94 percent of all orders received by 2 p.m. are shipped the same working day. “We focus on remarkable value and exceptional service,” says Briebart.
MediaSpace Multimedia & Collaboration Tables from MooreCo Inc. were designed for use in project-based learning environments, both with and without technology options. “They are perfect for all types of collaborative learning, grades and methods, including STEM environments,” says Kristen Hamer. The company has been producing furniture and equipment for the education industry for 30 years, but added desks and tables for K-12 classrooms just in the past few years. “We have been producing collaboration tables for commercial environments for decades,” Kristen explains. “Our experience in those environments translated well to the new PBL and STEM teaching methods in the classroom.” At its booth at EDspaces, MooreCo Inc. will display two versions of the MediaSpace table, with seating for five to eight people in a group.
Marco Group’s Apex series of tables and desks “offers tremendous value to schools looking for contemporary styling, functionality, optimal space utilization and flexibility,” explains Sidney Youngblood. “The positive feedback we’ve received since adding Apex to our offering is very encouraging.” The tables are available in multiple tabletop sizes, configurations, laminate and banding color options, plus accessories for customization. A bestseller in the series is the 24 by 60-inch table with a rectangular top.
“Today’s education spaces have transformed into large areas of hands-on learning, design and collaboration for science experiments, engineering assembly and art creations,” says Jessica Olson from WB Manufacturing. “If one of the six common table shapes and 28 standard sizes of our heavy duty, all-purpose Lobo Tables don’t meet the exact needs of a science or art classroom, creative lab or maker space, WB Manufacturing will work with a school to produce a heavy-duty custom size and shape.” Lobo tables are constructed of a 1- by 2-inch, 16-gauge, powder-coated steel frame that prevents the table from swaying and sagging. They’re leveled by non-marring glides and 14-gauge steel legs that easily bolt to a 10-gauge reception plate. Choose from Lotz Armor Edge, Laminate 3MM, Lab Top, Hardwood, Maple or Stainless Steel tops.
Study Carrels, which originated in monasteries centuries ago, have become a classic staple in elementary schools all the way up through universities. Today, Smith Carrel offers modern, ADA-compliant versions complete with power modules (AC and USB) and built-in CPU holders. Standing models offer adjustable-height work surfaces from 27 inches to 39. Smith Carrel manufactures in the USA, and offers three-day shipping and a 10-year warranty on its products, which meet ANSI/BIFMA 5.5 Standards.
Fleetwood Group’s Flip & Nest Tables were originally developed for instructional flexibility in shared spaces for Design39 School in California. When the top is horizontal, it’s a group work surface. When it’s vertical, it’s an additional writing surface; great for tutoring. Flipping the top to the perpendicular mode allows the tables to nest together for minimum storage. “The table is available in many colors, but our most popular version has a whiteboard writing surface,” explains Jeff Pett. “Students use the tables together to collaborate on problems, and they can flip it down as a presentation board to show their work to classmates. It comes in a variety of sizes and features a pinch-resistant folding mechanism.”
With the addition of Cocoa, Angeles’ BaseLine Tables are available in eight colors including Royal Blue, Candy Apple Red, Shamrock Green, Canary Yellow, Teal Green, Caramel Brown and Ocean Blue. They are available in seven different heights, and four different shapes: round, square, rectangle and kidney. They’re sturdy and safe with a laminate surface that’s easy to clean. “Boots” on the table’s legs help them glide easily on any surface.