There are a surprising number of elements to consider when selecting tables for a modern, innovative, agile learning space. But there is not just one solution. A learning room should contain the table, or combination of tables, that best suits the needs and desired learning outcomes of the pupils.
For those schools keen to move away from the traditional rectangular-shaped table, semi-circular or trapezoidal tables increase the amount of circulation space in the room (depending on size) and allow a variety of different configurations for different learning scenarios. These are especially useful for practical work where resources are shared. Individual tables, designed to allow a variety of configurations, are increasingly popular in some schools, especially when they can be configured to interlock with each other. They allow the teacher to better undertake one-to-one support and when arranged in a horseshoe or semicircular shape allow him or her to literally get in the middle of the group for focused work. They also enable pupils to work in any combination of group sizes, from individuals and small groups through to the whole class.
Mobility, weight and collapsibility of desks should also be considered in the learning space that needs to be transformed for different pedagogies.
There is a significant trend now away from the traditional mock wood surface, to schools selecting a light colour such as white or light grey. This immediately lightens the room and helps make it a more appealing modern-looking space. Although some have shied away from the idea of light tables, experience has shown that white tables have encouraged pupils to look after them better as any mark shows up straight away, whereas on ‘wood’ tables marks can often be hidden and added to without detection for some time. Desks are now even available with ‘write on’ table surfaces to foster creative ideas and design tasks.