More than 50 EPISD principals tested out new and innovative chairs, desks and equipment at Brown Middle School this week to help them update and further transform their classrooms into creative learning spaces.
The 55 campuses invited to the furniture expo are not part of the Bond 2016 modernization program but were recently allocated $5 million to purchase the new and innovative furniture.
“Gone are the days of having students sit on rows of stiff desks in front of a chalkboard,” said Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera. “The furniture and amenities we need in classrooms today are conducive to small-group learning and to different types of instruction. We want every corner and nook of the classroom to be a learning space, and our furniture must match that desire.”
The new generation of classroom furnishings take more into consideration ergonomics, posture, adjustability and portability to support students as they work individually and collaboratively.
Each of the pieces promotes active learning. MooreCo Inc. filled a classroom with a variety of their innovative furnishings including pods, moveable desks, cushioned seating chairs and charging stations for the principals to check out and start their purchases.
“What we define as active learning comes with the four Cs: collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication,” said Paola Moore, MooreCo Inc. director of marketing. “All of our desks and chairs are thought to promote that so they’re easy to maneuver. If the teacher decides to do group learning, the kids participate in the configuration of the classroom.”
Magoffin Middle Principal Bonnie Portillo tested out an adjustable desk with wheels and a moveable tabletop – an essential improvement from the clunky old desks soon-to-be obsolete in most classrooms.
“Just to get a look at the samples of what we could actually buy is so much better than looking at it in the magazine,” Portillo said. “I’ve enjoyed seeing it up close and personal and be able to interact with it.”