Weekly Editorial

Trends Impacting The Future Of Educational Furniture

Written By Rob Kirkbride, Write Office • October 10, 2022

emuamericas - Lyze
Designer Florent Coirier found inspiration for the Lyze collection in a technical and timeless design, which makes this collection elegant and contemporary.

emuamericas - Lyze
Designer Florent Coirier found inspiration for the Lyze collection in a technical and timeless design, which makes this collection elegant and contemporary.

Magnuson Group - Crepe Planters
Crepe is a family of square and rectangular aluminum indoor/outdoor planters with plastic water saucer and flower pot. Available in Forge Grey, Textured Black or White Ral 9003.

Featured Brands: emuamericas, Magnuson Group

Let’s talk a bit today about school. More specifically, let’s talk about trends in education that will have a major impact on school furnishings in the future.

First let’s discuss whether schools are needed at all. After all, students were forced to learn from home for more than a year during the pandemic. Is distance learning the future? Likely not as statistics universally show that students and learning suffered greatly during remote learning.

The Trend: Remote Learning
National test results released in September showed performance of 9-year-olds in math and reading dropping to the levels from two decades ago. This year, for the first time since the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests began tracking student achievement in the 1970s, 9-year-olds lost ground in math, and scores in reading fell by the largest margin in more than 30 years. Remote learning is mostly to blame.

While the remote school test failed miserably (as did the remote work test), distance learning is still a hot trend in the world of education. There will be a place for remote learning, especially in higher education, but certainly not in all cases. Some benefits have come from online learning that will likely continue. For example, many teachers are recording their lectures and discussions for students to review if they were not able to make class — or even if they were in class and want to use the recording for review.

Furniture Industry Takeaway: Add Technology Products
If you deal in educational furniture, I would highly recommend adding a technology component to your offering. Regardless of if school is fully in person or some blend of in person and remote, technology is going to be a major part of future classrooms.

I’m not talking about the laptops or handheld devices students bring to class with them, rather the technology that helps teachers teach — products like interactive whiteboards and projection devices. These products are readily available to dealers and don’t take a heavy tech background to install or maintain.

The Trend: Record High Teacher Turnover
A staggering 55 percent of educators are thinking about leaving the profession earlier than they had planned, according to a National Education Association (NEA) survey of its members. Eighty-six percent of members say they have seen more educators leaving the profession or retiring early since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Exhausted and exasperated, classroom teachers and other school staff are under an unprecedented level of strain, made worse by recent staff shortages that have plagued school systems across the country. 

Furniture Industry Takeaway: Offer Flexible Classroom Furniture
Fewer teachers mean there are going to be more students packed into classrooms. Those classrooms are going to need to be flexible. Offer furniture that is mobile, nests and serves more than one purpose. 

If the teacher shortage continues, teachers are going to need all the help they can get in the classroom. The right mix of flexible furniture can help.

The Trend: Active Learning
There is a long trend toward active learning including project-based learning, design-based challenges, work-based learning and entrepreneurial experiences. Active learning is a student-centered approach to learning in which the responsibility for learning is placed upon the student, often working in collaboration with classmates. 

In active learning, teachers are facilitators rather than one way providers of information. The presentation of facts, so often introduced through straight lecture, is deemphasized in favor of class discussion, problem solving, cooperative learning, and writing exercises (graded and ungraded). Other examples of active learning techniques include role-playing, case studies, group projects, think-pair-share, peer teaching, debates, Just-in-Time Teaching, and short demonstrations followed by class discussion. 

Furniture Industry Takeaway: Create Real-World Classroom Settings More
Akin to Work

Think trapezoidal and arc-shaped desktops that can be clustered into a circle or small groups, perch-type seating that can easily be pulled into different places around the classroom and casual furnishings that can be used for brainstorming or other group work.

Active learning needs flexible classroom furniture, which gives teachers more options to create learning environments that adapt to their students’ different styles of learning. Collaborative, mobile, and flexible classroom furniture comes in shapes and sizes that support the engagement between student and teacher.

Interested in reading the complete newsletter this article was featured in? Click here!

Like what you see? Share with a friend.

Want The Insider delivered to your inbox?

Click below to sign up for this weeky newsletter.