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We can learn a great deal by examining some of the features of this room. First of all, the tables are round and large, 7 feet in diameter, as per the SCALE-UP model. They seat 9 students. This poses an immediate question: how many students do you want sitting together? In SCALE-UP the idea is that students work in groups of 3 and so, 3 groups per table. Some college teachers find this unappealing. They want one small group, say 4 students, per table. Such tables might be 5 feet in diameter.
Some institutions have installed one or two adjustable tables in each classroom in order to accommodate students with special needs who may need more clearance for their wheel chair, for example. These can become popular worksites for other students who simply prefer the stand-up working mode.
Stand-up desks have become very popular in elementary and secondary schools. But there is a particular reason for this. As a former elementary school teacher I can attest to the frequency with which students are told to sit down and be quiet. It turns out that these are the last two things young kids want to do. The use of stand-up desks seems to liberate students from silence and immobility. (more…)