Roundup: Classroom and Lab Furniture - Classroom Computing Molds Classroom Furniture

As computing has become integrated into the in-classroom learning experience, so classroom furniture has begun to adapt to new uses. The main change is simply finding ways to accommodate all the technology flowing through the woodwork. A corollary challenge is ergonomic—providing users enough control so that they can see and focus on their screens comfortably for sustained periods of time. Here are some examples of products that we think rise to the new demands expertly.

Anthro Laptop Storage Cart
Anthro offers two laptop storage carts into which students can put their laptops between classes. The 20-unit cart includes two lockable doors; the 30-unit cart has four lockable doors. Both offer built-in rear placement charging capabilities that facilitate leaving adapters plugged in at all times without having to unplug them each time users load and unload the cart. A data connection package allows users to port the local area network into the bottom of the unit and plug a wireless networking hub into the cabinet near the top where it can sit or be field mounted.

Contact: Anthro Corp., Tualatin, Ore;
(800) 325-3841; www.anthro.com.


Computer Comforts
Hide Away Table
Computer Comforts’ Hide Away table was engineered specifically with multi-use classrooms in mind. The patented "Hide-Away" feature creates a student worktable that d'es double duty. The table is designed to hold a flat-panel LCD monitor that can easily be stored out of sight when not in use. An adjustable pneumatic arm controls the monitor and allows it to be raised or lowered with only fingertip control. A gas cylinder perfectly balances the monitor in any position. The student raises the back section of the table, reaches in, and lifts the monitor above the desk. A keyboard tray below the table completes the ergonomic picture. This table is an excellent choice for training rooms that do not always require computers.

Contact: Computer Comforts, Houston, Texas;
281-488-2288; www.computercomforts.com.


KI In Tandem
KI’s new InTandem Com- puter Support Furniture features a distinctive setup to simplify and streamline cord management. Because of its design, there is little or no disruption to students during changes or repairs to the power and communication beam. The beam conceals all cables and separates power from other cabling, eliminating cross-talk between wires. Facility managers have complete access to the beam from both the front and back of the table; no furniture must be moved to access the beam. There are several options for wiring InTandem furniture; any leg can receive power and data wires to bring power/data to the horizontal beam, from which it then runs table to table. Shared legs between joined, side-by-side units open up the under-table area for more leg room. Tamper-resistant fasteners provide an extra level of security.

Contact: KI, Green Bay, Wisconsin;
(800) 424-2432; www.ki.com.


MediaTech
The MediaTech SD-05 student desk is available with lockable flip-and-store monitor mounts. The flat-panel monitor flips under the desk and out of sight when not in use, replaced by a flat-top desk. The cable management system controls wiring and keeps it out of sight. The desk is available in a one- or two-student model as well as a split top version that accommodates monitors up to 19".

Contact: MediaTech, Holly Hill, Fla.;
(386) 258.9958; www.gomediatech.com.


SmartDesks
SmartDesks’s new FlipIT student desk functions both as a computer table and a flat-top desk. The patented technology is ergonomic and easy to use. Students simply pull out the under-desk keyboard tray, and the flat-panel monitor flips into view. SmartDesks has designed the monitor placement so that users have the most ergonomically-sound viewing angle while maintaining full visibility to the instructor and other students. A hydraulic mechanism prevents smashed fingers when the unit is closed. SmartDesks offers its own LCD monitors that self-dim to adjust to ambient lighting. FlipIT is also available without monitors for schools that plan to bring in their own equipment. An optional locking mechanism keeps the hardware safe between classes. SmartDesks also offers a universal locking system that is controlled via a remote, encoded “key.” With the universal lock, all units lock simultaneously.

Contact: SmartDesks, Lutherville, Md;
800-770-7042; www.smartdesks.com.


Spectrum Chairiot
The Chairiot is a combination desk and chair. The ergonomic design allows students to make adjustments for maximum comfort. The chair is available in two seating options: in fabric, the chair has pneumatic adjustability, swivels, and meets California 117 fire rating requirements; in polypropylene, the chair features a sculptured shell perched on a pneumatic mechanism. The shell will resist nicks, scratches, and impacts. The Multi-Use Chairiot has a rectangular desktop and the Laptop Dedicated Chairiot has a fixed laptop tray. These desks can be grouped together to save space or distributed throughout the classroom.

Contact: Spectrum Industries, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin;
(800)235-1262; www.spectrumfurniture.com.

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