Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tables or desks

Anne,

I enjoyed your presentation yesterday and can easily imagine that you are a superb classroom teacher. At PBCC, we are building a new academic building that will have a wireless network for instruction. We are planning to initiate a computers in composition program using carts of laptop computers. I think you mentioned in your presentation that the students prefer tables to desks when working with laptops. We are looking at flexible furniture for these room—wheeled chairs and individual desks—see below—but I am now wondering if tables might be better. Your thoughts on this and anything else about using laptops to teach composition would be greatly appreciated.

Jim Mabry

Dr. James C. Mabry
Dean of Academic Affairs
Palm Beach Community College
South Campus
(561) 862-4410

What do you guys think?

47 comments:

kjerstinl said...

Dr. Mabry,

Tables are MOST DEFINITELY better than desks. There is tons of room, helping the laptops staying on the desks. Also, when there are group activities, it's easier to fit a couple laptops on a table with everyone just sitting around one table. With desks, everyone has to push their desks together, and it's just a hindrance to us all.

connord said...

Having a lot of room is the most important thing with desktops because having room for both the laptop and the papers is very important. Tables definitely have more room.

paigen said...

Dr. Mabry,
I personally prefer tables over chairs for many reasons. First off, because tables are bigger, it is easier to manuever around them. Desks are just so crammed it would be hard to get in and out of them with perhaps 30 desks and 30 wheely chairs in one room. It may not sound like it saves space but it definitely does. They also have more surface area so it is easy to have a notebook and a laptop side by side, whereas on a desk it would be too small. It is also nice to have a partner right next to you that can help you. If your computer ever freezes up, you can easily ask them for help before disturbing anyone else. Thank you for your interest in our opinions.

christa s said...

Dr. Mabry-
I think it is a better idea to have tables rather than desks when using laptops, as well as in other classrooms where laptops aren't used. As a student in a laptop classroom, I can say that the tables we use allow us more room to work so that we can lay out papers or books to look at while typing, and tables allow us more room to work collaboratively when we are assigned group projects with our laptops.

Phillips said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shaunam said...

Dr. Mabry,
I really like your idea of chairs on wheels and desks. However, if we were to have desks we do many group projects so the thing that I am proposing is that the desks are easily movable so we can combine them and have a bigger work space. Preferably, desks would be more useful as they provide more space and surface to work with.

chelseah said...

Dr. Mabry,
Ms. Smith showed the class your idea of desks and tables for your students, and I have a few suggestions. Personally, i like to spread out a little more, and I'm not sure that the desks you had in mind would be big enought. Especially because the students need to fit all of their papers and books and things, plus their laptops. I do, however, think that the chairs looked really good, nice and comfortable. Chairs with wheels on them come in handy as well, and I like them better. I am able to scoot out and in what ever distance I want towards the desk/table. With regular chairs, it is harder to manuver.
In Ms. Smith's class, we have tables that comfortably fit two people. Which I like, because it is easier to interact and do partner work.

Sarah C said...

I think tables are better because they allow you more space. Desks are too small to fit a lot of things on, and they are uncomfortable. On the other hand, tables give you more room, and you can move about more freely and with more ease. In all of my classrooms, excluding art and english, I have regular desks. If i had a choice, I would replace all the desks with tables. They are a better setup because they do not take up as much space. One desk fits one person, but one table fits two people, so the rooms aren't as cluttered or tightly packed (relating back to more room to move around freely). That is why I think tables are better than desks.

kimmy c said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
adamb said...

About the table and desks, I think that tables would work best for laptops because they allow more freedom. They make sharing information easier such as exchanging papers for peer editing. Desks are individual and make it harder to work with someone.

elyse h said...

Dr. Mabry,
I see your point of desks, but for laptops I prefer tables. Tables for laptops just seems alot safer, there is less space for the laptop to fall off the table. Desks can be nice, but they are alot smaller and there is a lot less room to spread out and have your stuff on the table. Tables still allow wheeled chairs (which we enjoy very much) but there's a lot more space. It's a lot easier to pay attention when you aren't focusing on how to make yourself comfortable in a small desk.

Phillips said...

~Dr. Mabry

Personally I enjoy tables better than desks when working with laptops, especially when using a mouse. When using tables there is more room to work and you can position the laptop around the desk so you can write and not have to remove the laptop from the desk.

_annaw_ said...

Although individual desks might help to give each student solitude to concentrate, the tables have been more beneficial. Not only do we have more space (although laptops are small, they arn't microscopic), but we also get the benefit of having other people next to you to help with notes you missed, etc.

joshb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joshb said...

Dr. Mabry,
Tables allow much more space in the room because you do not have to space them out. They fit together and allow a larger working space for students.

jess b said...

Dr. Mabry-

The use of tables in our classroom has made learning much more efficent. With tables instead of desks we are able to have mores space and limit the risk of destroying our laptops. With the bigger tables we can keep our laptops out and our other work without being crunched up.

briang said...

Mr. Mabry,
I think that tables are much better than desks for laptops for the classroom. Tables give each student more room to work and also appear to take less space than the traditional desks. Its easier to move around with the tables because there is more space and it is safer for the laptops because there is more room on top of them. Desks would make it easier for a laptop to fall off and break while a table is large and would support the laptop better. Tables just make the environment more confortable and make it easier to be creative and learn. This is not education as usual.

declanh said...

Personally, I prefer tables to desks. Tables seem to provide more space, even when you're sharing with another person. Even half a desk is bigger than a tiny desk. Especially if you're claustrophobic...

tanal said...

Dr. Mabry,

I prefer tables over desks, especially for lap tops because they provide more workspace and allow us students to interact more with each other. We can work together easier when we are working at tables, and we can create a better workspace. Also, I think that it is more safe to use the laptops on a table rather than a desk since it does provide more space for both your lap top and other things you are using.

alexm said...

Hello Dr. Mabry,

I am a student of the person you call Anne, Ms. Smith to us.

I want to reccommend tables to you for the use of laptops and wheelie chairs. For one, tables are historically more stable than induvidual desks. I can't exactly prove this, so just take my word for it.

Tables are more fun, which should be looked in to, as no one likes learning when they're bored.

Tables offer more space for STUFF other than the laptops themselves.

Tables also allow for a more creative, structured approach to the classroom, as opposed to the lines of desks.

I know that my opinion doesn't matter much as a singular vote, but the rest of my classmates agree.

Thank you.

KathrynT said...

What is nice about the tables is that you have more space for your laptop, along with any papers and pencils you need. Ms. Smith showed us the picture in the email of a desk-like table and wheely chair. The desk looks fairly small, and doesn't look like it will work in the same way that the tables do. Also, the wheely chairs are nice when you are sitting in a shared area. The tables we have in class, we share with another person, and work well for when we are working in groups.
The wheely chairs are fun, but sometimes they can be annoying when they role over backpack straps and other things on the floor.

alexd said...

I am also a student of Anne Smith. In fact we all our her students. In our class, we use table instead of desks. I think tables give more room for students to work.

saram said...

Dr. Mabry,

I agree with Kjerstin completely. Having tables in the classroom are much better than desks. In this class we do several group projects. It is a huge hassle to have to push desks together and have minimal room to work. With the tables, there is plenty of room for a couple of laptops to fit comfortably and work. Although its a small difference, really changes how you can learn with the laptops.

ADRIANA G said...

Dr. Mabry,
While I do agree with your idea of flexible furniture, I personally prefer tables. While individual desks are more versatile and allow for more arangements, tables have been helpful in our classroom. One of the main reasons I like tables is the fact that they allow for more space. Two-person tables give us room to fit in laptops as well as papers or anything else we need. It seems like with individual desks, there would be just enough room for a laptpop and not much else. It seems like most classes with individual desks are arranged so that students are in rows of separated desks. Tables are helpful, not only because we can not only share space, but work together more easily. longer tables create a better environment to collaborate and discuss, and it always helps to be able to spread work out over a larger shared space.

Lane C. said...

I would say that I like tables better than desks. Especially when I'm using a laptop I love to have a little extra space to deal with. I tend to get spread out when I am really working hard and when I only have a small desk I get slightly frazzled and claustrophobic. I also really enjoy being able to be close to one of my classmates. It is nice to be able to share things more easily and discuss things we don't understand. Basically, for me at least, tables add to the learning environment.

BenH said...

Personally, I would recommend tables. They give a larger surface area, and therefore more flexibility when working with laptops as well as paper materials. It is also somewhat safer, as it is all to easy to knock a laptop off a desk. In general, tables are good because they give a more flexible workspace, as well as a feeling of community that helps foster learning and participation.

karib said...

The biggest thing that makes tables better than desks is the ability to more easily collaborate with your peers. Desks are very constrictive and limit us to sitting in just one place, while tables allow us to work more closely with our neighbors. It also makes the classroom feel much more relaxed.

Zachf said...

I agree with Kjerstin that tables are muc better than desks. It makes moving around the classroom and setting things up to do different kinds of activities much more convenient. Instead of watsing class time getting all set up, we have much more time to do things. Tables also provide more space for our working environment.

karib said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tomr said...

I am of the opinion that tables are more conducive to a group-oriented learning environment, as tables are shared and provide great ease to cooperate with others, much more so than horrendously cramped "single" desks. However, the tables in our classroom do have an uncomfortable bar underneath, which for the long-legged gentleman such as myself is quite a bother. On the other hand, I'm also pretty much a complete paper hoarder, so it's certainly nice to be able to spread all of my junk out instead of rummaging through my bookbag all the time.

lauraf said...

I personally like tables much better than desks. It gives more of an opportunity to spread out throughout the room and to be able to group together in small groups to collaborate in activities or projects. Tables also provide an easy way to set up fish bowls and other discussion forms in class. I also prefer tables with rolly chairs because the desks with chairs attached are really uncomfortable and also cannot change around the room very easily.

danh said...

Dr. Mabry,

In my opinion, tables are much better thatn desks for many reasons. One of the best aspects of tables, as stated before, is that there is more space for the laptops to sit on and still have room to spread out. I enjoy having multiple people at one table because I think that it helps to have someone or a few someones who you can bounce ideas off of and basically have someone who is forced to help you, for lack of a better description. I can't really explain it too well, but sitting at tables as opposed to desks sort of forms this feeling of "togetherness", if you will, or a sense that you are part of a team. Plus, working on group assigments is easier when you don't have to move a bunch of desks together to form a group. So basically, I am an anti-desk person, and in my opinion you should use tables for your new classroom.

danh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kenna_d said...

Dr. Mabry,
Table would be a much better choice as opposed to desks. The big thing on laptops is that they move freely, without strings, or cords attatched. The person using the laptops should also have this freedom. Tables also allow for more space, which makes it much easier to work with objects at the same time as using the laptops. So, tables would be very appropriate to use.

erinl said...

Dr. Mabry,

I personally think that tables are better than desks for the sake of having one other person that is close to you. I don't like to sit alone and I find it more friendly if there is someone else to talk with and discuss with. Tables also have more room. Individual desks can be really small, and there isn't enough room to put all your papers and laptop. I wouldn't really know how our class would be different if we used desks but I don't think that I would like it very much.

lindseyc said...

Dr Mabry,
I think thats tables are way better than desks. With desks you hardly have any room to put your things, but with tables, you have a place for your laptop, your agenda, or really anything you want. They provide so much more workspace than a desk. Even if you have to share your table its better becasue half a table is still more room than a desk.

Madisonm said...

Dr. Mabry,
I think that the educational building that is being developed with the wireless use for laptops sounds great! I think that the selections you have chosen for desks and chairs are great, also, but just as most other posts have stated, tables seem to be more efficient when using laptops for learning and educational purposes. I think tables enable students to have more working room than they would with individual desks, and tables work extremely well for group projects, too.

thanks

Shelby B. said...

Dr. Mabry,

I believe that tables and roller chairs are better for the use of laptops. Using tables allows us as students to interact easier with each other, because at a table there are two people there. Also, the room feels more open when using tables, because you can move freely in your area instead of being enclosed into one desk.

Maddy said...

I prefer tables over desks because it provides more space and just feels less confining. Space is definitely an important issue because on a desk, the laptops need to have enough room so that they will not fall off. Also, tables are much easier when we are working on group projects because a table is easier to gather around and has a larger and smoother surface to write on. This especially becomes important when we are making posters. I know that this next point is totally a psychological thing, but a table where other people are next to you seems less confining and restricting than a desk. I hope that this helps you Dr. Mabry.

EmilyL said...

Dr. Mabry,

I personally think that it really does not matter. I think the teacher should focus on teaching the students. Furniture is a secondary issue. A good teacher can make either arrangement work.

Maybe you could ask your prospective students what they think. After all, they are the ones who will be the most affected.

maria k said...

I agree with Karib and what she said about how tables make it easier to work with our peers. I think that working together in a professional environment is an important skill, especially when we move on into the work world.

sarahc said...

I agree with everyone else who has said that they prefer tables to desks when working with laptops because they have more room, they allow for more movement, everything that everyone else has already said.
The only problem with tables is that if you are with someone who you can absolutely NOT get along with, there may be some problems. People against having tables will probably bring up this argument. For this argument, simply say that students can move. Students can also be placed by themselves at a table or desk if they cannot work with anyone else in the class. Having tables in a classroom will take both students and teachers who can make sacrifices for the good of the class. I am sure that this will not be too much of a problem. Other than this problem, I love having tables rather than desks with the laptops. Along with this, wheeled chairs really help with movement in the classroom.

EmilyA said...

Tables are a much better idea if you want this to be a joint, group activity. I believe tables make everyone participate and feel as though they are in a group, not an individual. Align the tables so no one is left out and then evryone will particpate.

hannahs said...

I enjoy sitting in tables much more than desks. Tables promote a more communal learning environment, rather than a personal environement. I always feel very separate from my fellow students when I sit in desks. I feel like a community of learners when we sit in tables.

Modern-Contemporary-Furniture-Blogs said...

Do you have any idea of buying furniture for your home? Then Furniturehomedelivery.com is the right place to purchase the furniture. In this site you can find some splendid Sofas like Antique sofa, Bed, Living room furniture, etc. The biggest advantage in this site is that you need not move your feet, with just a couple of clicks you can find number of pictures which looks like a virtual show room where you can find high quality solutions for Living room furniture, Bedroom furniture , Dining room furniture, etc. Furniturehomedelivery.com was built on the foundations of quality furniture, great low prices, excellent service and consistency. so if you want to purchase any furniture, do not hesitate to visit this site.

amina said...

For all your furniture solutions, starting from mobili per ufficio(office furniture), pareti mobili e divisorie(movable walls and partitions) and various other furniture equipments, Momi is the ideal destination and moreover as soon as you come in touch with http://www.momi.it and submit your furniture requirement, dedicated employees of the company would look into your requirements and try to deliver furniture solutions to you at the earliest.

Andry said...

Spacify offers wide range of computer desks in modern and classic designs for your office or in home.