Classroom Design - collaborative learning - NextGen Spaces - Classroom Furniture

3 Reasons to Choose Shaped Desks Over Rectangles for Classrooms

Written by Patricia Cadigan, M.Ed., ALEP

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Over the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of creative, shaped student desks being introduced. Why are we seeing them and why should we look harder at the purpose they serve in modern classrooms?  

To clarify: when we talk about shaped desks, we’re referring to modern, organic shapes that are designed to be configured in a variety of ways. While you might think these sometimes-funky shapes are just there for fun, in reality, they offer important advantages over traditional rectangular desks.  

The suitability of a particular shape varies based on the specific teaching style, square footage of a room, class size, and activities conducted in the classroom.   

Here are three ways shape desks can be used as tools to foster collaboration and community:   


1. Enhance collaboration 

Shape desks can encourage collaboration and interaction among students. Configuring pods in odd and even numbers allows teachers to create groupings that meet the needs of the instructional activity from day to day or hour by hour.

Example: Intrepid can be configured in pods of 3, 4, 5 and 6. 



2. Promote student interaction and build community in the classroom 

Configurable shape desks provide an open and inclusive environment that facilitates group work, discussions, and teamwork. Students can face each other, even in groups, making it easier to communicate and share ideas. By creating interactive and dynamic learning environments, students are more likely to feel involved and motivated to contribute to class discussions and activities. The arrangement fosters a sense of community and promotes active learning.

Example: Kite desks can be combined to create a large work area for group activities. 



3. Improve teacher-student interaction 

Shape desks create flexible pathways, enabling teachers to move around the classroom more freely and providing them with better access to students. This proximity allows for more personalized instruction, individual attention, and monitoring of student progress. Teachers can easily navigate between groups or individuals, fostering a more interactive teaching approach.

Example: Trek desks offer a smaller footprint but still allow grouping for collaborative activities. 



Modernizing Classroom Layouts for Today’s learners 

Shape desks can enhance the overall aesthetics and atmosphere of a classroom. They create a visually appealing and welcoming environment that can positively impact students' mood and focus. The arrangement of shape desks can also promote a sense of equality among students, as there is no head or front of the class, and everyone is part of the collaborative learning experience.

Watch this video: NXT MOV Classroom.



It is worth noting that while shape desks offer numerous benefits, their suitability will vary based on the needs of the learning environment.  Educators should consider these factors when selecting the most appropriate arrangements for their learning space.

Jun 27, 2023

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