Magnet : an affordable and adaptable table for active-learning classrooms
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The goal for designing a classroom is to enhance the teaching and learning experience, even in the smallest classroom. The design of such a space should avoid any prescriptive and restrictive behaviors, for both teachers and students. Because current pedagogical trends favor flexible and dynamic teaching and learning styles, it should also increase students’ levels of engagement and foster active learning and teaching. However, the furniture in existing university classrooms rarely supports today’s active teaching and learning styles. Most classrooms are filled with fixed, prescriptive furniture that prevents students and teachers from choosing or changing their learning and teaching modes. Although there are new furnishings designed specifically for active-learning classrooms, they are often too expensive, as well as too large and heavy, for small classrooms. Magnet is a flexible, modular, one-person table with a flexible working surface and gate-leg fold-flat construction that allows it to be easily moved, stored, and reconfigured to accommodate lectures, small-group work and large-group discussions even in small classrooms. Its unusually shaped “wings” or drop-leaves can be adjusted to accommodate many uses and group arrangements, so a single model of table can serve many different instructional needs. Magnet can be made of solid wood, plywood, and/or MDF using durable, inexpensive, traditional joinery—plus a few magnets—which makes it uniquely flexible and affordable.