This shows the SynergyNet classroom. Credit: Durham University

Star Trek Classroom:
The next generation of school desks

November 22, 2012

Researchers designing and testing the ‘classroom of the future’ have found that multi-touch, multi-user desks can boost skills in mathematics.

New results from a 3-year project working with over 400 pupils, mostly 8-10 year olds, show that collaborative learning increases both fluency and flexibility in maths. It also shows that using an interactive ‘smart’ desk can have benefits over doing mathematics on paper.

Using multi-touch desks in the new classroom, the children were able to work together in new ways to solve and answer questions and problems using inventive solutions. Seeing what your friends are doing, and being able to fully participate in group activities, offers new ways of working in class, the researchers say. The ‘Star Trek classroom’ could also help learning and teaching in other subjects.

The findings published in the journal Learning and Instruction, show that children who use a collaborative maths activity in the SynergyNet classroom improve in both mathematical flexibility and fluency, while children working on traditional paper-based activities only improve in flexibility.

Read more: Star Trek Classroom: The next generation of school desks — phys.org.

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