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A new piece of furniture may be showing up in local schools. One that will help students learn better while being better for their health... It's a standing desk.
Mark Benden, the CEO of the company that makes the desk, is also the inventor and designer for them. They received a 2 year, one million dollar small business innovation research grant.
$600,000 will go to Stand-2-Learn, the company making the desks. The rest will go to Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health to conduct more research.
Mark Benden, also an Associate Professor at A&M has already done some research on how standing helps elementary school students ages 6-9 stay on task better.
"What the teachers report is better classroom management," said Benden. "They can keep all of the children focused on their work better. The kids do burn more calories because it takes more energy to keep oneself in an up-right position."
About 40% of the School of Rural Public Health uses the standing desk. Camille Peres, an Associate Professor with a standing desk said, "One of the things actually that I like about it is when I'm thinking, as opposed to kind of tasking, I can do my palling around and what I like to do when I'm thinking."
Benden says schools have made lots of cuts to physical activities in the last 20 years, and these desk could help combat childhood obesity.
"I think seeing us move in this direction, we can have our cake and eat it to. We could have the kids up, we can have them active, but we can have them focused on their school work so they can get more accomplished during the day with respect to academics, but they can also burn off a few extra calories," said Benden.
It's the 2 year 1 million dollar grant that's helping stand to learn develop the next generation of standing desk for high school students. They are conducting research on students ages 13-18, and developing a new model of the desk.
"To take this sort of effort to the post pubescent kids, we really need to do that to make sure scientifically we know that the validations we've seen with the other children will also apply with the older children," said Benden
Benden says elementary school students in the same class are relatively the same size, but that isn't necessarily the case for older students. "The need for furniture that can adjust and adapt to a large range of the human proportion is very critical at the high school level."
The desks are currently in about 75 schools, and with this grant and additional research the company hopes to soon have them in more.