Do Students Think Better On Their Feet?
We are constantly on the lookout on how to improve education for our youth.
You may hear the occasional news about how our students are falling behind other first world countries in math and science. Or about the implementation of Common Core policies.
Education is important subject for Americans. We want to be leaders and we’ve always prided ourselves on being innovative and progressive.
We’re finding out, though, that better educating our youth takes more than changes in policy and teaching curriculum. It’s also about how they learn and the environment in which they learn.
Standing Room Only
A big trend that is sweeping through school systems is having kids sit less in classrooms. Researchers have been studying the effects of classroom exercise, along with having standing desks.
But the big question people want to know is:
Do students think better on their feet?
The evidence seems to be pointing to yes.
One of the most recent studies comes from Texas A&M University. Researcher Ranjana Mehta studied the use of standing desks for high school freshman from a neurocognitive perspective.
So were there any benefits from the use of the standing desks? Here’s what Ranjana had to say about their findings:
Interestingly, our research showed the use of standing desks improved neurocognitive function, which is consistent with results from previous studies on school-based exercise programs.
A Different Type of Study
The study is a bit different from previous research on the topic. Some researchers have found that students behave better in classrooms with these desks, the data has been called into question.
They say it may be biased and anecdotal because it relied on reports from the teachers which may be biased.
Ranjana’s study, however, eliminated such bias and interpretation by relying on more concrete factors. They measured cognitive responses using four computerized tests which were performed at the beginning and end of the students’ freshman year.
Researchers specifically looked at students’ executive functions. These functions are important for skills which are used to hold information in memory, planning, organizing, and managing our behavior.
Such skills are also extremely important in learning. Everything from reading comprehension, developing understanding, solving problems, and communicating information.
So at the end of the year, what did Ranjana and colleagues discover?
Ranjana said this:
Test results indicated that continued use of standing desks was associated with significant improvements in executive function and working memory capabilities.
Changes in corresponding brain activation patterns were also observed.
This study provides some objective evidence that standing desks can give our students an extra boost.
Other research from 2015 showed that students had 12% more engagement on their tasks when using the standing desks.
These results, along with research on exercise interventions during class, are beginning to paint a positive picture. Standing desks, and moving around in general, can not only provide healthier outcomes, but increased educational outcomes as well.
This doesn’t mean that kids are the only ones that can benefit from these findings. Even adults can increase learning, attention, and focus by being more mobile.
So if you feel like you’ve been a little sluggish recently, get a boost in your brainpower by becoming more active!
Asian Development Bank