In the early 1990s, after being a shop teacher for seventeen years, I became an elementary classroom teacher.
I decided to design and construct my own tables, benches, cabinets and modify my classroom chairs. I wanted to introduce tools and technology to my classroom students.
I spent approximately three weeks in the summer setting up my first elementary classroom. When I finished arranging the room, I realized I did not have much space for a teacher's desk.
My solution was to measure and cut a triangular piece of plywood. I secured the plywood to the wall with a couple of wood anchors.This piece of wood became my first desk. When I was a technology teacher, I did not need a large desk.
As the year progressed, I added a TV, computer, VCR and sound system. The VCR was connected to the TV, but the computer at this time was being used by me for personal classroom use.
One day, one of my student's parent, who was a computer expert and gamer, was helping me in the classroom. I asked him if there was anyway of connecting my classroom computer to the TV.
At this time, TVs and computers did not have HDMI inputs and outputs, but he had a solution. He took the desktop home with him. The next day he returned with the computer. He had installed a video card in my desktop with RCA sound and video outputs.
This allowed me to make a direct connection between my desktop computer and the TV. My students could now simultaneously see what was on my computer screen and the TV.
This changed everything. I began writing all my notes that in the past, were on my classroom's blackboard. Typing notes on my keyboard, saving the notes and projecting them from my classroom's TV set was a much easier task. An added bonus was that I now would be able to use this year's lesson plan in the future. This would also allow me to easily make modifications.
Please note in the above photo that when I was working on my computer, my back was turned to my students. I wanted eye to eye contact with my students when using my computer or showing a video. I realized that I had to design and construct a new desk.
I designed my desk so I could work on my computer, have eye contact with my students and my students would be able to see what I was working on by viewing the TV which was acting as a second monitor. I created a smart TV.
The desk was about 90cm high. A normal desk is about 75cm high but I like sitting on a drafting chair. It gives me the choice of standing or sitting while working at the desk. This is a big plus in mobility.
For stability, the desk was attached to the window sill with three wood screws. The desktop was at about a thirty degree angle to the window. The screws could be removed easily if I had to move the desk out of the way for cleaning.
I lined the front of the desk with high quality bulletin board material. This allowed me to post reminders to my students about upcoming assignments and interesting facts about the subject being discussed at that time.
The desk supported two desktop computers, a computer keyboard, a mouse and a thumb drive input. The desktops were attached permanently to the desk with small bolts for security. Very important!
Because of security reasons, I do not recommend teachers use their laptops in a classroom.
As a teacher, I moved around the classroom a great deal of the time, but I did enjoy making presentations to my students from this desk. It was a big improvement. Looking back,the only thing I would change would be to add a shelf for a printer. Printers back then were not as sophisticated as they are now.
My New Work Area
The key is to be able to demonstrate a lesson at your desk and your demonstration be seen by your students on a monitor.
This is my old TV. You will need a much larger
(monitor) TV, minimum
A minimum of four speakers, one for each corner of the room and hard wired is required for good classroom sound.
You will need a wide angle web-cam with a long range microphone for the top of your TV. Make sure your TV is angled away from the windows.