Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Evolution of the Desk (Teacher Desk & Otherwise!)

My folks have a roll-top desk. I've told my brother that I get the desk in the inheritance (which hopefully will be many many years from now). I've always loved the fact that there are so many little cubbies, nooks, and crannies in old-fashioned desks. Spots for staples, paper clips, envelopes, everything. It appeals to my philosophy of "if my physical space is organized then my inner space is organized." It also appeals to my reality (especially as a mom of 2 kids and a husband who isn't always attentive to details): worst case scenario, if things aren't as tidy as they should be, then you can just pull that roll-top down! Perfect solution!

Being a teacher, desks are a big deal to me. As a classroom teacher, I rarely sat at my desk while the students were in class. Instead, I was always on the move, bopping in between student desks, helping whoever needed it. End of the day planning & grading--that's when I'd land at my desk. (Though, truth be told, most of my paper grading happened at home on the couch.)

Now that I'm no longer a full-on classroom teacher (instead I'm the Tech Specialist who goes and visits the kids in their own classes), my desk may be even more important than it ever was. Whenever I'm actually in my office (which is rare), I'm at my desk concocting ideas and activities to enhance the lessons of all my teachers and a school-full of students.

This video captures both my love of the desk, and the nature & evolution of our technologically-advanced world. It showcases the way that technology has filled our world. It's the perfect parallel for the stories I tell my 5th grade students when we talk about digital decision making:
When I think of living at home as a kid, young & growing up, certain images come to my mind. My dad in his recliner, reading the newspaper. My mom watching TV while doing some card making, needlework, or another craft...or maybe thumbing through a recipe book. I'd be stretched out on the floor, doing a word find, or reading a book, or writing an epic novella note to my high school buddy, or talking on the phone (with the cord stretched from the kitchen to the dining room to talk for hours to my friends), or snapping photos with my camera, or writing in my diary (or planning the great American novel). My brother might be playing a game like chess with my dad or one of his buddies.
In today's world, the news can be accessed on a device. Shows can be watched on a device. Photos and other crafts (some of them) can be done on a device, and it's where you can find your recipes. Devices now are where you can read a book, write emails, keep in touch, talk on the phone, take pictures, play games...and more. Is it a surprise we spend so much time on our devices? It's become our one-stop shopping place to do all the things we used to do on so many different platforms--now they're all digital.
Given that, it often makes me shift my perspective when I feel like my own two digital native kids are overly-plugged in.

The video below was created in coordination with the Harvard Innovation Lab and shows how life has shifted from old school desk to our digital world where we do it all on our devices. It'll definitely make you think about your own desk and how it has evolved... and it might even make you a little reminiscent of days gone by!

Video from (video by photography by; engineering by anton georgiev a Harvard Innovation Lab team); roll-top desk image from; clip art from

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