How to Boost Student Performance With Active Learning Environments

January 25, 2017

The amount of time students spend in sedentary positions on any given day has dramatically increased over the last 25 years. Most students spend the majority of their daytime classroom hours in a seated position, which has resulted in a wide variety of serious health risks. With overwhelming evidence supporting the need for movement within the classroom, we can no longer ignore these risks.

In this session, SAFCO® ergonomist Josh Kerst will share the historical impact of the chair in the classroom on our bodies. You’ll find out what steps your school can take to address this concern and learn how you can create an active learning environment to positively impact student performance and well-being in your library, classroom or learning commons.

You’ll gain:

  1. Access to a comprehensive review of the current body of scientific knowledge on sitting vs. standing vs. leaning/perching, plus considerations and application guidelines to use in the classroom.
  2. Objective data on the multitude of health benefits associated with regular periods of active movement, such as standing, leaning or perching.
  3. An understanding of how Activity-Permissive Learning Environments (APLE) keep students more engaged, improve test scores and result in greater creativity and positive behavior.
  4. A rational and financially responsible approach to implementing Activity-Permissive Learning Environments within schools.


Presentation Slides

Q&A Log


Josh Kerst

Josh Kerst

Principal Ergonomist at SAFCO Products

Josh is an experienced, passionate and thoughtful leader in the field of ergonomics, with an emphasis on activity-permissive designs that positively transform the way people learn and work. His design experience spans a variety of environments, including educational, manufacturing, laboratory, office and entertainment settings, as well as warehouse operations. Notable projects include his work with Swiffer WetJet, McDonald’s and Broadway musicals.

Josh holds a BSE from the University of Michigan in Industrial Engineering, and he is a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE), Certified Industrial Ergonomist (CIE) and a member of the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association committees for office seating, lounge and public seating, and educational seating. He is also a noted speaker who has participated in the fast-paced Ignite Talks, ErgoX, Applied Ergonomics Conference and UCLA Ergo Symposiums, and more recently at the 2016 EdSpaces and 2016 Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence conferences.


Liz Bowie

Liz Bowie

Marketing Content Manager at Demco, Inc.
Liz is the Marketing Content Manager for Demco. Her background includes editorial management and product development of innovative and time-saving tools for schools and libraries, with an emphasis on Common Core, literacy and math. The products she and her team have developed, including classroom games, learning centers and professional development resources, have garnered 46 industry awards for excellence in education. Liz is passionate about promoting literacy through her work and the work of others. If you are interested in sharing your ideas and programming tips on Demco’s Ideas and Inspiration blog or have ideas for topics you’d like to see covered, contact Liz at