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Last Updated: Tuesday September 30 2008 19:33 GMT

Ore tests out futuristic desks

Ore with his desk testers, L-R: Kieran, Katie, Nathan and Sophia

Forget your tatty old school desks with their wonky, graffiti-covered surfaces... scientists have come up with a new hi-tech alternative.

They've been designed to help you get more involved in your lessons, but will they work?

Ore got the help of a special team of testers to check them out at Durham University...


"I'm sure when you think about your desks at school, you think of a flat surface, chairs tucked in behind and all of them facing the teacher at the front. Well, where I've been, the future looks a lot brighter and just a whole lot different for your average classroom desks.

The new desktop
The new desks have a giant touch screen
Don't get me wrong, you may have some very colourful desks in your school, but scientists are designing and developing a new-look table top to make learning much more interactive and fun.

Technology is already a really important part of everyday life and it's the same in the classrooms so interactive whiteboards and advanced PCs are now more common in schools across the UK.

But the scientists hope these new desks will change not only how students work together in class, but also with their teachers too.

Testing team

They're only at the start of the process and it's hoped that the desks will be tested in schools around the country in the next two to four years - but that didn't stop Newsround from having a little go.

Ore finds out what his team of testers think about the new desks
Ore finds out what his testers think of the desks
I went down to check them out and I was joined by my team of testers - Sophia, Kieran, Katie and Nathan.

They certainly weren't like your regular desks. First thing we noticed was the 'touch screen', so there was no need for pens and paper, but no matter how many fingers touched the screens the desk would react.

It had puzzles and problems in different subject areas, like Maths and English, and the kids worked together to figure them out.

Global classroom

Of course there's a lot of work to be done before the desks are finished and ready, but the scientists hope to go far with them.

Two pupils trying out the new desktop
Several people can work on the desks at the same time
With classrooms having many of these 'workstations' all linked up to the teacher's head desk, the whole class would be able to see who is pressing what or which group has solved a problem.

After that, we may even see classroom's working together around the world.

Ever wanted to learn how to speak Japanese from your own classroom at school? Well it could happen sooner than you think!"

Ore