Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Spectrum Donates to Chippewa Falls Fire Station

The new Chippewa Falls Fire Station No. 1 was greeted by Spectrum Industries with a donation of over $15,000 in furniture. Spectrum donated 16 Flex Flip Tables and an IMC Station for the Fire Station’s training room in March 2017.   

Located at 1301 Chippewa Crossing Boulevard, the new 20,000 foot building includes living space for fire fighters, an exercise room, kitchen, day room and lockers for storage. The new $5 million building also features six vehicle bays.         

Spectrum Industries, a niche furniture manufacturer also located in Chippewa Falls, custom designed furniture for the new Fire Station. The Flex Flip Tables donated featured height-adjustable legs, power modules and locking casters for the table’s mobility. Spectrum designed the IMC Station with a custom laminate and silver base.     

“The community of Chippewa Falls is extremely important to us and we wanted to help in any we could,” said Dave See, President of Spectrum Industries.       

Check out Spectrum's Flex Flip Table in motion:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

How Furniture can make-or-break Makerspace

Across the U.S., teachers are integrating hands-on learning into their classrooms enabling students to work collaboratively while building skills through tinkering, creativity and innovation. This type of learning has many names including STEM/STEAM education and Makerspace.

Any space or area available that can be used for students to program robots, build Legos, or even a treehouse is called a Makerspace. Summarized, it is any area that can allow students to collaboratively learn, build and construct while introducing and applying skills. Makerspaces not only allows students to learn from the teacher, but learn from each other as well. Some of the materials that are used for creativity and innovation include 3D printers, straws, popsicle sticks, Legos, drones, robotics kits and much more.  

“Letting students discover their own projects is what makes makerspaces so popular; it’s the application of algebra, writing and other core curriculum subjects that convince educators that makerspaces can be valuable learning environments,” said Matt Zalaznick from Makerspaces: Meeting of the Mindsets.

There is no hiding that Makerspaces allows students the freedom to learn in a non-traditional way. Although this is true, in order to produce an effective Makerspace the right type of furniture and room layout are needed. Rather than sitting in a traditional school desk, students now have the chance be mobile around the classroom and collaborate with other students.  

“Just as education has adapted to the ‘maker’ mindset, classrooms need to adapt to allow makerspaces to flourish,” said Ben Jones, Spectrum’s Vice President of Sales. 

Flexible furniture that allows for storage of parts, toys or electronics helps create an organized layout and also gives students the chance to practice responsibility when putting away makerspace materials at the end of the day. This also gives teachers the opportunity to lock and store away materials during any given time.

“For students to use a makerspace to its maximum potential, it must allow them to move around freely and find inspiration,” said Kylie Lacey from Makerpaces: Meeting of the Mindsets- Brave New Building Blocks. “Whether constructing a makerspace from scratch or renovating an existing room, administrators must bring in furniture and design elements that facilitate enthusiastic creation.”

The correct type of furniture in a makerspace also allows for teachers to be mobile in the classroom and easily see how students are learning skills, applying creativity and collaborating together. How a makerspace functions corresponds with how students will utilize their creative space. Whether they are working by themselves or within a group, the purpose of the makerspace is to not only have students collaborate, be creative and develop fundamental skills, but to become inspired by the process of “making” in their makerspace environment.

“Students are watching each other building items, asking for advice on how to do something or they are using others as a template and trying to build like it,” said Joell Anders, First Grade teacher at Fall Creek School in Fall Creek, Wisconsin. “It has been a great way for students to have conversations about their process or modify things after seeing someone else’s idea.”  

Room layout and furniture in a makerspace can make-or-break its effectiveness and collaboration component. Mobility, flexibility, separate areas for noise levels, storage space and even a display area for finished makerspace products are aspects that to a winning room layout that will offer students the most effective makerspace experience possible and inspire students.      

“It has given my students another opportunity to create and explore,” Anders said. “This makes learning engaging and exciting! Which makes learning more fun and makes teaching more fun as well!”    

Monday, March 19, 2018

Customers Talk, Spectrum Listens

Ben Jones, Vice President of Sales
As the premier educational furniture manufacturer, Spectrum Industries values customer feedback, comments and concerns. Getting feedback from customers influenced Spectrum to make changes to a number of products.

“Spectrum has always relied on the response of its customers to help inspire and shape its product lines,” said Ben Jones, Spectrum Vice President of Sales. “Without feedback we wouldn’t be where we are today.  Receiving feedback is important, but taking action from it is even more important.”           

Spectrum gathered feedback from tradeshows, outside and inside sales, and spoke with customers to hear what they had to say. From this feedback, Spectrum’s designers have updated multiple products including the Freedom XRS Elite Lectern, Inspiration Plus Lectern, Honors Lectern, FreedomOne eLift Lectern and their Elite Lectern in the Media Manager Series. The Freedom XRS Lectern now includes the option for a plain worksurface, a removable back panel and casters for easy mobility. Just like the Freedom XRS, the Inspiration Lectern also has the option for a plain worksurface and has a wider keyboard tray as well. Improved rigidity and mid-worksurface cutouts for devices were just a few of the updates made for the Honors Lectern. The updated Elite Lectern features a larger keyboard tray, wood side panels, a new plain and removable worksurface, and the option to have two flip-up shelves for additional work space.      

The Media Manager Series was introduced at Infocom in 2016 and showcased four lecterns that differ in size and features. The new and improved series now offers grommets for easy wire integration, updated chimney ventilation, access from front and rear and lockable doors for storage.          

To complete customer satisfaction and expectations, Spectrum creates and designs quality, durable products built to last. Spectrum is committed to continually improve in all that they do.         

“Often, customer comments inspire changes or new product design,” said Jon Riggs, Spectrum Designer. “Since they are the ones who are using the product the most, we take those suggestions seriously.”