"When people realized what I intended to do the first thing people said was, 'I think it's great, but I think you're crazy. You're not going to have any chairs at all?'" said Burnett, 31.
After Burnett purchased the balls, her 6- and 7-year-old students stopped slouching and were better at focusing on their lessons.
The balls are designed to improve a user's stability, coordination and posture so perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that they are able to help kids stay engaged during class.
"We spend from first grade, to college and university looking at the back of someone's head," said John Kilbourne, a professor of movement science at Grand Valley State University. "A ball allows for much better range of motion with your neighbors."
According to Kilbourne, the balls appeal to "our need for play and playful active learning," and some research indicates that the balls can have a "dramatic effect" on students who have difficulty paying attention.
"The whole notion of sitting in rows and in classrooms -- that's really part of the Industrial Age in education and that hasn't changed in 100 years," Kilbourne said. "I think what you're seeing now is a tsunami of change."
The balls have certainly worked for Burnett.
"They're a lot more focused, and it takes away the negative aspect of movement. A big push right now is, 'Sit down. Be quiet. Let's focus on your work.' And this helps get their wiggles out. I do swear by them. They are so beneficial to these kids. Yes, have kids sat in chairs for 100 years? Yes, they have. But it's just like when you know better, you do better."
"They're a lot more engaged," Burnett said.
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