Remember the days when school desks were only useful for jotting down graffiti? Well those days might be coming to an end. Reuters reports that British scientists are testing out new “smart desks” that are essentially desk-sized tablets with multitouch screens capable of supporting multiple users at the same time. The researchers have apparently found that these new desks are particularly beneficial for teaching mathematics as they “have benefits over doing maths on paper” and “pupils are able to improve their fluency and flexibility in maths by working together.”

“Our aim was to encourage far higher levels of active student engagement, where knowledge is obtained by sharing, problem-solving and creating, rather than by passive listening,” said Liz Burd of Britain’s Durham University. “We found our tables encouraged students to collaborate more effectively… Such collaboration just did not happen when students used paper-based approaches.”