Empowering Education: A Journey in Design

Empowering Education: A Journey in Design

Background: In 2014, I embarked on a transformative journey during my B-Tech Degree in Industrial Design at CPUT. Recognizing the pressing need for educational improvements in low-income areas across South Africa, I chose to focus my final thesis on alternative education methods, aiming to address the challenges faced by children in their foundational learning years.

Research and Design Process: My research delved into the current state of education in South Africa, involving interviews with educators, parents, and educational advisors in low-income communities around Cape Town. Guided by the principles of Universal Design, my design process aimed to create a product that would enhance the dexterity and learning experience of all children during their foundation phase.

The Product: The culmination of my thesis was a product featuring different attachable work surfaces with varying textures to cater to different learning activities, such as painting and writing. The main work surface was supported by three blocks, providing four different angles for optimal comfort and accessibility. (Please refer to the images for a clearer understanding.)

Future Development: While the initial prototype marks a significant milestone, the journey toward empowering education is ongoing. Ideas for future development include incorporating a detachable cushion underneath the board, allowing children to use it on their laps or as a seating cushion when placed on the floor or a low table. Additionally, I aspire to utilize recycled or recyclable materials in the product's construction, fostering environmental awareness and sustainability.

Conclusion: As a work in progress, this project symbolizes a commitment to continuous improvement and innovation in the realm of educational design. With each iteration, I aim to refine and expand upon the initial concept, leveraging resources and insights gained along the way. By prioritizing inclusivity, functionality, and environmental consciousness, I strive to contribute to a brighter future for children across South Africa and beyond.

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