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David Swann

Can't Wait To Learn - Digital Tablet Desk


Output: Design

Article 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child has the right to a formal education. In 2011, War Child Holland instigated the Can’t Wait to Learn programme (CWTL) to develop culturally-sensitive educational games for children who have never seen a teacher as a result of armed conflict.

A CWTL pilot in Sudan (2015) identified an unmet user need. The absence of traditional classroom furniture in rural villages compelled learners to hold a tablet device for prolonged periods while floor sitting. The primary objective of the research was to co-design a low-cost digital tablet desk (DTD) for floor-sitting e-learners that improved their visual gaze angle and sagittal head tilt to reduce stress on their cervical spine.

Research findings informed the iterative development of dual and single desk propositions that were evaluated with CWTL learners and facilitators in Sudan and Chad.

An ergonomic study (n=57) investigated users’ gaze and head tilt angles in four operational scenarios: a neutral gaze, handholding a tablet and using an elevated tablet at two heights. Data analysis determined that all participants failed to comply the maximum downward gaze threshold of -35° when hand-holding a tablet device as specified by the ISO Ergonomic Standard 9241-5. Analysis discovered that an elevated tablet (300mm) reduced head tilt by x̄ 11.7° and cervical spine loading by x̄ 4.7kg- a 30% reduction.

The output is a designed product; an ergonomically sound DTD that is sympathetic to the challenges posed by local manufacture by a lowskilled workforce. The research supports War Child’s future CWTL scale up plans in Chad and Burkina Faso.

The research was disseminated at the AHRC Next Generation Design Research Workshops (2018), AHRC Design Research for Change showcase, London (2020) and as a D&AD Future Impact award winner (2020).

Research Output

Can't Wait To Learn - Digital Tablet Desk

This project contains further videos that can accessed via the full case study below.

This collection of images displays the outputs from this project. Find out more details in the full case study below.

Research Method

This study utilised a mixed-method approach comprising of applied research and experimental development: primary and secondary data collection, frugal innovation, experimental development, an ergonomic study, in-country usability tests and design/material optimisation to support local manufacture and distribution.

Key Methodologies:

Full Project Output

REF '21

To learn more about the output, methods and dissemination of this work, explore the full project submission.

Other Projects By

David Swann

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