I am a student in my 4th and final year of study towards a degree in Product Design. I am almost two months into my thesis project and have to make some important decisions very soon.
I am hoping that some of the members of this site can provide me with some opinions, information, guidance or suggestions for my project. It would help a lot.
This is an excerpt from my thesis proposal which details the need and purpose of this project:
The reassessment, redesign and modernization of the classroom â€˜desk and chairâ€™.
The classroom attempts to provide a safe environment where learning can take place uninterrupted by other distractions. This environment requires furniture forms used for reading, writing, computer usage or other class activities. As with any furniture and seating which is used for prolonged lengths of time, a classroom desk and chair should maximise user comfort and efficiency, as well as creativity and productive learning.
Research has shown that on a day-to-day basis, children and teenagers spend just as much (if not more) time seated at school desks than their parents do at their office desks. Unlike office furniture, school furniture is usually hard, uncomfortable and does not cater for childrenâ€™s ergonomic needs at a time in their life when there are large differences in their anthropometric measurements - especially during puberty.
In classrooms across the world, students spend untold hours sitting at these desks and tables working on their lessons and listening to their teachers. This lack of movement might not have been a concern in the past when children’s time away from school was typically spent outdoors playing and exercising but in the last ten years we have seen the huge rise in popularity of computer gaming consoles, with children preferring these games to active ones.
Children are now being raised in environments where a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet are prevalent. The implications of these sedentary activities are clear - childhood obesity has now become a major cause of concern. Children are now adopting these habits and carrying them into adulthood, which will undoubtedly place a burden on the health care system in the future.
Technology today is radically challenging the existing classroom environment, as well as encouraging the reassessment of pedagogical strategies of instruction. Evidence of this is to be seen in the introduction of products such as interactive white boards, or â€˜smart boardsâ€™. Furthermore, a team at Durham University has recently developed a hi-tech interactive touch-screen learning station for use in primary school classrooms. This product has generated great interest and research capital and is a viable introduction to classrooms across the world in the not too distant future.
From research it has become clear that todayâ€™s dated classroom furniture should be reassessed and redesigned in line with the introduction of the various technologies to the new learning environment, should take into consideration the changed lifestyles of today’s children, their physical requirements and the aspects of a childâ€™s place of work which have until now been ignored.
The chosen age group for this product are kids between 9 and 11 years old.
In terms of research, I have looked into the existing products, read various publications and journals on and relating to the school environment, childhood development. I have also been to carry out some field research to my local primary school where I photographed the furniture being used by the kids.
Thanks so much,