People’s Primary School Interactive tech library

Project description

This is one of our partner innovation projects in which we are supporting inclusive Educational Technology (EdTech) innovation under the leadership of Yambeka Children Media. The project involves children from Katutura in co-creating EdTech innovations for the nation and beyond. In 2017, Helvi Itenge and Heike Winschiers-Theophilus together with learners from People’s Primary School co-designed a state of the art interactive tech library. The outcome was a full architectural plan of the children’s library design awaiting funding for the re-construction work of the current library building. Moreover, a number of unique EdTech innovations were prototyped, such as the Spin-Da-Bottle education app, treasure hunt authoring, and magic mirror besides augmented storybooks in collaboration with NUST computer science students. The plan is to finalise the physical interactive tech library for it to become the Katutura’s EdTech innovation space where further co-creating activities with learners and teachers from PPS as well as other stakeholders can be conducted.

Phase: Prototype

PPS Library concept design gallery (click to enlarge images)

Katutura’s Tech Education Innovation Space

Support needed:

Approximately NAD1,534,000 is required to help complete this project. The cost breakdown is as follows:

  1. Interior and exterior refurbishing  NAD630,000
  2. Construction cost (additions & alterations) NAD358,000
  3. Structural Engineer service NAD46,000
  4. Technologies NAD500,000
Project partners & Support received
  1. NUST research funds, students, interns, equipment for previous co-design workshops and publications.
  2. NCRST research funds for previous co-design workshops and publications.
  3. MTC Namibia for various technical equipment.
  4. National Arts Council, total sum of N$60, 800 for construction of the boat and the Kishikishi model.
  5. New Zealanders Marise and Laurie Richardson, total sum of N$28 500.
  6. N$1000  from the 2019 Tech Bazar.
  7. N$3000  from the 2019 ICT Summit.
Business model: Licences

Contact (for more information):
c/o Helvi Itenge yambekachildren[at]

Awards and accolades

Since inception of the project in 2017, the team has obtained the following awards and accolades related to the project:

  1. The Interactive Tech Library concept won the 1st Prize in the Tech Idols Competition at the 6th National ICT Summit held at NIPM in Windhoek Namibia in October 2019 (N$3000 prize money) .
  2. Interactive Tech Library concept was selected in the top 40 of the best education innovations from Africa and was exhibited at the Innovating Education in Africa symposium(IEA) in Botswana, August 2019.
  3. Spin da bottle won third place at the Tech Innovation Bazaar 2019 (N$1000 prize money).
  1. Child designers creating personas to diversify design perspectives and concepts for their own technology enhanced library. H Itenge-Wheeler, H Winschiers-Theophilus, A Soro, M Brereton. IDC ’18 Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children Pages 381-388, Trondheim, Norway — June 19 – 22, 2018.
  2. People’s Primary School Interactive Tech Library Exhibition. H Itenge and H Winschiers-Theophilus. In 2nd African Conference for Human Computer Interaction Proceedings. December 3–7, 2018, Windhoek, Namibia ACM, New York, NY, USA, 4 pages.
  3. The Metamorphosis of Kishikishi: Exploring Audience Experiences Telling the Same Story Just Different Media. H Itenge-Wheeler, H Winschiers-Theophilus, A Soro, M Brereton. Digitisation of Culture: Namibian and International Perspectives, 187-204.
  4. Co-creating an enabling reading environment for and with Namibian children. H Itenge-Wheeler, E Kuure, M Brereton, H Winschiers-Theophilus. PDC (1) 2016: 131-140.

PPS Escape Room

Our collaboration with People’s Primary School (PPS), a public school in Windhoek, entails the design and implementation of an interactive Tech Library in order to enhance reading experiences of the Namibian children. From June 2017, we have been working with young learners from the Namibian government school on weekly participatory design workshops. Supported by computer science students of the Namibia University of Science and Technology, local artists, teachers and other professionals, we have developed a plan for a unique state of the art interactive tech library.  Inspired by new trends of interactive libraries across the globe, leveraging emerging technologies the PPS principal has entrusted us with the redesign of the school library. As interaction designers we do not only develop engaging technologies but we create entirely new experiences through meaningful designed spaces and technologies.

Escape rooms in education

Educational escape rooms serve as enjoyable and motivating teaching strategies. The gamification aspects of the escape room encourages active students’ learning , promotes engagement, encourages participation, kindling curiosity among the students, thus cultivating a more engaging learning experience. In particular, escape rooms can foster collaborative learning, by peer groups working together to solve problems. This approach enables individuals to learn from each other, aligning with the principles of social constructivism that emphasize learning through shared experiences. Incorporating technology into escape rooms can further enhance students’ motivation and engagement. Combining different technologies yields an asymmetric multiplayer game, which introduces diverse game mechanics, information, and interfaces to players, enabling collaboration across different platforms. This can foster increased social connection and presence among players compared to symmetric game design. Moving from users to co-designers of their own immersive learning environments, further provides students with invaluable skills and knowledge about technology, subject content and collaboration, thereby promoting a cross-curricular learning. The growing field of student-created extended reality experiences provides new opportunities to engage and motivate students while supporting the acquisition of technical and collaborative skills. Thus the use and design of escape rooms provide new opportunities in education promoting collaborative learning in alternative classroom settings. A group of students were selected to present this escape room at the MTC Tech Innovation Bazaar in November 2023. The students presented the  mixed reality escape room and they obtained the prize of Best Innovation, a pledge from MTC, and an arduino powered soccer field sponsored by Green Enterprise Technologies.

The PPS mixed reality escape room won best innovation prize at MTC innovation bazaar 2023.

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