Pupils at Graaf Huyn College design 'learning chair'
A 'learning chair' was developed to stimulate and facilitate patients to learn together; for instance, to help a patient learn how to maintain optimum health following a hospital stay together with his or her family. This concept, developed by four secondary school pupils at Graaf Huyn College in Geleen, was the winner of the Maastricht UMC+ competition.
The technasium pupils were asked to design a chair that would stimulate and facilitate patients (and their family members and/or visitors) to acquire relevant knowledge during a hospital stay. This refers to information about issues relating to the patient's illness or treatment and useful information the patient can use when he or she returns home. In a more general sense, the chair can help to flesh out the Healthy Life concept developed by Maastricht UMC+. This concept consists of lifestyle recommendations which, put simply, encourage patients to exercise more and eat a healthier diet based on moderation. The design brief also included practical requirements: the chair had to be inviting and accessible, comfortable to use, hygienic and suitable for use with digital media. In addition, the chair had to be designed for use in general areas (not just patient rooms).
After a class finale at school, three groups were invited to present their concept and a small-scale prototype at Maastricht UMC+. The three designs varied considerably. The first was a high-tech and detailed chair with useful gadgets. The second focused on learning and experiencing together and had an accessible and inviting design. The third chair was designed for a specific target group (young lung patients). The learning process was well-developed and the design had a strong link with the Healthy Living concept.
The jury, consisting of hospital employees and a member of the client council, chose the chair developed by Frouke Smeets (12), Sara Pattinaja (12), Iris Baggen (13) and Elias Toussaint (13) as the winning design. According to the jury, this chair exceeded the design brief and stood out from the competition. The four winning pupils were inspired by a 'social learning world' based on the added value of learning in a social context. The chair was also designed in an inviting and user-friendly way. 'We were impressed by the winning prototype because it added a new dimension to the assignment,' explains jury chairman Dick Jurriëns. 'It made us think about how pleasant learning in a social context can be.' The goal is to develop and test a prototype of the chair in the hospital.
Each member of the winning team received a stylish Bluetooth speaker. The other competitors received a cinema voucher.
The technasium is a national formula developed for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at the senior secondary level (HAVO and VWO). This form of education focuses heavily on research and design (R&D) and encourages pupils to work on relevant STEM assignments in practice. The Graaf Huyn College was awarded the 'technasium' designation in the 2013–14 academic year. Schools with this designation are affiliated with the Stichting Technasium foundation, which develops technical education, trains teachers, and ensures academic quality.