Picture: Last raw from the right: Teacher Khumo Kauahito, NUST Computer Science Student Albertus Coetzee, Helvi Iitenge-Wheeler, Prof Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, NUST computer Science Intern Nathan Dasneves, PPS principal Mr Xoagu, Mr Walter Kamungu, and Mrs Uavangua Mbasuva
School libraries of the future incorporate new developments of technologies and educational theories to provide learners with innovative means and access to new media resources to acquire the necessary skills for the knowledge and information society of the 21st century. Helvi Iitenge-Wheeler a former People’s Primary School (PPS) learner, now a NUST staff member, is engaged in her PhD studies aiming to enhance Namibian children’s reading experiences.
Inspired by new trends of interactive libraries across the globe, leveraging emerging technologies the PPS principal Mr. Patrick Xoagub has entrusted the re-design of his school library to the Computer Science Department in the Faculty of Computing and Informatics at NUST. “As interaction designers we do not only develop engaging technologies but we create entirely new experiences through meaningful designed spaces and technologies” says Prof Winschiers-Theophilus who has been co-designing the PPS interactive tech library with her PhD student Helvi Iitenge-Wheeler and a group of PPS learners over the last months.
Fourth-year NUST interaction design students are currently developing appealing technologies, such as a “Magic Reading Mirror” and an “ fun activity reading apps ”, thereby complementing prior students’ works on a traditional story’s reading app and an augmented reality book.
“It has been an amazing journey designing the tech library with the kids and Computer Science students. We are now counting on the private sector and individuals to support the finalization of the library to make the children’s and teacher’s dream a reality”, states Helvi as “Teachers and Learners of PPS are equally looking forward to the opportunity of experiencing a new reading culture”.
The interactive tech library consisting of various themed areas designed by the children, engaging different types of readers by embracing new developments in emerging interactive technologies will be one of its kind.