Unboxy builds wellbeing in post-lockdown schools

Researchers have assessed the impact of a new education kit, called Unboxy, on mediating student transition to school post-lockdown

Schooling at home has emerged as one of the more challenging aspects of Australia’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

Remote learning has significantly impacted the student experience and wellbeing. And, part of that impact is felt when students return to the classroom following repeated lockdowns.

La Trobe researchers have assessed the impact of a new education kit, called Unboxy, on mediating student transition to school post-lockdown.

The kit was developed by Australian company, Y2 Architecture. It is made of cardboard and composed of shapes and connectors that can be used to create geometric forms.

The inventive product offers schools a low cost, textural medium that may inspire students and educators to experiment with shapes, forms and processes when they return to school.

It also provides students with opportunities to work creatively and collaboratively with one another, and build physical structures that could serve as a point for additional socialisation, or to construct shelters for rest and rejuvenation.

La Trobe researcher, Dr Craig Deed, has led an international multidisciplinary team of architects, psychologists and educators that investigated Unboxy’s capacity to engage students.

They team discovered that the kit helped to create a safe classroom environment by allowing students to build temporary enclosures, contained spaces or play spaces.

The kit also enhanced classroom learning around geometric shapes, while encouraging abstract creativity through open-ended building. “And hands-on activity encouraged student communication and creative expression,” says Dr Deed.

“The Unboxy kit had a positive influence on student classroom readjustment, providing a basis for productive engagement and learning.”

The project recently co-won the Learning Environments Australasia 2021 award for 'An innovative education initiative.'

“Before the pandemic there was an assumption that technology would change where and how learning occurred,” adds Dr Deed. “We now realise the generative value of the situated and social nature of the physical classroom, and the importance of hands-on, creative and social learning.”

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