Education Design

IT teacher Robyne Luketic was frustrated by the time wasted by students in her classroom having their hands in the air. She decided that something had to be done, and with the innovation of the designers at Cobalt, the HANDSDOWN system was created.

The question

How could you create a simple, yet effective way of helping students and increasing teaching time? Luketic and Cobalt found a solution by prioritising the needs of students.

The answer

Cobalt designed a product that consisted of a plastic base, metal plate and a tall aluminium pole with three interchangeable foam hands. Project manager Daniel Booker said, “With this project simplicity was the way to go” with a focus on low volume and robustness.

The hands, which are red, green and amber can be placed onto the pole to demonstrate the level of assistance that pupil requires. The red hand indicates that they cannot continue without help, the amber hand is for problems that require help, but are not urgent and the green hand signifies that the student is happily working.

The product is completely recyclable and detachable. The universally recognised traffic light colours have assisted peer teaching, understanding and special needs education in addition to reduced classroom distractions. The innovation has been a huge success in schools. Teacher Tammie Thompson stated HANDSDOWN had enabled a “more organised, constructive classroom where students are focused on their learning and not on disturbing others around them.” (Source: