#WDC251: The Play to Learn Lab

by Learning Innovation Design Lab

About the project

The Play to Learn Lab explores the potential of video games and low cost technology for learning in Cape Town’s underprivileged communities.

In early 2014, the Play to Learn Lab (PTLL) was launched at Masiphumelele Primary school in Khayelitsha as the first project of the Learning Innovation Design Lab. PTLL is all about computer games and their potential for learning. Kids play games and learn how to design their own, getting crucial exposure to computer technology and design. So far, we converted several unused PC’s into game stations. In April, we’ll upgrade the lab with PLOXX1, an Android-based computer made from cardboard.

#WDC251: The Play to Learn Lab

If you listen to the radio, or watch the news on T.V. it is obvious that the education systems in South Africa are in a state of crisis. We thought it was time to take matters into our own hands!

We formed the The Learning Innovation Design Lab so that designers, technology partners, learners and teachers could come together and explore ways we can address the educational needs of our country together using design thinking and technology.

The Play to Learn Lab is our first laboratory located at Masiphumelele Primary school in Khayelitsha and takes a rather controversial approach: we’re experimenting with digital gaming and how it can help children in underprivileged communities improve the way they learn. At the same time we are providing them with essential exposure to technology.

One of the main challenges we faced was the high price tag that comes with state-of-the-art technology. We developed PLOXX1, the android powered cardboard computer for the fraction of the price of a normal PC. PLOXX1 will provide kids with a range beautiful learning games while allowing them to be co-designers of the hardware.

Our first funding Milestone of R40 000 will allow us to fit out The Play to Learn Lab at Masiphumelele Primary School with PLOXX1 computers in order to continue our research.


Milestone 1 → We reach this Milestone and our project is a-go!

Milestone 1: R40 000.00
LET’S PLAY: If we reach our first funding milestone we will be able to fit out our Lab with our innovative Android powered cardboard computers.

Once we successfully reach Milestone 1, we receive R10 000.00 match-funding from World Design Capital: Cape Town 2014.

Milestone 2: R120 000.00
LET’S LEARN: With even more funds, we’ll be able to employ researchers, technical support and train up a tutor from the Khayelitsha community for the rest of the year. This will ensure that the learning goals of the children are met.

Milestone 3: R260 000.00
LET’S MAKE: Reaching the ultimate funding milestone would enable us to run a game design course with the children from October to December 2014 allowing children the opportunity to create their very own computer games!

If you would like change the landscape of South African education, or if think having your own PLOXX1 computer would be cool, back The Learn to Play Lab! Read more
  • Linley Rall SOUTH AFRICA
  • Andy Volk SOUTH AFRICA
  • Byron Qually SOUTH AFRICA
  • Elizabeth Gould SOUTH AFRICA
  • Michael Renzon SOUTH AFRICA
  • Brigitte Ferfler GERMANY
  • yvonne collings SOUTH AFRICA
  • Solange Rosa SOUTH AFRICA
  • Bailey Schneider SOUTH AFRICA
  • Victor Rosa SOUTH AFRICA
  • Ronnie Sarkin SOUTH AFRICA
  • Saul Greenblatt SOUTH AFRICA
  • Carrene SOUTH AFRICA
  • Michael Wolf SOUTH AFRICA


Tipping Point R40,000
Milestone 2 R120,000
Milestone 3 R260,000
tipping point
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!
tipping point
25 hrs
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!

More about the project

This is our current Play to Learn Lab at Masiphumelele Primary School set up using very old PCs running XP.
PLOXX1 cardboard computer prototype vs current hardware at our Play to Learn Lab.
We showcased 3 PLOXX1 cardboard computers at the Design Indaba Expo.
With the funds we raised at Design Indaba we were able to hand over one PLOXX1 to the Play to Learn Lab.

Get involved

Here are some great ways to get involved with the project and help out. If you have...
  • 2 minutes
    Tweet or share our project on your social media channels: www.thundafund.com/LearnLab
  • 15 minutes
    Visit our web site to see how they can get involved: www.learnlab.co.za Contact Michael for more information: michael@formula-d.com

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