Reflective tool for primary school children


Comby is a self reflective tool for primary school children. The collected data provide insights for teachers to provide better education and to create more efficient “working groups” based on the children’s individual needs.

Context study

The process started with a thorough context study, that included observations in primary schools, interviewing teachers and literature research.

Primary school teaching has changed over the past decades. In the past education was teacher-centered: education consisted mainly of children sitting quietly, listening to the teacher’s lecture. Currently primary school teaching has pivoted towards a pupil centered approach. Lectures are kept minimum, and children are put in “working groups” and are encouraged to work together on weekly assignments.

This pupil-centered teaching approach requires the teacher to divide her attention equally amongst all individual children. However, as classes are become larger this becomes increasingly difficult. Therefore it is important that children are encouraged to help each other, which only can be achieved when put in the right “working group”.


To create the ideal working group we need to pair children with complemantary skills. We developed a concept that entails a system that uses children’s self reflections on their weekly assignments to create these groups.

The challenge was to discover the extent of primary school children’s self-reflective capabilities. This was done in a user test in which different self reflection methods were tested in a primary school classroom. We tested two self reflection methods. In the first one the children had to order their subjects from difficult to easy. In the second one the children had to divide their subjects into three groups: difficult, neutral and easy.

Key Finding

The results were discussed with the teacher. We discovered that “grouping” did not challenge the self reflective capabilities of children enough. Majority of the children were putting all subjects in a single group. “Ordering” was slightly too difficult. The children had no difficulties in pointing out the most difficult and easiest subject(s), however ordering the other subjects posed difficulties as the perceived levels were similar.

Final solution

The final solution is a simple self-reflective tool in which the children only have to point out their most difficult and easiest subject based on their weekly assignment. Using the information the system creates efficient working groups by matching children with complementary skills.  

Teacher's dashboard

There is a separate dashboard for teachers. The teacher has a clear overview of the groups that have been generated. The system’s argumentations for making the groups are also visible. Using a simple “drag and drop” interaction, the teacher can edit the groups if she believes it is necessary.

The dashboard also provides insight of the children’s progression based on the data collected from the self reflections. Using this, the teacher can adjust education based on each child’s individual needs.

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