Ergonomic and Anthropometric Considerations of the Use of Computers in Schools by Adolescents

Document Type

Journal Article




Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences


School of Education




Jermolajew, A., & Newhouse, C. P. (2003). Ergonomic and anthropometric considerations of the use of computers in schools by adolescents. Australian Educational Computing, 18(2), 3-12. Available here


Over the past decade there has been an explosion in the provision of computing facilities in schools for student use. However, there is concern that the development of these facilities has often given little regard to the ergonomics of the design for use by children, particularly adolescents. This paper reports on a study that investigated the ergonomics in the use of computer facilities by Year 8 students attending a private secondary school in Western Australia. In particular, it considered the use of computers in a number of locations in the school and the relationship between the furniture provided and the anthropometric characteristics of the students. Data collected included general physical information of the students; furniture dimensions and adjustability; and observed student behaviours. The participants all used the facilities in each of the locations so that throughout a six month course of the study a profile of how students related to these environments emerged. Data collected supports the findings that students are less likely to engage in physically risky behaviour if they haves some degree of control over their environment, particularly in being able to adjust furniture to suit their own characteristics. These early adolescent students exhibited a huge range of anthropometric characteristics leading to the need to provide adjustable furniture for use with computers. A number of recommendations are made for schools to consider as they respond to this situation

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