Friday, 27 December 2013

Design Thinking Workshop for Staff

To build capacity and awareness of design thinking for Commonwealth teachers, a workshop was conducted by Mr Loh after the end of protected time. The teachers went through the wallet project, where they worked in pairs to design something to meet the needs of their partners. Several teachers from the design thinking team help to facilitate the session.

Engaging the user in conversations

Generating solutions by sketching ideas
Prototyping
  
Mini-expo: Sharing of solutions by teachers


Thursday, 21 November 2013

Train the Trainers Day 2

On the second day, the groups completed their prototypes and presented it in the form of a role play. The other groups gave feedback on the ideas presented. It was a fruitful experience.

The final design challenge was the wallet challenge, where the participants were tasked to design something based on what they found from the wallet of their user. The teachers interviewed each other on the contents of their wallets. Surprisingly, their wallets gave a lot of insights. They then used recycled materials to design a product based on the insights collected from the interviews.

Here are some examples of prototypes from the participants:


1. Needs Statement: practical-minded XXX needs a way to organise her things in an efficient manner because she wants to have a sense of security in knowing where her things are.


Prototype: This is a multi purpose card for XXX. It has Nets, EzLink and membership functions for stores (such as watson's etc) that can be customized by XXX so that she does not need to carry multiple cards around and worry about finding the correct card. This all-in-one card has a face recognition system for security and a LCD screen that displays her expenditure and membership info!





2. Needs Statement:"Family-oriented XXX needs a way to minimise extra-work because he likes to spend time with his family."
Prototype: For Family-Man 'man, the 'invention' created is an app which can help him group similar tasks together for convenience's sake such that he can save time for family activities which are more important to him.As someone who values relationship, the app also has a function where he can invite closer friends to access his published schedule so that they can offer to help him with some of the tasks. This is seen from the 'Feeds' section where friends will send him a message through the app to tell him which task they can help with and XXX can strike it off his schedule, thus freeing his time up for his family.

3. Wallet Watcher
Prototype: Easy reminder app on phone (alarm system)
1. Download the app
2. Place the card on the hp screen.
3.Retail store and the expiry date on the card will be scanned and captured.
4. App will trigger alarm 1 week (may be adjusted) before expiry date and on the day itself.
5. Discard your unwanted cards. No more bulky wallet!



Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Train the Trainers Day 1: Developing Teachers' Capacity in Design Thinking

On 20 and 21 Nov, a group of 14 teachers attended a 2-day workshop on Design Thinking. The objective of the workshop is to build a core group of teachers who can lead in facilitating design thinking and help develop this area in the school. Ong & Ong, a design firm gave a workshop on design thinking and also shared their experiences in using Design Thinking in their work. The design challenge was to re-design the learning experiences of the students in order to meet the needs of the 21st century economy. Brainstorming was intense as the teachers were very open and generated many interesting ideas.



Many thanks to the trainers Joshua, Mark and Ken who really inspired the teachers!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Greening for a Cause- CWSS in the news!

Last year, a group of Commonwealth students volunteered at the St Andrew's Cathedral Home for the Aged. They empathized with the elderly's need for a meaningful social activity and came up with an unique solution- to build a garden with the elderly. Subsequently, these students clinched one of the top prizes at the Design for Change competition 2012 and were selected to represent Singapore in the Global "Be the Change" Conference in Ahmedabad, India this September. We are pleased to know that their story was reported by journalists from Today. 
Here is the full article: http://www.todayonline.com/daily-focus/youth/greening-cause




Saturday, 9 November 2013

Follow Up

During the months following the M.A.D. EXPO, Sec 2-1 returned to their routine school life. However, their sense of commitment towards FDS was not lost. After the End-Of-Year exams, 4 groups decided to return to their M.A.D. projects and improve on their work, with the hope of turning their initial prototypes into more polished products. The teams and their respective projects were:


  • Surabhi's group (Creating a Social Media Guide for FDS members)
  • Natchanon's group (Re-designing a Sales Desk for Mr Palang)
  • Alvin's group (Developing a Communication App for Ms Pricilla)
  • Megan's Group (Creating a Publicity video for FDS). 

Over the post-exam period and the early part of the November school holidays, these 4 groups worked closely with expert mentors from our school who guided the students on the technical skills required to enhance their prototyped ideas. For instance, Natchanon's group worked under the guidance of the D&T teachers to improve on the construction of their sales desk idea while Megan's group worked with the New Media Club to produce a publicity video for FDS. The team learnt new skills of film making, voice recording and video editing along the way.

Alvin's group learnt the skills for Android app development from the school's Technical Executive, Mr Chua. The group mastered the basic skills of a programming software and was extremely engrossed in their work!

Overall, from this experience, the groups learnt that the development of real products, anything from tables to applications,  is tedious and technically challenging. They truly demonstrated the values of adventurousness and tenacity in venturing into new areas far beyond the scope of their textbooks and carrying their project all the way to the end, even sacrificing several days of their November school holidays to complete their work. 

As an enrichment, the teams were brought to the school's refurnished Design Studio and were introduced to the new 3D printers. Students were truly amazed by the capabilities of technology! Their eyes were glued to the small window of the 3D printer machine as they watched the machine hum away. 



We hope that this has been a fulfilling learning experience for our students. None of this would have been possible without support from the school leaders and the help of colleagues from various departments. 
Thank you all so much!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Interviewing Teachers

The final design challenge for 1-8 was to re-design the teaching experience for their class mentors. They interviewed their class mentors to understand how they feel. They were given some questions to begin with. For example, "What was the best moment you had with our class?" and "What inspired you to become a teacher?" Students had a glimpse of the background of the teachers and how they felt about the class.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Building Empathy through Immersion

How does it feel like to be in a country where water is limited? In some countries, children have to walk a long distance to a well to fetch water for their daily needs. Students from 1-8 were given the opportunity to experience a water carrying activity to get them to develop empathy for such people.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Design Thinking for 1NT Students: School Bag Challenge

Following the pilot from 2-1, the 1-8 students started on the Making a Difference Programme in Semester 2 Using the Design Thinking model, students were given the challenge of redesigning a school bag for their peers. The students enjoyed drawing their sketches, getting feedback and making their prototypes.



Saturday, 13 July 2013

M.A.D. Design Thinking EXPO 2013

On 13 July 2013, after months of preparations and iterations, Class 2-1 successfully hosted a Design Thinking EXPO to present their improved solution ideas to users from the Friends of The Disabled Society (FDS). We were honoured to have Ms Jastina Koh, President of FDS and Ms Glynnis, Vice-President of FDS, visit the EXPO. It was also wonderful to see other disabled friends of the FDS and guest teachers present in support of this event. 


Here are the photos of the groups’ booth display:

 Alvin's group: Designing a phone app for Ms Priscilla 


 Tarun's group: Designing a method to teach MC to paint



Natchanon's group: Designing a table for Mr Palang for selling crafts 

At the EXPO, it was a gratifying  experience to witness how much 2-1 students had grown in their knowledge of Design Thinking problem solving process and the tremendous improvements that they had made to their initial prototyped ideas. 2-1 exceeded our expectations in their ability to present a clear, confident, and detailed explanation of their prototypes, and to be able to guide their users professionally to experience their prototyped ideas. Students also impressed us with their display of humility as they listened attentively and patiently to all remarks made by their visitors, some of whom have difficulties expressing verbal responses clearly, and they accepted all feedback graciously.

2-1 students presenting their ideas:


Here are the reflections of the students at the finale of their Design Thinking Journey:

I learned how to put myself in others' shoes and understand the feeling of others. I can use this in daily life to prevent myself from hurting others. – Aarthi

We have to be more realistic and also (understand) that the prototypes are to suit the users' liking and not just based on what we like or think is good. – Megan

Failure is the mother of success. Be ready to hear criticisms and make mistakes on the first try of making the prototype. – Tarun

I learnt how to empathise with my user's needs and think of useful solutions for them. I can use this skills when I have this type of projects in the future. – Yan Hunk


We hope that 2-1 has had a meaningful and enjoyable learning experience, and that they will apply Design Thinking to other aspects of their lives too.

All the best, 2-1!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

User Testing

After a few more weeks of preparation and rehearsals, our Design Thinkers were ready to present their prototype solution ideas to the members of the Friends of the Disabled Society (FDS). Each solution idea was designed to address the needs of a particular FDS friend whom the student group interviewed. Prior to this user testing session, the FDS friends had no idea what students have managed to invent for them. There was a lot of excitement and anticipation in the air as students awaited the arrival of their guests who would be judging their solution ideas. Collecting feedback from their users is very important to the students as they would gain valuable, firsthand information on the quality of their solution ideas, paving the way for further iterations. 


When the FDS friends arrived, students gave them a very warm welcome and set to their tasks right away. Some groups created models of their solution ideas that the users can touch and feel in order to test the functionality of their ideas. 

Others utilised powerpoint slideshows to illustrate their solution ideas in order to graphically simulate an actual experience of their solution ideas.  

One group took on a more hands-on approach and even brought paint and brushes to the table to allow their users to try out a painting technique on the spot!

There was also a group that brought a guitar. Their idea was to create a music video with their user. Soon, the room was filled with chatter, laughter and music. 


The FDS friends appeared to be very pleased with the solution ideas. We are also proud of how they have managed their user testing session so well. Well done, 2-1!


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Ideation and Selection

Our students have spent several weeks learning about the needs of their users from the FDS. They are now ready to embark on their Design Challenge: to redesign how friends from the FDS make or sell their crafts.

In groups, our students began by brainstorming for ideas to design creative solutions for their users, who individually possesses a unique profile. The students found that they had to remain focused on the task in order to find appropriate ways to meet the real needs of their users, rather than to fulfil their own ideals.

With some encouragement, our students were able to let their creativity flow and they impressed us with a myriad of wide-ranging ideas for their users. They were certainly proud of their accomplishments.

At the end of the lesson, students selected the top three ideas which they will refine over the course of the week. We are looking forward to seeing the development of their ideas.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Identifying User Needs

Today, Sec 2-1 began to work on defining the needs of their users. Drawing on what they have learnt at the interview session, students discussed their insights into the lives of their users, and from there, they began to determine possible emotional and physical needs of their users. Students generated various "Point of View" and "How Might We" statements to express their understanding of their users' needs. 



Despite being their maiden attempt, many groups came up with surprisingly accurate insights into the needs of their users, and they demonstrated genuine thoughtfulness and empathy for their users! Here are a few samples. 

"Ms Pricilla needs an easier way to communicate faster in a way that makes her feel confident and productive. How might we find a way to help Ms Pricilla communicate faster to make her feel confident and productive?"

- Eldwin's Group

"Mr Palang needs a way to socialise with people through selling crafts that makes him feel independent. How might we help Mr Palang socialise with people through selling crafts which makes him feel independent?"

- Natchanon's Group

Mr Bobby Yeo needs a way to make easier art and craft in a way that makes him feel able-bodied so that he does not feel limited because of his physical disability. How might we create an easier art and craft [for Mr Yeo] that makes him feel able-bodied so that he does not feel limited because of his physical disability?"

- Surabhi's Group

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Reflections on their Users

Our brave students conducted their interviews exceedingly well with their users from the Friends of the Disabled Society.

The experience moved many of them, and gave them insights into not just the lives of those less fortunate than themselves, but also into the nature of empathy itself. The students posted their insights on the class' Design Thinking Google Group. Here's a selection:



"[I] thought we must concentrate on what we are supposed to do like taking pictures or videos... at the end i realized that we had to listen to the user more than concentrating what we are doing." - Ruppa  
"I felt nervous at the start and during the middle but as the interview went we felt more confident and easy and treated our friend as someone we have already known before. After the interview, we felt happy as we had a wonderful interview as we had got our information we needed. We also had made a new friend:)." - Viswa
"I did not expect the disabled friend to actually communicate with people by texting, it was my first time seeing this." - Zihui
"[I was] inspired by the fact that even though our disabled friends have challenges, they still are determined to overcome them because they really struggled to get things done." - Jinghan
"After listening about his experiences and how his make use of his time everyday, I felt very sorry for Mr G. I have not expected to find out that our disabled friends lead such difficult lives... Before the interview,I felt that I am just an ordinary person, but after seeing Mr Goh and other disabled friends, I felt very fortunate and lucky to be able to walk normally, talk normally and perform everyday tasks without any difficulties." - Yanhunk
"[It was] unexpected that we actually went through the interview quite well even it was our first time interviewing a disabled friend. In the end I felt that we should care for them more especially by listening to them more other than just guessing what they need." -Fukai
"I think that the design thinking style of interviewing help us get a more detailed and comprehensible answers which are important. These to-the-point answers help us to empathise more with our users. Some unexpected insights i gained were: firstly, there are users who are low in self esteem and thus, not daring to voice out their opinions. I had heard stories of many disabled friends all around the world, getting introverted because they were different. However, it didnt really affected me n i thought it wasnt a big deal but actually meeting one of those kind of person makes me feel small to have belittled the problem." - Naw Theint

Well done, 2-1!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Sec 2-1 Meets Their Users!

Sec 2-1 today got their first live experience of need-finding through interviews.  5 visitors from the Friends of the Disabled Society (FDS) visited the school at noon to be interviewed by our young design thinkers. The delegation was led by Ms Roog, head of the Society, who had been kind enough to agree to the session and to arrange for transport for the members.




Though palpably nervous, the teams were well-prepared with questions and pre-allocated roles. They had already decided which of them would take be asking questions, recording spoken responses, and recording non-verbal reactions (e.g. facial expressions or body language).


Our friends from FDS joined the students at their tables. There was a round of introductions, and then the interviews began!






2-1 managed the interviews superbly - they were patient, focused and listened carefully to every word their guests had to say. 

They also coped well with unexpected challenges. For example, one of our guests was not able to respond verbally. Instead, she responded to their questions by typing out her answer on her cellphone. This slowed down the interview process significantly, and ultimately the students weren't able to complete their interviews. However, they remained patient and collected throughout, and plan to complete their interview with their interviewee via email.


The students also had the opportunity to show their guests some ideas for crafts that they could teach the members. Ms Roog had requested that the class provide training to the members, to enable them to produce crafts that could be sold to the public.




At the debrief, the students were subdued and thoughtful after their conversations with their guests. At the same time, there was an undercurrent of energy and eagerness to take up the challenge of designing something to help these "users" whom they had now met face to face.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

2-1 Learns about Empathy (Part 2)

Today, 2-1 learned about one useful way to get to know their users - through Observation!

Before letting them out into the field, we provided them with a tool to guide their observations - the "What-How-Why" tool from the d.school Bootcamp Bootleg.


Armed with their observation worksheets, 2-1 descended on the canteen, where they observed their selected users - unsuspecting teachers having lunch! The students relished the opportunity to be the ones this time scrutinising their teachers' every movement and expression.

However, being first-time observers, their skills could do with a little honing. As time went by, they looked less like unobtrusive observers, and more and more like vultures lurking too obviously on the periphery of the scene. After giving them one too many suspicious glances, teachers started to leave rather than be subjected to further eyeballing.

2-1 enjoyed the experience tremendously, and came away with some insightful observations. Some even went so far as to eavesdrop (a little clumsily) on their teachers' conversations! All in all, a good introduction to the difficult but fascinating experience of design thinking fieldwork.


Thursday, 21 February 2013

2-1 Learns About Empathy (Part 1)

As part of their introduction to Design Thinking, 2-1 got a crash course over 3 weeks on the idea of empathy.

First, they explored empathy boxes, collections of photos, mementos and knick-knacks that were artifacts from an unknown user's life. Each group was tasked with building a story about the user using each artifact as an element in the narrative.

The teams had a great time constructing stories about their unknown user. Many stories were globe-spanning histories involving families, love and unique experiences.

On hindsight, we would provide more explicit instructions for the groups to create stories about "real" people - one group spun a story about Santa Claus!



Thursday, 14 February 2013

2-1 Embarks on the DT School bag Challenge!

How do I design the ideal school bag for my buddy?

On 14 Feb, 2-1 had their first taste of the Design Thinking problem solving process. They were tasked with the challenge of designing a school bag to meet the needs of their class buddies. Rather than asking direct questions about the school bag, 2-1 was told to begin by getting to know their buddies all over again by finding out about exactly what their buddies "need" and how they would like to "feel". Students had great fun during this interview process and they seemed to have gotten to know their class buddies much better.

After discovering their buddies' needs, it became clear that the goal of this challenge was not about the school bag at all, in fact they could design anything, limited only by their creativity, so long to meet the needs of the users. When it was time to prototype their products, 2-1 rose to the challenge with enthusiasm! Everyone promptly began to search for appropriate materials for creating their designed products.
It was commendable that students demonstrated team work and cooperation with one another even as they were working under time pressure to complete the task. Well done indeed!

Once having obtained suitable prototyping materials, 2-1 dived into the creation process dutifully. 


After around 20 minutes of labour, most of the products were finished. There was a wide variety of designs, many of which demonstrated creativity, and more importantly, the thoughtfulness to meet the real needs of their buddies.

Sample students' work:

Keng Swee needs a way to carry all his items with him in a way that makes them feel safe
My prototype is a very light lock to lock his bag so that he will have all his items kept safely with him. The lock is very light so it would not add extra weight to his bag.

Reyaaz needs a way to protect his uniform from getting wet in the rain in a way that makes him feel cool.

Megan needs to improve in her studies by paying attention in class. The design is based on a mechanism which will tend to wake her up during lessons whenever she falls asleep. It actually consists of a cup, a follower(supported)in the shape of a cute rabbit with a few dialogues and a bell attached to the end of the follower.
The speeches of the rabbit are to encourage her not to sleep in class, stay calm and continue to carry on. The follower is attached to a bell because students or teachers can push the follower up and down in order for the bell to ring.




At the end of the session, students proudly shared the design of their products with their friends and the teachers. It was a great start to 2-1's Design Thinking M.A.D. journey!

2-1 Embarks on the DT School bag Challenge!

How do I design the ideal school bag for my buddy?

On 14 Feb, 2-1 had their first taste of the Design Thinking problem solving process. They were tasked with the challenge of designing a school bag to meet the needs of their class buddies. Rather than asking direct questions about the school bag, 2-1 was told to begin by getting to know their buddies all over again by finding out about exactly what their buddies "need" and how they would like to "feel". Students had great fun during this interview process and they seemed to have gotten to know their class buddies much better.

After discovering their buddies' needs, it became clear that the goal of this challenge was not about the school bag at all, in fact they could design anything, limited only by their creativity, so long to meet the needs of the users. When it was time to prototype their products, 2-1 rose to the challenge with enthusiasm! Everyone promptly began to search for appropriate materials for creating their designed products. 


It was commendable that students demonstrated team work and cooperation with one another even as they were working under time pressure to complete the task. Well done indeed!


Once having obtained suitable prototyping materials, 2-1 dived into the creation process dutifully. 





After around 20 minutes of labour, most of the products were finished. There was a wide variety of designs, many of which demonstrated creativity, and more importantly, the thoughtfulness to meet the real needs of their buddies.

Sample students' work:

Keng Swee needs a way to carry all his items with him in a way that makes them feel safe
My prototype is a very light lock to lock his bag so that he will have all his items kept safely with him. The lock is very light so it would not add extra weight to his bag.




Reyaaz needs a way to protect his uniform from getting wet in the rain in a way that makes him feel cool.

Megan needs to improve in her studies by paying attention in class. The design is based on a mechanism which will tend to wake her up during lessons whenever she falls asleep. It actually consists of a cup, a follower(supported)in the shape of a cute rabbit with a few dialogues and a bell attached to the end of the follower.
The speeches of the rabbit are to encourage her not to sleep in class, stay calm and continue to carry on. The follower is attached to a bell because students or teachers can push the follower up and down in order for the bell to ring.


At the end of the session, students proudly shared the design of their products with their friends and the teachers. It was a great start to 2-1's Design Thinking M.A.D. journey!