Design Thinking allows the space to fail and innovate, and enrich the learning experience of students.
Children genuinely want to make a positive change to the society. They are enthused by the feeling that they can make a difference by applying design thinking in their daily lives.
Pak Kau College is one out of the eight schools that were chosen by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (“OGCIO”) to participate in the Enriched IT Programme (“EITP”). Although the school has enjoyed outstanding achievements in STEM competitions, the teachers knew something was missing. The part they were unsure was whether their STEM solutions could really address the needs of their target groups.
Two Mathematics and Computer Science teachers then discovered that design thinking was a natural fit with what they were doing to enhance STEM education at their school. They decided to use design thinking on the students’ “barrier-free transportation” project for people with physical handicap. The students tried out riding a wheelchair like what wheelchair users would do to experience how these people spent their days overcoming various constraints in movement and performance of daily tasks. The experience was eye opening and had revealed deep insights into the problem that the team had never thought about before the simulation.
The team used the findings to design a mobile app called “Wheel World” to provide location-based information to wheelchair users about barrier-free facilities, restaurants and restrooms in the vicinity. The product not only provided practical solution but also enabled the team to win an award in a STEM competition. It also taught them the importance of perseverance, teamwork and empathy toward the parties they wanted to serve. “Design thinking and its emphasis on empathy goes well with our school’s motto — All are educable,” said the School Principal, Mr. Wong Wing Tung. The motto enables the school to treasure each student as unique with one’s own gifts, interests, talents, and aspiration.