avana LLC

30 November 2017

We were visited by enthusiastic students from the Pretoria Chinese School. We spent the day teaching the students design thinking and design skills, to come up design solutions which they sketched and prototyped.

We started the session of by explaining what design is and how it is relevant in our daily lives, and then began with the really fun stuff. We asked the learners what they would do to improve the chairs they were sitting on, which they really did not like. In groups, the learners got straight to work and started by observing and analysing the functionalities of the chairs. They went on to discuss what they liked about the chair, like the fact that it has wheels and can elevate, and went on to discuss what they hated about the chairs. From their point of view, the chair did not look good and is not comfortable. Based on that, the learners started to apply their minds and ideas started to emerge. One could see that the students were really excited about their ideas..

What was exciting to see were the different personalities come through their work. One group was really into military and designed their chair for a fighter jet. Their chair had a parachute for the pilot, memory foam padding, track wheels for if the pilot lands on rouged terrain to manoeuvre to safety, and more creative features that they felt was necessary for the pilot. Secondly we were amazed at how well they worked as a team to come up with solutions for their identified user. The students then went on to prototype their design solutions and had a blast.

The session was a very exciting experience for the students and their teachers. For the children, it allowed them to tap into their creativity to develop solutions for the real world. The teachers on the other hand, were really impressed with how the students applied themselves and how well they worked as a group. It was an eye opening experience for the teacher on how they can apply design thinking in the classroom to enhance the learning experience for their students.