Teachers learn how to design better solutions

The National Design Thinking Workshop in session. It focuses on using design thinking to come up with solutions that are based on understanding the problem as well as the people facing the problem.
The National Design Thinking Workshop in session. It focuses on using design thinking to come up with solutions that are based on understanding the problem as well as the people facing the problem.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
Ms Humairah Tulmiti says she learnt how to craft and ask good questions at the workshop.
Ms Humairah Tulmiti says she learnt how to craft and ask good questions at the workshop.

It was the teachers' turn to be asked questions this week, at a workshop to help them guide students in using design thinking to generate solutions that benefit society.

Among the questions posed was: How can we help the elderly better deal with emergencies at home?

A wearable device that the elderly could activate after a fall was just one of many suggestions offered.

Organised by Samsung, in partnership with Singapore Polytechnic (SP) and Singapore Press Holdings, the National Design Thinking Workshop took place at the school yesterday and on Monday.

Teachers from secondary schools, polytechnics, the Institute of Technical Education and junior colleges could attend for free.

The suggestion of a wearable device came about after the use of the design thinking framework, a four-stage process that seeks to ensure solutions are based on an understanding of not just the problem, but also the people facing the problem.

Teachers noticed that existing solutions - for example, a bell button located in the toilet - may not always be accessible.

 
 

Secondary school teacher Humairah Tulmiti, 32, who heard of the workshop through social media, said: "One of the main things I learnt is how to craft and ask good questions. Only when we better understand the people we're trying to help can we also better understand how to help them."

Teachers received a guide to the design thinking process and a certificate from SP's Professional and Adult Continuing Education Academy. The workshop aimed to help teachers prepare for this year's Samsung Solve for Tomorrow challenge, which encourages students to use technology to come up with solutions to social issues in Singapore.

This year's issues are active ageing, healthcare, social integration and the environment.

More than $180,000 worth of prizes are up for grabs, including a study trip to South Korea, internship opportunities with Samsung Electronics Singapore and cash prizes.

Students have until Oct 12 to identify a problem they want to solve and submit their ideas.

Ms Julie Loh, 44, an associate lecturer at Republic Polytechnic, said: "By attending this workshop, I hope to help my students be more mindful when solving problems and therefore come up with better solutions in the future."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2018, with the headline 'Teachers learn how to design better solutions'. Print Edition | Subscribe