SOCIAL TREE PLANTING PROJECT
A teacher came up with the idea of planting trees to socialise. There was a small patch of land not being used behind the school, and he felt this was a nice simple idea that teachers & students could get together to plant some trees and get to know each other in the process. He reached out to the owner of the land and he agreed to the project. Feeling positive about putting his idea to the test, he spoke to a park ranger with expertise in reforestation and tree planting. When he proposed his idea, the park ranger informed him that it is really not that simple to just plant trees. The soil needs to be turned and prepared before planting. He would need a tractor in order to do it sufficiently. So the teacher returns to the farmer to ask if he can help him turn the soil. The farmer then informs him that this is not possible to fit a tractor between the buildings and fences to get into the plot of land. He also told him that when he had agreed to the idea, he thought he had only meant planting a few trees, not filling the entire plot of land. So, after all of his effort, this teacher had to go back to the define phase to rethink his idea.
CHILD WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES
A teacher has a child in their class who has undiagnosed learning difficulties. It had been assumed within the school that the child had developmental problems and was believed to be autistic, as he was behind in learning and didn’t interact much with the other children. This particular teacher has been spending extra time with this child to help him learn how to write by hand and read. Not long after the design challenge had begun, this teacher contacted the child’s mother, who recommended that the child sit at the front rather than the back of the classroom, as she thought her child might have poor eyesight. When she inquired further, she discovered that the mother thought this might be the problem but couldn’t find out because it was too costly to take her child to the optometrist. It dawned on the teacher that most of the children in her class were from families who couldn’t afford to get their eyes tested and that this could be a possible cause for the child’s delayed learning development. So she used the design thinking challenge to apply for funding to take her class to the optometrist. She discovered that many of the children had poor eyesight. The child she had been tutoring only had 40% of their eyesight, which was likely the reason for the learning difficulties.
ALL HOMEWORK STAYS AT SCHOOL
A teacher was struggling with getting her students to complete their homework. Everyday students would come in with different excuses, but mostly that they forgot their books at school. When she investigated, further some of the children said that they didn’t have good enough backpacks to carry their books home. The teacher had defined her challenge and decided the solution would be to buy her children brand-new backpacks. However, after the children got their backpacks, homework was still not done. The teacher returned to the empathy phase and asked a few different questions. Suddenly she realised that it wasn’t so much the backpacks, but that most children had to walk up 2kms to and from school each day, sometimes in snow, and the books they needed to do their homework were too heavy to carry so far. The teacher then asked the children if they would prefer to do their homework at school inside, and they were much happier with this solution. The students and teacher then started a project to design an area in the classroom where students could complete their homework.