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[Design Thinking] Emo-Tool Designed by High Schoolers

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

It's my first time to teach at high school properly. My students are in Year 9-11. It's a one term coding project. Those students didn't have any prior experience in coding before - it's also our first time to teach coding in my high school.


 

It is a project that students learn how to use JavaScript and control Micro:Bit by it. After that, they use DESIGN THINKING strategies to design an emo-tool to help people express their feelings.

The reason why I chose this topic is because all work and no play makes Hongkongers the world’s fifth most stressed population. Especially for young people here, one in three young Hongkongers suffers from stress, anxiety or depression. Also, we have several students in high school who are suffering to emotional issues.

I wanted to raise this issue to my students, for the sake of others as well as themselves.


 

There are five stages in this project.


Since it's a coding course, students were introduced to JavaScript in the beginning of the course by finishing several mini projects. After that, they started to use Micro:Bit. They used JavaScript to control Micro:Bit and add-ons (Neopixels, speakers and servos). Unfortunately, we didn't have breadboard - otherwise we could create more wonderful projects.


The interesting part is the design thinking stage. Students interviewed each other (3 people per group), also, they interviewed their family members and friends.

I adapted Kevin Jarrett's (twitter: @kjarrett) template for the interview. The template is here - LINK.


 

After that, students created their individual project according to their own and others' experience.

Here are some examples:

One girl is very shy - she's a bit "socially awkward" (use her own word). But she did want to make more friends in the school, and she saw some people have the same problem like her. So she designed a t-shirt that could ask if people can be her friends. (demonstrated by a primary kid)



 

One boy made a pair of Emo-Glasses. It's really cool indeed. This boy showed his kindness and support during the lesson. When others had problems with soldering/coding, he was always the first person to offer help.

This is more than the lesson itself - I always want my students could support each other during the lessons.

His glasses attracted so many primary kids - here's their comment "IT'S SOOOOOOO COOL".



 

Here's the overview video about this project.



I'm so happy to have the chance to work with those lovely teenagers. My coding course (Game development) is happening in term 3. Wish we'll have more wonderful projects!

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