Designing paper prototypes for an Ideal School
In July 2015, GMin soft launched our first InLab in Kenya at St. Elizabeth Academy, a girls only private boarding school in Karen, about 20 kilometers away from the Nairobi City Center.
One of our key aspirations within the InLabs program is to engage more girls in STEAM, as we realize there are many barriers to accessing quality education and employment opportunities.
Within just a few months from the InLabs launch, we have already hosted a series of standalone STEAM workshops, Designathons, and a Design Thinking Camp. In the standalone STEAM workshops- we introduced the students to educational toolkits such as Scratch, Empathy Toys, MaKey MaKey, Arduinos, and Adobe Photoshop Elements. The students learned how these tools can be leveraged to understand, solve and communicate community problems. At the end of the second academic term and before the students broke out for their summer holidays, we hosted a Designathon in collaboration with Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), a community-based organization in Kibera that transforms impoverished communities by collaborating with residents to create low-cost, high-impact public spaces that improve their daily lives. The Designathon focused on KDI’s latest school construction project in Kibera. The event lasted about 4 hours, and included an introduction to productive public spaces, group discussions and presentations of paper prototypes.
During the summer holiday, we hosted a 4-day Design Thinking Camp where we introduced the basic principles of design thinking processes using a thematic challenge of poor access to healthcare systems in Kenya. Students learned to empathize with diverse constraints faced by different stakeholders in the healthcare system, define problem-framing statements, brainstorm ideas, and build paper prototypes that improved the daily activities of doctors, nurses, and patients.
The early impacts of the Kenya InLab program are best conveyed through the student feedback below:
“It was nice learning more [about] the prototype. It was nice enhancing our creativity skills. It was [educational] and encouraging.”
“It was awesome coming up with different kinds of prototypes. More of a mind-opening opportunity. I learned so much from Leroy.”
“This 4-day camping session has been amazing. We learned a lot about the five steps of design thinking even though it was somehow a sort of over-thinking but we still enjoyed it. We learned how to put ourselves in other people’s feelings and try to feel what they usually feel and we appreciated the fact that it taught and also prepares us for the upcoming future. Thanks a heap and god bless you as you continue with the same spirit.”
InLab Program introduces Problem Framing Tree
Students learn how to use circuits in MaKey MaKey
St. Elizabeth Girls Academy Students, group shot