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Design Thinking

in an apple classroom

Design thinking means empathizing with customers to design solutions that customers themselves want. This is something that 29 of educators in our Reactor Educator Network (REN) experienced for themselves in our Design Thinking Meetup in collaboration with apple.

At 3pm on a Friday afternoon, educators showed up at the Apple HQ where the meetup was held. They were led to the apple classroom that had a set up that looked something like this.

Lay out of Design Thinking in an apple classroom

Each educator had a customized name tent, a Galaxy folder, a welcome letter, a customized notebook, an ipad and a Design Thinking Lesson Plan.

Materials at Design Thinking in an apple classroom meetup

Once everyone had settled down, Reactor’s lead trainer, Weiyuan, simulated teaching the Design Thinking Process using an apple classroom. Educators all had a go at experimenting with the tools offered on the ipad, such as padlet and apple classroom.

Educator using an ipad for design thinking meetup

The Design Thinking Process started with: Empathize. 

The importance of empathy was explained and educators got to understand its role in design. Then, a small warm up activity was conducted called the “Initiate Wallet Exchange” activity. Participants had to pair up and exchange wallets with their partner. After exchanging wallets, they had to think of improvements that could be made to the wallet and share it with the rest of the class. Turns out, some of the improvements suggested were not ideal for the partner. For example, an educator suggested to shrink down the size of his partner’s wallet as it was too big. However, that suggestion is not ideal as his partner does not even carry the wallet around on a normal basis, and always keeps it in her bag instead of bringing it down to lunch.

Moral of the activity: Most of the participants came up with suggestions that were not ideal as they did not understand their partner and made improvements based on what they themselves wanted instead of their partner. Hence, the activity showed the educators the importance of empathy in designing products.

After the “Initiate Wallet Exchange” activity, the Empathy Map was introduced to the educators.

Empathy Map

This of course came with an activity to get participants to understand empathy and how to practice it. For this activity, “Be a User”, we got educators to step out of the classroom to observe the public. They were instructed to go to any F&B shop to observe a customer and their actions from a distance.

Educators participating in "be a user activity"

Following that, they had to fill up an empathy map with their observations of the customer, allowing educators to gain insight on what the customer’s behaviour and from there empathise with how they “feel” and “think”

After sharing their insights, we had a lesson plan walk through. In every galaxy folder, lay our Design Thinking Lesson Plan, exclusive to the educators who attended the meetup. This Lesson Plan would be a tool used to help educators bring Design Thinking into their classroom. Since educators had the chance to experience the lesson for themselves, they would also know how to better run the lesson for their students.

That concluded part 1 of our “Design Thinking in an apple classroom” Meetup. We covered 2 out of the 5 steps of Design Thinking. Empathize and Define.

Second run of “Design Thinking in an apple classroom” is coming!

9th March 2018, Friday, 3pm-5pm. Sign up here!

REN Details

Due to our limited slots, we understand that some of you may be unable to attend this run of “Design Thinking in an apple classroom” meetup. What you can do is join our free lifetime REN membership here and we will send you updates on our upcoming meetups. Not to mention, as a REN member, you will be able to attend our future meetups at a special discounted rate.

The Reactor Educator Network (REN) is a professional development network for educators who seek to teach entrepreneurship, innovation, business and design.

Our educators attend REN Meetups once every one to two months (working around the MOE Calendar), to share ideas and best practices as part of a community of practice.

These 2 to 3 hour REN Meetups may include guest speakers, industry representatives from start-ups and SMEs, and/or learning journeys to places of interest.

After every REN Meetup, educators will receive a Plug-and-Play Lesson Plan which will equip them with all the materials (activities, videos and experiments) required to run a class on the topic for their own students.

If you have any enquiries about REN, you may email Elaine, our community manager of REN at

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