Rapid Prototyping: Making as a Thinking Process

Social Innovation Design Education


The disparity between the rich and the poor has a significant impact on society and has been a great discussion issue for secondary school students. How could we help them to put their feet into others’ shoes and raise their awareness? From October 2020 to May 2021, JCDISI and Toi Shan Association College hold workshops for students of Liberal Studies to enhance their learning on Globalization and analysis on different stakeholders. By making interactive installations and holding immersive exhibitions, students had a better understanding of the wealth gap.



Students sorted the keywords about the wealth gap and figure out the relationship between different social phenomena and them. They visualized their thinking process and found out the root of these issues. World Vision Hong Kong is also invited to share the conditions in different countries and students could have a better picture of the difference between Hong Kong and other places.


By designing posters through putting different images together, students expressed their views on the wealth gap. They extracted the key ideas from the posters and drew mind maps. They put their heads together and came out with tentative ideas for the installations.  


After the students had figured out the key concepts of the installation, they started to create rapid prototyping. Students were divided into groups and each group needed to create an installation by using different materials, like wood, fabric and cardboard. They are gathered to form an immersive exhibition, where other students can learn more about the disparity between the rich and the poor.

Rapid Prototyping

“Solution suggestion” is not uncommon in traditional teaching. However, they are always “said than done”. For instance, students are always required to write proposals and do presentations. They have been well-trained for linear logical thinking.


However, we believe that if we have to enhance students’ creativity and problem-solving skills, we need to encourage them to think in different dimensions. Making the installation on their own inspires them to think out of the box.

Prototyping is very common in designing and it showcases the concepts concretely. It is considered an in-depth learning process, but not only executing the ideas. These are clearly illustrated in Toi Shan Association College’s workshops. With vague ideas about the wealth gap, students created rapid prototyping by using the simplest methods and materials and tried to showcase their concepts in the immersive exhibition with the installations.


For instance, one of the groups wished to illustrate the issue of intergeneration poverty and they used minimal materials like cardboard to make spiral stairs. The endless frustration and hopelessness are vividly demonstrated. A mini-model was made and other students could actually put their steps on the stairs.

For students, “rapid prototyping” allowed them to explore and comprehend the deep meaning of different materials and issues. For example, students were encouraged to brainstorm freely on the issue. This process may seem to be random and aimless, however, it gave room for imagination, and students are inspired to explore different perspectives.


Moreover, echoing social issues by making models in classes allow students to explore the context behind them and thus enrich their learning. In this case, when the students express their thoughts through the installations, their understandings are not limited to data and one-sided information. They started to develop their perspectives, including the relations between different stakeholders, and the underprivileged groups’ living circumstances.


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