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Empathy in design and digitalisation – Aalto University researchers hold workshops for students at Arabia Comprehensive School

Paula Valkonen (left) and Kaisa Savolainen (right) from Aalto University and Liisa Luostarinen from the Arabia Comprehensive School shuffling through the workshop presentations. Image: Anna Pulkkinen

Researchers from Aalto University and teachers from Arabia Comprehensive School collaborated to organize service design workshops for seventh graders. The workshops aimed to teach design thinking skills and encourage students to create digital health and wellness services that prioritize the needs of end-users. Through activities like creating cartoons and videos, students demonstrated their ability to empathize with users and propose human-centric alternatives. Design thinking is integrated into the school's curriculum, emphasizing design education throughout a student's journey. The researchers were impressed by the students' creativity and collaboration, and the success of the workshops has sparked ideas for future events. The workshops were based on a concept initially developed for the Shaking up Tech event, which aims to promote diversity in technology education and careers.