Vinh Truong, a final-year student of Product Design at TU Dublin, has made the final of the Student Entrepreneur Awards – an Enterprise Ireland initiative which aims to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among students.
Vinh was shortlisted for his product Enso which he developed during his final year of studying Product Design at TU Dublin when he discovered that play during early childhood is necessary if humans are to reach their full potential. This discovery led to more research during which Vinh identified a problem with Ireland’s current education system. He says beneficial methods of learning in the developmental stages of a child have been stunted due to the current teaching methods and curriculum regime. Play can provide young learners with the ability to use and analyse knowledge in a new and creative way as well as learning to investigate issues, to explore, to think for themselves and to be creative in solving problems and applying their learning to new situations.
Over several months of conceptualisation, user-testing and co-creating, Vinh developed the final product – Enso. Speaking about the product, Vinh Truong, said: “Enso is a toolkit that combines 3D printing education with guided play lessons for, but not limited to, children aged between eight to twelve-years-old. This toolkit provides fully 3D printed nuts and bolts, tools with alternating tool bits and a clear canvas that will operate alongside current materials that are available within a classroom."
Continuing Vinh said, “The toolkit allows children to create experiences by engaging in three design thinking tasks with their peers enhancing their 21st-century skills and preparing them for the changing nature of the workplace and the future. Along with the physical product, a service aspect was explored for educators, providing them with online resources to facilitate this playful pedagogy successfully. As well as, the ability to share their personal lesson plans, creating an encouraging and supportive community that strives to improve the curriculum while preparing their students to be problem solvers of tomorrow.”
Dr Colm O'Kane, who supervised Vinh's project and is also chair of TU Dublin's Product Design programme, said: "Enso promises to be a stimulating intervention for fostering playful pedagogy in early childhood. We are delighted with Vinh's progress in the competition. His success is testament to Vinh's talent as an emerging designer, and to the commitment, he has shown to the programme throughout his time in TU Dublin and this project in particular. We look forward to Vinh's presentation at the upcoming national final."
Graduates of TU Dublin's B.Sc. (Hons) Product Design programme are equipped with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to oversee the complete development cycle of a product. The programme takes a holistic approach to Product Design education. It is a partnership between the School of Mechanical and Design Engineering, the School of Creative Arts and the College of Business in TU Dublin. This enables a graduate to innovate and develop new products in today’s demanding interdisciplinary design fields.
The winner of this year's Student Entrepreneur Awards will be announced on Friday, 12 June.