Innovation @ NIST

| Bangkok, Thailand Curated by NIST's Learning Innovation Coaches

Innovation Spotlight: Computer Science Education Week 2019

Students have had some amazing experiences this week with computer science at many different year levels. Every year at this time, Code.org promotes Computer Science Education Week around the world in order to raise awareness about computer science. Classes from the elementary school and the secondary school have participated in a number of activities. Our hope is that with some exposure that some students will understand that they can succeed in this valuable area. Our students are learning to code both online and offline and are developing the skills needed for the future of work in 2030, such as effective communication, creative and critical thinking, problem-solving and people skills.

Try your own Hour of Code activity. Better yet, create something as a family.

Do you remember trying this out last year?

 

Loy Krathong Design Unit

This week, Year 2 celebrated Loy Krathong with some very exciting Krathongs that were designed and built by the Year 2 students. This project was a result of the Year 2 team working with Melissa Daniels of High Tech High to utilize a project tuning protocol to redesign the unit. 

The Krathongs were built in the Makerspace and were the culmination of a unit exploring materials and the design process. The objective was to create a Krathong that adhered to specific design principles. The design principles used to build the Krathong were: it must be symmetrical, it must use almost all nature-made materials, it must include decorations, it must stay together, and it must float for a long time.

The students absolutely loved this unit, and they learned a lot about the design process, properties of materials, and the cultural significance of Loy Krathong. The students also loved learning and making in the Makerspace. Great job, Year 2 students!

Learning Culture Through Music

One of the best ways to learn is by getting hands-on experience and by learning from the experts, which is especially true in the world of music. The Year 10 Music class has recently learned about four different kinds of world music through a series of workshops led by their teachers and by guest presenters, including Khru Joe Watcharachotewisit and Mr. Josh Green. Khru Joe is a teaching assistant in Year 6 but is also an expert in Thai classical music.

In addition to leading the Music Academy, Mr. Josh has years of experience in teaching the percussion patterns from Latin American dance music. By learning through workshops, students were able to play the instruments from these styles of music while finding out about the patterns that are common to these styles. This project is a perfect example of leveraging the expertise in our community is another way we provide robust, inspiring, and innovative learning experiences for our students.

Student-Run Coding ECA’s

“Learning to write programs stretches your mind, helps you think better and creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.”
– Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft)

It is with pride that we can say students themselves have taken the lead to engage and dispense their knowledge in a range of student-run coding ECA’s. The activities are Learning to Code with Java led by Year 12 student Sid Charaschanya and Machine Learning with Python led by Jason Yeon and Ken Ngampraserthsith also of Year 12. The ECA’s have garnered the interest of students and a few members of faculty and have a promising future for students learning from each other and extending their understanding of a variety of concepts. If students are interested in being a part of these innovative topics and approaches to education, they can find the Java-based ECA every Wednesday at 3:40pm in room 4502 and the Python-based ECA every Thursday at 3:40pm in room 4502.

Harvesting Food: A new focus in Y7 Action Week

Year 7 recently returned from their Action Week trip to Farm de Lek and Wangree Resort, just outside Khao Yai National Park. One of the innovations to this trip was the introduction of farming and gardening activities at both locations.

At Farm de Lek, students learned about raising fish, recycling plastic, feeding farm animals, planting vegetables, and harvesting ornamental flowers and herbs. For many, this was the first time that they had experienced interacting with the soil, plants, and animals in such a fashion.

Equally challenging was gardening at the Wangree Resort. The main focus was on the use of waste to regenerate the soil through composting. Part of the activity involved the students turning over the compost to let out the heat which can reach temperatures of 90℃.

These activities were introduced this year to help students get a real sense of how our food is grown and harvested. A secondary, but equally important, goal of this introduction to raising plants and animals was to raise awareness of the gardening opportunities at NIST. The Rooftop Garden, on the roof of the Secondary building, is supervised this year by teachers Shompooh Surakanjanachat, Matthew Upham, Nathan Armstrong, Debra von Bargen, and Justin West, and is always looking to encourage students to help in maintaining the garden.

For more photos of the trip, please click on the following link: Year 7 Action Week 2019

 

Virtual Reality at NIST

Welcome to the good old days of Virtual Reality (Michael Abrash, Facebook’s top VR researcher, Oculus Connect 6, Sept 2019). VR technologies are in the midst of a period of rapid growth and expansion across many industries, but we are still very much in the early days of VR development. This is an ideal time for NIST students to be entering this field where the growth of VR technologies is predicted to expand at exponential rates driven by heavy investments and rapid growth in consumer devices (Statista, 2019). Industries such as gaming, automotive, transport, manufacturing, film, animation, cinematics, architecture, engineering, & construction are incorporating VR strategies into new ways of training staff, creating, prototyping, imagining and play. 

VR technologies, therefore, offer infinite independent pathways for NIST students.

NIST has recently purchased an HTC Vive VR headset to test out some of these possibilities. Our aim is to: 

  1. Learn the technology, 
  2. Explore available content, 
  3. Play with content creation (read more here)

Since the beginning of this school year, students & teachers from across the school have had the opportunity to explore VR. For some, this has been their first experience of VR while for others this has been an opportunity to extend their understandings. We have been playing with Beat Saber, painting in TiltBrush, designing in 3D with Gravity Sketch, experiencing 3D storytelling, testing our VR games in Rec Room, watching 360 videos in Within, building professional networks in AltSpaceVR and walking the world with Google Earth Street View. Most exciting has been students developing their own 3D worlds using Roblox Studio which they are then able to enter and experience with the Vive headset.

If you have VR experience and knowledge to offer or if you would like to test out the possibilities of VR yourself, please contact Philip Williams in the MLC elementary library at pwilliams@nist.ac.th

 

The Maker of the MakerSpace: Khun Siew

This week we’d like to celebrate one of our longest serving NIST employees who just so happens to work in one of the most well-liked spaces in the school, the elementary MakerSpace! Khun Siew has worked at NIST since 1996. In this time she has been the secretary to the Head of Primary, and an academic assistant for EY 1, EY 2, Y1, Y4, and Y6. As the elementary MakerSpace began to take shape, grew in popularity, and saw consistent and regular use, we saw a need for a full-time staff member. Khun Siew was tapped to fill this role. As soon as Khun Siew started in the MakerSpace, she brought a new level of organization and experimentalism. Khun Siew keeps the MakerSpace fully stocked with the various materials and is very resourceful in utilizing a variety of sources to find relevant materials. As a result, the Makerspace affords teachers the time and space to explore innovative hands-on learning experiences with their students. 

When asked what she likes most about working in the Makersace Khun Siew said:

“I love crafting and making things, so to be able to help guide and support students with their creations is fun and rewarding.”

NIST’s Visual Storyteller

In a community as large and vibrant as that found at NIST, there are often many events and activities running simultaneously that it is difficult to take it all in. To assist us all to get a better understanding of the breadth and depth of our community, NIST created the position of Visual Storyteller to help capture some of what makes NIST unique. The position is an innovative way for the NIST community to share its many stories in video form.

May Thatun – NIST’s new Digital Storyteller

NIST’s Visual Storyteller is May (Su Lay May) Thatun. Originally from Myanmar, May went to elementary school at Ruamrudee International School (her mom was a teacher there), then went to Melbourne and East Malaysia to finish off her secondary education. May has a degree in Communication Arts and has been particularly interested in film making. After earning her degree from Stamford, she did an internship at The Home BKK on Soi 23. The Home hosts events that focus on food, sustainability, art and design and sound. May was responsible for capturing the events on video at this space.

 

May’s inspiration to take on this position is her love for storytelling. When she was younger, she always liked to write stories and poems. She graduated into writing songs as she learned to play the guitar. Then, after she got a camera, she started created videos. May prefers video because it includes both the audio and visual elements in the storytelling process. 

 

To see some of May’s work (Buddy Time, Fuga’s Gymnastics Story, Introducing our Year 5 Story and more), take a look at the NIST Facebook Page.

Devices for Learning – MacBook Refresh

During the month of August NIST has distributed nearly 800 new MacBook Airs to students as we refreshed our MacBooks. The new machines are smaller yet have great battery life. We hope the students enjoy the enhanced display, audio, and TouchID security. More important than new machines is the reason that we use them. NIST teachers and students use technology as a tool to enhance and deepen their learning. We wanted to take this opportunity to remind our community of this vision. We feel that it is also a great time to point to a few resources which we have to help parents understand more about our laptop provision. Click this link to view Devices for Learning – Frequently Asked Questions.

The Year 5 Learning Community

This year, Year 5 students are excited to be working in a more flexible learning environment called the Year 5 Learning Community. The Year 5 teachers began preparing well before this school year to create the conditions for success. The learning space was designed by educational architectural firm Fielding Nair with input from NIST teachers to allow for more collaborative flow between students and teachers. The purpose of the Year 5 Learning Community is not only to offer students a more flexible learning space but also to offer more flexibility with time and learning contexts. In the Learning Community, students will have longer periods of uninterrupted time to engage with their inquiries—thus encouraging a state of learning flow. 

Learning in the Year 5 Learning Community will be based on authentic inquiries where students collaboratively explore transdisciplinary concepts through the NIST curriculum. It will also provide opportunities for students to personalize where, how and through what lenses they engage with NIST’s learning outcomes. The learning pathways students choose will be reflective of their passions, interests and goals in skill development. The Learning Community space will strive to offer learning experiences that align with the school’s vision: NIST will provide individualized and authentic learning pathways for students to flourish and positively impact others.

In a future where global citizens and workers will need to be more self-directed, goal-oriented problem-solvers, the Year 5 Learning Community will seek to give students an opportunity to practice the skills, attitudes and dispositions to be agile and resilient learners who can lead change in a rapidly evolving world.

 

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