“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.
This month, Mr. Cristóbal González took his Year 7 Spanish class on a tour of Madrid, without leaving the comfort of his own classroom, through the use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Google Cardboard. The students were learning Spanish vocabulary around cities and directions, so the tour was perfect to immerse them in this language and put it all in context.
The tour showed the students many famous sights in Madrid, with an oral tour in Spanish, so the students could look around and listen to an explanation of these famous places. Many students were standing up, looking around the city, commenting on the different landmarks and helping each other find the interesting features of the tour. As you can imagine, this was an extremely memorable learning experience for the students and another example of how our teachers at NIST are innovating the learning in their classroom.
With the student population taking such a strong interest in games and gaming, teachers seem to be taking this interest and gamify their learning in order to engage and inspire their students. A recent example is a year seven Individuals and Societies unit on ancient civilisations.
Mr. Nathan Armstrong (a year seven learning support teacher and a board game enthusiast) made the students a bespoked board game to help them understand the factors that can impact a civilisation and help them flourishing. In the game, a class of students are broken up into tribes and assigned roles such as craftsman, farmer, hunter, merchant and so on. The students must collect resources (grain, meat, seeds, wood, tools, etc.) and use them in ways to help their civilisation thrive.
The students not only learn about the concepts of natural resources, the importance of a water supply and the different places ancient civilisations existed, but they also learned collaboration, leadership and problem solving skills which they can transfer to other aspects of their life and learning. Innovative experiences like this are just some ways the students at NIST have the opportunity to learn and grow, thanks to our outstanding educators.
In our ongoing effort to support healthy media use, this month we are celebrating Media Mentor Month! Media Mentor Month is an idea developed by educator Keri-Lee Beasley, the director of digital learning at GEMS World Academy Switzerland. The Media Mentor Month initiative helps bring focus to the digital and media literacy circumstances facing families today. It’s a great way to engage the whole family in proactive and productive conversations around media use in your home.
From Keri-Lee’s blog:
What is it?
Media Mentor Month is an initiative to help parents develop a positive relationship with their children around digital technologies. Just as we want to be mentors for our children in reading or having a healthy lifestyle, we also want to mentor them in their digital world too (see more details about being a Media Mentor here). The trouble is, sometimes we don’t know exactly how to go about that. Media Mentor Month provides parents with some ideas and strategies to help foster and develop that relationship.
Who is it for?
Anyone, really, but probably best suited to parents who are looking for direction to connect with their children around technology. Especially the ones who feel they only ever battle with their kids about being on screens too much (see more about that here).
When is it happening?
Ideally, March, so we’re all on the same page. Realistically? Any time that fits into your family schedule.
What do I need to do?
You can participate as much or as little as you like. Personally, I would love to see you share some photos of your family engaging in the challenges. Make sure to add the hashtag #MediaMentorMonth so we can follow your progress
You can find this on Keri-Lee’s blog “Tip of the Iceberg”.