Innovation @ NIST

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

Y2 Musical Makerspace

Our fabulous Year 2 students recently completed their How the World Works unit where they explored the central idea of “understanding the properties of materials allows people to design and create”. Through the conceptual lens of form, function, and change the students inquired into the properties of materials and how they behave, how we can manipulate, change, and combine materials, and how we use our understanding of materials to design and create.

The Year 2 team thought this would be a perfect chance to partner with Ms. Stephanie, the music teacher on a musical instrument building project. The students were able to take the knowledge and skills they were learning in both their homeroom and music class, and combine them to design and build a musical instrument! As you can imagine this was no small feat!

The students first spent time engaging in activities that helped them develop the skills necessary to build a musical instrument. The students also spent time learning and applying the design cycle, which they will continue to develop throughout their IB educational journey. After a couple of weeks of skill building, the students were ready to design and build their instruments! The students were able to utilize the newly acquired design cycle resources and protocols to help them in this process. As the students began to build, they helped each other to improve their instruments by giving feedback, sharing insights, and communicating their new learning. In the end, the students designed and built some seriously impressive instruments… from scratch!


Year 5 Maths Week

Year 5 students recently embarked on a transdisciplinary project where their schedule was flattened for a week. The learning engagements were designed by students and teachers to help students see the connection of maths in real life and between disciplines through authentic maths experiences. The experiences helped build confidence and mathematical identity, as well as promote positive mindsets in all students as mathematicians. They provided students with long, uninterrupted periods of time to go deep with their learning and follow an interest through a maths lens. These “deep dives” helped instill a more significant curiosity and love for maths.

Students participated in a range of inquiries centered around mathematical concepts found in measurement, shape, space, data handling, as well as pattern & function. Projects such as ‘Collect Data, Change the World,’ ‘Amazing Race,’ ‘Art Attack,’ ‘Codebreaking and Cryptology’ and ‘Roblox Game Design’ were offered to Year 5 students. The learning experiences focused on developing skills in self-management, as well as thinking skills, social skills, communication skills, and research skills. The experiences opened students eyes to maths in the real world and had a lot of fun along the way.

Check out the learning from Year 5 Maths Week on Twitter @Y5NIST with the #Y5MathsWeek hashtag.



Innovation Spotlight: Across Asia Youth Film Festival Winners: Getting Creative with Animation

Last Saturday a team of Year 8 NIST Students (Pera Kasemsripitak, Will Sirilert, and Stanley Holewa) attended the Across Asia Youth Film Festival (AAYFF) at the International School of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. The students were attending because their short film, Disappearance, had been short listed and then awarded best animation at the festival. As you watch the film you will see a number of very clever special effects that warranted the award.

Apart from winning the award, the students enjoyed the Festival and the accompanying workshops. The main highlights were a session on creating stories and, of course, the final gala where they viewed all the nominated films with over 350 guests in attendance.

NIST has a number of great filmmakers with the quality and innovation improving every year. Opportunities to continue that improvement are also growing with the IB Diploma Film class in its second year and the addition of youth film festivals. To see the work done by the people in our community be sure to attend the second annual NIST Film Festival on June 4th, from 4 to 5:30pm in the Tantipipatpong Theatre, 4th Floor Creative Arts Building (CAB).



Innovation Spotlight: Y9 Electives

From Automatas to Reading/Writing Enthusiasts and all manner of topics in between, the Year 9 students have just completed their first session of Electives! And the students are loving it!


Seeing the need for student agency within their students’ schedules, the Year 9 advisors explored options that would allow students to participate in elective sessions according to their passions. After much brainstorming, Y9 Electives were started period D2 and occur once per rotation for semester two. This new endeavor was so enticing that five teachers volunteered to teach an elective in addition to the six Y9 advisory teachers, allowing students even more choice. Moreover, students were able to select two different electives for the sessions, giving opportunities to try something new as well as focus on something they really enjoy.  


Electives are: 

  • Automatas
  • Basketball
  • Board Games
  • Bullet Journals & Jigsaw Puzzles
  • Challenge Workshop
  • Coding, Cooking
  • Interactive Fiction
  • Intro to Dungeons & Dragons
  • Mandalas and Meditation
  • Reading/Writing Enthusiasts





Innovation Spotlight: Y8 World Religions Field Trip

Year 8 is embarking on a World Religions Unit in Individuals and Societies. As a way to experience a range of religions, develop inquiry questions for the rest of the unit and learn from experts first hand, the students went on a walking tour discovering places of worship in the Sathorn and Silom area.


Students were lucky enough to be welcomed as guests in churches, mosques, cathedrals, as well as Buddhist, Tao, Hindu and Jain temples, with some sites like Wat Prok containing numerous religions in the one location.


It was an eye opening experience for all involved, which allowed us to broaden our understanding and, as a result, develop a more open minded approach to the world. This is just one of the many examples of highly authentic, innovative learning experiences our students at NIST have the opportunity to be involved in.


Innovation Spotlight: Ancient River Civilization Simulation Game

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.


Innovation Spotlight: March Media Mentor Month

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”.

Innovation Spotlight: Going Deeper With The Global Citizenship Diploma

NIST has been supporting students in their desire to complete the Global Citizen Diploma (GCD) since 2015. Recently, however, there has been a push to have a greater number students participate because, we believe, the benefits of going through the process are meant for all. What are those benefits? Well, the main advantage is that students develop the very useful skill of metacognition (awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes ie: thinking about your thinking). Being aware of what you think is an incredibly powerful skill, and it is not always easy to do. To help their peers ‘dive deeper’ into their understanding, the Student Steering Committee of the GCD developed the Metacognition Framework (shown below):

As the text in the middle indicates, it is all about developing new understanding. Most do this by describing an experience, making a connection, comparing it to other experiences, and then exploring other possibilities. Although the process just described is the norm, a student could start from corner of the framework and then link to the other three.

This might sound abstract, and perhaps it is, but it also challenges students to develop another key benefit of completing a GCD post; creating a narrative. It is the story behind the thinking that really brings about a true understanding of one’s thinking…and makes the reading of the posts that much more engaging. Luke, in Y11, wrote about his growth in an Intercultural Communication post that focused on his experience working in his grandparents’ ramen noodle shop in Japan. In his post he shows the significance of how language shapes how he interacted with customers. Anna, also in Y11, spoke frankly about her international education in a Global Understanding post. A self-proclaimed ‘Surfer of the Continents’, she has noted subtle but significant differences in cultures like the understanding of food sharing at the dining table in Asia versus the individual portions found in North America. Hana, in Y10, explored how her switch from gymnastics to dance has really helped her to find happiness in her Wellness post.

If you read one, or all three, of the posts you will get a true sense of what the GCD is all about. These students, and others, have delved deeper into what they have done and have truly grown from awareness of their thinking. That awareness gives them a better sense of self which, in turn, should serve them well in future pursuits, academic or otherwise.

Innovation Spotlight: Battle In Bangkok

On 2 February, 73 robotics students from around Bangkok and overseas gathered together in the Pongpanit Centre to battle for bragging rights and invitational spots at the 2019 VEX Robotics World Championships. Teams from International School Bangkok, NIST International School, Ruamrudee International School, Thai-Chinese International School, and Robo Buddy in Indonesia worked for months to design, build, test, and strategize in order to prepare to compete in this one day tournament.

Tasks for this year’s game, Turning Point, included launching balls at flags, flipping caps, lifting caps onto posts, and parking on raised platforms; it is quite challenging! More than just winning the games, the teams learn engineering skills and the importance of collaboration towards a common goal.

One of the NIST teams has been invited to participate in the world competition in April, where they can test their skills against the best in the world. We wish them the best of luck at the competition.