In a recent Year 9 Individuals and Societies (Humanities) unit, students were given a fictional job and had to plan out a monthly budget for themselves. Each student had a different amount of income each month. Some jobs included fitness instructor, game designer, construction worker, janitor, etc. A full range of professionals and as you can imagine, some professions were not paid very well while others had a more generous income.
For the monthly budget, students had to decide on 10 wants and 10 needs. They had to research the prices of their wants and needs and budget accordingly. A part of this included primary research in the form of interviewing various adults to find out more about how they budget their lives.
Students created fictional social media accounts to document their life and the experiences they were a part of. This also allowed them to interact with other students that were also a part of the “Game Of Life”. Players were also able to provide loans and receive donations from each other.
During this unit, we each experienced a life changing event such as adopting an exotic pet (which costs more), a promotion (which provided extra income), an illnesses or injuries (which could be costly if the players didn’t take into consideration health insurance), etc. At the end of the unit the students were able to develop a better understanding of social economics, personal budgeting and personal responsibility through an innovative and engaging game based learning approach.
A few years ago, NIST was looking to harmonize its online presence in social media with a simple and memorable hashtag (#). Other schools and groups had success like #SASrocks (Singapore American School) and #EDchat (teachers’ educational forum), and NIST wanted to do the same. After consulting with Kim Cofino, an international learning coach based her in Bangkok, about using social media to promote the type of learning NIST aspires to, a remarkably easy and suitable hashtag was born; #NISTis (full credit goes to Philip Williams, our Elementary Librarian, for coming up with the agreed upon suggestion). Many like this hashtag because it works in a sentence (ex. #NISTis learning about climate change), but often overlooked is how it really is NIST International School in shorthand as well. Brilliant.
Even if you don’t have a Twitter account, you can see most of what is happening at our wonderful school by searching for #NISTis (or clicking this link) and every instance where that hashtag is used should appear. What is particularly nice about exploring the hashtag is that it gives insight to events on and off campus, inside and outside the classroom, and from the perspectives of many in our community. Examples include updates from tournaments, backstage pics from drama performances, implementation of new programs in classrooms, and references to teacher learning during professional development. The beauty of having a hashtag such as #NISTis is that anyone in our community can contribute. So go out and share the great learning and experiences that we as as a community are having by posting with the #NISTis hashtag.