Today’s Choices Create Tomorrow’s Results
Digital Innovation at ISB
Looking back on the last year at International School Bangkok (ISB), we are so proud of the spirit of innovation, technology, and the tools we have invested in enabling us to adapt. Today’s world is fast-changing and increasingly reliant on technology. We recognize this to be a crucial part of preparing our students for lifelong learning and helping them develop creativity and adaptability.
We teach our students technology and digital innovation through the ISB Design Cycle. Students use this Design Cycle to produce and share solutions to opportunities, challenges, or problems that matter and connect to our curricula goals. They learn to critique and evaluate the ideas and work of themselves and others, exploring human, cultural, and societal issues related to design opportunities and solutions. We believe that design is the first signal of human intention and permeates every aspect of what we do. Design involves mindsets and methods that ask learners to look holistically at their world.
ISB develops a design mindset in our learners that embraces empathy as the starting point. By developing empathy, we improve our relationships, enhance our creativity, rethink our priorities in life, and tackle social problems from everyday prejudice to violent conflicts. We help develop thinkers who want to make the world a better place for both the community and the environment.
Design is as much about your head as your hands. At ISB, we build these mindsets through the methods of Design Thinking. Design Thinking is a wholly collaborative and iterative process in which diverse teams work together to identify, choose, research, design, and fabricate sustainable solutions to real-world problems in communities. At the heart of Design Thinking is learning through failure, extensive trialing, and constant evaluation, which builds perseverance and self-efficacy. It is the belief that you can and will come up with creative solutions to big problems and the confidence that all it takes is rolling up your sleeves and diving in. Armed with the mindsets and methods of Design Thinking, students are able to identify situations where they can better the world — and have the personal and collaborative tools and resolve to take action.
Beyond the mindsets we arm our students with, we also provide them with a wide array of technological tools they can learn to use. Here are just a few of the tools and technologies our students have at their disposal:
Curriculum & Experiential Learning
Our curriculum is multi-faceted, rooted in ongoing educational research and global best practice. It is driven by the broader goals of our school to include ISB’s Vision and Mission, Definition of Learning, Attributes, and Values. We define the learning that takes place at ISB as meaningful and transferable, where understanding is constructed by developing and applying knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
A fantastic example of this transferable and experiential learning is a project in our Elementary School that combines elements of math, art, and coding all into one project. The Tile Project begins with design thinking and Digital Fabrication or CAD design. Mark Marshall, our Innovation & Learning Coach, explains, “Digital Fabrication or CAD design is a new kind of emerging technology that’s now been introduced to the school. It’s a very important skill. Basically, it’s computer-aided design where students will create a 3D design on an iPad or a laptop, and they take that design and then produce a physical artifact which can be a 3D printer or a laser printer. Fostering opportunities to see the connections between math and coding was very exciting.”
Students were able to get their creative juices flowing while using technology like the 3D printers and Laser printers in our Gerritz Invention Center to bring their creations to life. One elated Elementary student said, “You got to create whatever you wanted to, and nobody was telling you what to do, and you could just make whatever you want.”
After designing and creating their heart’s desire, students then have to collaborate and calculate solutions. Andrea Dawson, a Grade 4 teacher, said, “This grew into a transfer task for math, in which they collaborated with other students, were calculating, showing strategies and models to be able to come up with a solution. Whenever students have opportunities to collaborate with each other, it brings a lot of joy in the learning within the classroom, and there’s a lot of excitement around the actual doing and having that ownership of the project and that space.”
Last but not least, students got to decorate their creations in our art spaces. “Everything that we do in the art room can be connected to what they’re doing elsewhere in their worlds, and that’s why it’s such an important subject in schools. And so this is a perfect example of it, and the more opportunity we can have to make those connections with other subject areas is wonderful. And seeing the students be working in this mathematical context and then coming down here and applying it to this creative context, it’s all interwoven. It’s such a simple act, but they loved it! It was a WOW factor, drawing a ‘Oh my gosh! This looks so good!’” from Kylie Harter, Elementary Art teacher.
At ISB, we encourage our students to inquire, investigate and apply their learning not just in their everyday curriculum but through a plethora of platforms. We offer various clubs, K-12 after-school activities, and community workshops in addition to several electives as part of our Middle and High School curriculum in the Gerritz Invention Center.
Adaptability & Innovation Key to the Future
The skills our learners develop through our programs, through Design Thinking, experiential learning, and our Design Cycle will serve them well through a variety of situations in their future by teaching them to assertively apply their understanding through creative experimentation. At ISB, we know that what we choose to invest in today will yield tomorrow’s results. In a world where the only constant seems to be change. We remain committed as ever to adapt, change, and innovate for the sake of our students. It’s this commitment that has made us Thailand’s Premier International School for the last 70 years.