Hakusanroku Journal 白山麓ジャーナル

August 23, 2018 ICT Summer School 2018

Hello, this is Jonathan the camera guy. This week ICT held its annual Summer School at Hakusanroku campus. The ICT Summer School is a program where junior high school students can come and see what it is like to study at ICT. The program was three days long, starting on August 20th. Twenty-five junior high school students from grades seven to nine came to experience design thinking and prototyping while staying at the dormitory in Hakusanroku campus.

Group photo at river near Chugu Exhibition Center

Design thinking and prototyping are an essential part of Engineering Design, ICT's core subject. In the Engineering Design course, students learn not only engineering skills to improve existing technology (1 to 2), but also to design new ideas (0 to 1). Design thinking is the method used to create these new ideas and prototyping is the hands-on process of testing them.

Maesa sensei explaining about the program


The first day began with introductions. Then, students were divided into groups of three or four. Each group was assigned one or two current ICT student as an assistant. These assistant students acted as mentors for the junior high school students. They were a huge help throughout the program because they are familiar with the design thinking process and looked after the junior high school students. Later, students participated in a scavenger hunt as an ice breaking activity. They were given a list of hints (in English) that described various places in the Hakusanroku campus. This was a fun activity that also displayed the leadership and knowledge of each assistant student.

ICT students were very helpful during the program

After the ice breaking activity, the theme of the program was finally announced. "How can we redesign our evening routine?" Each group was given the task to come up with an idea to enhance or improve their routine between returning home and going to bed. They would create a prototype and presentation to go with it. First, students began the visualization process of design thinking. Before designing a solution, the problem must clear. Students each drew a diagram of their flow before going to bed, describing their high and low moments. Then, they interviewed each other to further understand points that have room for improvement or enhancement. I use the words "improvement or enhancement" because the objective of problem solving is not only improving negatives, but also further enhancing positive experiences. This point was made clear by the facilitating teachers.

Students interviewing each other about their highs and lows

After dinner, students began the idea generation process. First, they wrote the points they discovered during the interview on post notes. Then, they clustered and broke down the targets they wished to enhance or improve. After deciding their target, they created a "need statement". A need statement is a sentence such as "I need to make a good environment for watching YouTube", "I need to get entertainment in my bath time", or "I need a way to enjoy doing my homework" that is the working point for creating ideas. Finally, they began the brainstorming process to come up with their solution.

Students brainstorming


Day two began with a warmup activity by Ryan sensei. After the warm up, students spent the first part of the morning narrowing down their final idea and beginning the prototyping process. Prototyping is the process of creating something to "show" an idea instead of telling about it. It can be a miniature, a drawing, a video, or even a skit. Each group discussed what and how they wanted to display their idea.

Prototypes "show" not "tell"

In the second part of the morning, participants moved to the maker studio to experience programming with LEGO blocks. Students were given instructions to program a LEGO car to move exactly 50 centimeters. They had to calculate how many times they wished the wheel to turn and program it as so. This activity gave participants a brief glance at various fields that were necessary for engineering and the things you can do with them. Many students later told me that they enjoyed this part of the program the most. Some of them even returned to tinker with them after hours.

Students building their LEGO car

After lunch, we took a bus to visit the Hakusan Wildlife Chugu Exhibition Center. This is a hub for experiencing Mt. Hakusan's nature. We viewed a video about Mt. Hakusan's four seasons, took a short hike into the mountains, and played at a nearby river. The Hakusanroku campus is located in an area of rich wildlife and participants had a chance to experience this beautiful nature. They discovered rare insects during the hike and enjoyed swimming and playing in the cool water of the river.

This park is only 20 minutes away from ICT

After returning to ICT, the students resumed their work on prototyping. The program is only three days long so they had to prepare their prototype and presentation by the next day. This was good practice for working with limited resources. Each group struggled to navigate what they wished to accomplish within the given time. Many groups created models using the 3D printers and drew illustrations on their presentation posters. After dinner they worked late into the night.

Students waiting for their 3D printer


Day 3 was the final day of the program. Each group rushed to finish their poster and practice their presentation. The presentation is in English and many students brought their script to me for grammar checks. They were keen to create the best presentation they could and worked vigorously until the last moment. I believe their motivation came because it was their idea and they were proud of it. Also, a project is much more interesting if it associates with you.

Putting the finishing touches on posters

The presentations began at 9:30. Each group was given four minutes to present their idea to the audience. I will post videos below. Most of the students are not native English speakers and you can tell many of the younger students practiced their part hard. After the presentations, there was a poster session. Viewers could walk around to look at the posters and prototypes, and ask questions.

Student explaining his group's project to parents and teachers

After the certificate award ceremony, students departed from the Hakusanroku campus to take a short visit to the Kanazawa campus before departing from Kanazawa station. We ate lunch in the Kanazawa Institute of Technology (KIT) cafeteria and took a campus tour. The program had been a tight schedule and the students seemed relieved and happy from their accomplishment. I asked some of them if they were happy to return home. Many of the younger students answered yes but that they looked forward to participating in the program next year. Other older students answered that they were seriously considering applying for next year and I am looking forward to seeing them in April 2019.

All you can eat at KIT cafeteria

I believe the program was a good example of what it is like to study at ICT. In three short days, participants experienced a concentrated version of Engineering Design, the life of living in the dormitories, receiving education in English, and the overall atmosphere of the ICT community. ICT has a lot to offer depending whether you are interested in English, engineering, or both. I love this school for its enthusiastic students and faculty and look forward to seeing whom it sung to next spring.


2018年8月23日 ICTサマースクール2018






夕食のあと、アイデア創出に取り掛かりました。まず、インタビューで発見したことを書きだし、改善の余地があるものをまとめました。ターゲットを絞ったあとはNeed statementを作りました。Need statementは「Youtubeを見る環境を改善しなければならない」「お風呂の時間にもっと楽しみが要る」「宿題をする時間を楽しむ方法が必要だ」のように、「~が必要(need)である」がある、アイデア創出の起点となる文章です。最後に、解決案を考え出すブレインストーミングを行いました。













HOMECampus LifeHakusanroku JournalAugust 23, 2018 ICT Summer School 2018