Hakusanroku Journal 白山麓ジャーナル: 2018年7月の記事

July 26, 2018 JOES Summer Workshop

From July 22 to 25, International College of Technology (ICT) hosted the JOES Summer Workshop at Hakusanroku campus. JOES (Japan Overseas Education Services) is an organization that facilitates education for Japanese students who have studied oversea. This year, their summer workshop was designed and carried out by ICT. Thirty-two students from fifth- to ninth-grade gathered at Hakusanroku campus for a four-day workshop to learn design thinking and enhance their English ability. There was also a Vietnamese program going on and the two groups sometimes joined for combined activities.

Picture taken at River at Chugu Exhibition Center

The theme of the workshop (which was not disclosed to the students in advanced), was "How can children, the age of 7 -16, have a memorable Olympic and Paralympic experience?" Students' goal was to learn and use design thinking to create a presentation to promote a product or service that would help children from other countries enjoy the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Vice-President Mukai sensei greeting the students

Since the program was only four days long, ICT teachers asked the students to do some homework in advance. One was to bring a picture of a memorable experience and the other was to choose and do research on a sport played at the Olympics and Paralympics. The aim for this homework was to give students a starting point to define a "memorable" experience and to gain general knowledge about the Olympics and Paralympics.

Group photo of the teachers


The first day of the workshop was devoted mainly to sharing this information and getting to know each other. Students introduced themselves, their expectations for the workshop, their memorable picture, and the sport they researched. The two most recurring expectations were "improve my English" and "make new friends". This expectation and behavior of the students during the workshop showed that they understood the values of English and were keen to maintain and strengthen it. Next, the students were divided into teams of five to six. These were the teams they would work with for the rest of the workshop. To get to know each other Anne sensei designed a scavenger hunt. Each group was given hints that described places within the Hakusanroku campus. Participants had to search the campus to find the places and take a group photo. This activity gave them time to familiarize with their teammates and the campus.

Anne sensei explaining the scavenger hunt


On day two, the students began defining "memorable" experiences in detail and learning about design thinking. They interviewed other team's memorial experiences and categorized them into three groups: experience, relationship and location. Then, each team choose a category and began brainstorming and grouping the experiences in that category.

What is a "memorable" experience?

In the afternoon, we took a trip to the Hakusan Wildlife Chugu Exhibition Center. This center is dedicated to the display of the nature of Mt. Hakusan. There, we watched a video about Mt. Hakusan's wildlife, viewed the exhibitions in the center, and played at a nearby river. Mr. Shinichi Hiramatsu, who conducted the experience, showed the students many insects and frogs that live in the area. The reactions of the students varied from screaming and hiding behind other students to eagerly asking to touch and hold them. At the river, many students used box goggles to look into the river to find some of the wildlife on display. Many of the students caught tadpoles, fish, crabs, and frogs. The river water was cool and refreshing.

Students using the box goggles


After returning to ICT, students continued to brainstorm ideas for their project. They narrow them down to five, and finally to one. In the evening, there was another activity, a paper airplane design contest. Students were given paper and other items, and whoever made the paper airplane that flew the farthest won. This was another fun activity that students enjoyed.

Paper airplane contest


The third day was devoted to actually creating the presentation posters. Each team designed and created a poster that introduced their product or service to make a memorable experience for children. Each team created two posters. The first posters consist of the team name, target persona (person who would enjoy the product), and explanation of their focus area; and the second poster showed the details of the product or service. Each team divided its members into researching, drawing, writing, coloring, and decorating their poster.

Each group created a persona who would enjoy their product

After lunch, there was another activity. This time it was a cake design contest. Each team was given cake sponges, icing, and various decoration ingredients and competed on who could design the best cake. Afterwards, everyone voted on the cakes they liked and ate them. Everyone had a lot of delicious fun.

Tastes better when you made it yourself

After the cake contest, students returned to finishing their posters. There were teams that created extra material with PowerPoint, 3D printers, laser cutters and movie editing. The students were hardworking and teachers actually had to encourage them to take brakes because they were working too long. Some teams stayed after dinner and asked if they could come early the following day to improve their posters. By this time, they had become close friends, and entertained each other by joking and chatting as they worked.

Look at the camera!


The fourth and final day was presentation day. Many of the parents gathered to listen to the students' final results. Each team used the morning to prepare for their presentation. None of them seemed nervous, perhaps because they had confidence in what they had produced. You can view the presentations in the video below. They were well conducted, the ideas were impressive and each students spoke his or her part well. After the presentation there was a mini science fair, where visitors could walk around and ask questions. Later, everyone gathered in the cafeteria to have a final lunch together before departing from ICT.

Students explaining their project to the parents

I asked several of the students if they were happy to go home, if they would miss their new friends, and if they would like to participate in the workshop again. Many answered that they were relieved to return home but would miss everyone. Some of them guaranteed they would come back next year.

Group photo before leaving

I think the workshop was a success in gathering capable young minds to stimulate each other. Each participant was very capable at English and I understand why their parents would wish they would retain their ability. There are few places in Japan for these students to be pushed to improve their English. These individuals are scattered around Japan. They have a broad field of view and unique experience and knowledge. The workshop was conducted fully in English and the students used English to communicate. Their conversation often ranged from AI to politics and I could not help being impressed by their high intellectual. I believe the program was a great opportunity for these unique minds to gather and stimulate each other. I look forward to seeing them grow in the future.






















July 19, 2018

It's Ise from the Science and Technology department. Today I would like you to join me on a day at Hakusanroku campus.

  In the morning, we gathered to discuss details of the Engineering Design class in the afternoon. Today's class was the student's mid-term report of the prototyping process. The final presentation date is two weeks from now. We debated how to support the students during this period.

  After the meeting, I worked on a personal engineering design project of my own: improving the cleaning staff's working experience. This morning I built a bottle holder to attach to their tool cart. Currently, there is no space to put drinks or cellphones and the staff members do not want to put them with the cleaning utensils. I made the bottle holder from plywood, which I cut of using the laser cutter. The cleaning staff were extremely happy and I am considering making more for the remaining three carts.

After lunch, it was time for the Engineering Design class. The students gave presentations on their project's prototype and received advice from teachers and other students. Many of the students were nervous during the preparation time at the beginning of the class. However, everyone completed his or her presentation without any problems. There were many things students could not anticipate before actually creating the prototypes. I believe that they are beginning to understand the complexity of monozukuri.

We continued improving the prototypes based on the advice given. Each group divided its members depending on their strengths to increase efficiency.

After school, students worked on either the extracurricular activity Rube Goldberg machine (pitagora switch), or personal projects. It seems like they are living a fulfilling life at the campus. I hope students utilize the campus's facility fully to expand their monozukuri ability.

Ise Taisei






放課後には、クラブ活動のRube Goldberg machine(ピタゴラスイッチ) 製作、自主的なものづくり活動などを行い、充実したキャンパスライフを送っているようでした。このものづくりの環境を学生に最大限に活用してもらい、技術力を高めて欲しいと思います。

伊勢 大成

July 17, 2018 Visitors from USA and Malaysia

We had two groups of visitors on July 6. One was a group of KIT-Summer Program in Japanese (SPJ) students from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Rochester Institute of Technology, USA, and the other was a group of students from Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT). Eleven SPJ students and thirteen MJIIT students visited Hakusanroku campus as a part of their field trip learning about Hakusan city's "Smart Satoyama City" project. ICT teachers prepared a workshop and twelve of our students joined in the intercultural activities.

Eleven SPJ students and thirteen MJIIT students

International visitor have become common at Hakusanroku lately. However, this group was truly divers in that the all three groups spoke different main languages, Japanese, English, and Malay. The language that they are currently learning is also differed. Teachers designing the activities took this into account. In the first activity, students broke up into groups of six (two of each group) and played the "broken telephone game". In this game, students choose a sentence other than their main language and take turns whispering it to each other in a straight line. If the last student can recite the sentence correctly, it is a success and the group rotates. This was a fun icebreaking game that articulated the diversity of the group.

Students playing "broken telephone game"

In the second activity, students were divided into groups of three (one of each group), and took turns explaining their country. The catch was that they had to use the language that they were studying. Also, the listener was responsible for correcting the speakers mistakes. This was an excellent activity because participants could learn about other cultures while improving their own skill. Students teaching other students is a perfect example of active learning. Teaching other students creates a deep understanding for language in general (even if it is your main language), which is surprisingly important when learning another language.

Explaining my culture in a another language is difficult

The third activity involved a ball of newspaper. Students were encouraged to communicate in the language they were learning and take turns passing the ball. The student catching the ball had to correct the mistakes and return the ball until the sentence was perfect. This was similar to the previous activity but there were no restrictions on topic.

Students taking turns passing a newspaper ball

The final stage was simple free conversation. Nearby groups were merged together and could talk about whatever they liked with no restrictions. The whole flow of the activities was a calculated guide to this stage and worked perfectly. I saw students lively talking about their hobbies, sports, animation, video games, and generally anything. It was a very relaxed environment with young adults from all over the world just chatting together. There was nothing necessary for the teachers to do and they simply walked around sometimes joining a conversation.

Students enjoying free conversation

After the activity, the SPJ and MJIIT students returned to KIT by bus after doing a little shopping at the Michi no eki across the street. I believe the program was a success. In a few quick hours, students experienced intercultural interaction, improved their language skills and had a lot of fun. I am especially happy that there was time for students to speak freely with each other. I felt this was lacking in previous visits. Thanks for coming!









July 13, 2018

“Asslamo Alikom”, this is an Arabic greeting means peace be upon you all. I am Alaa Hussien, one of the ICT teachers. This year, I teach 2 days a week at Hakusanroku campus and 3 days at Kanazawa campus. Although, the place of Hakusanroku campus is far away from my home, I really feel happy to commute twice a week, because my hobby is driving, especially the way to Hakusanroku campus is very beautiful, surrounded by green mountains, rivers and water streams. This spiritual environment helps me to wash my brain and refresh myself, arriving my office full of energy to start a productive working day. The very beautiful green fields on both sides of the road remind me of my home town where the fields of the Egyptian cotton, the best cotton in the world with a long staple.

This semester, I teach Fundamental Mathematics with Prof. Kihara, an experienced math teacher. As an engineer, I connect many of the topics to real world applications in order to show the students how mathematics is useful for our life. Students also realized that mathematics is not a subject of memorizing some formulas to answer some worksheet questions, but it an essential knowledge to solve many daily life problems to make life easier and more comfortable

In order to foster collaboration and communication skills among students, the lesson plan is designed so that students get involved all the class time. The class topic is explained at the beginning of the class in a short period, and then the students are given the rest of class time to solve many problems, where some of the problems are related to practical applications. During this session, the students who need help are encouraged to ask and acquire knowledge. On the other hand, the students who could understand the topic and solve all the problems are encouraged to gain the skills of leadership and being responsible by helping their mates, so that all students learn and understand the topic well.

The environment in the class is a very good model of active learning, where you find a student teaches a group of his/her mates at one of the corners using a small whiteboard, a teacher explains something to some students on the main board, a group of students tries to teach another group,.., and so on. I feel proud of my students when I find one of them tries his/her best to find an easy way and simple examples to teach his/her mates and get them finally understand.

The teaching staff at Hakusanroku campus is a mixture of different backgrounds and different cultures. They are very enthusiastic to create a global educational environment. A lot of discussions and group meetings are done for exchanging ideas and suggestions to make the best use of their experience and knowledge to teach the students the way of thinking and gain different skills. I am happy to work and collaborate with them towards the mission of making the leaders of global innovation.

Alaa Hussein







July 9, 2018

Matsushita from the science and technology department here. Today, I would like to give you a brief look into our Engineering Design class. The first semester is ending; and students are working actively to finish their project.
Since the second half of this semester, students are working in groups of three. First, they discussed inconveniences and problems within their studies, everyday life, and methods of communication. Next, they designed ways to solve them.
Now, students are creating prototypes of their solution. Not only do they use paper, pens, tape and magnets to create simple prototypes, but different tools and material such as the handsaw for woodwork, 3D printer, sticker cutting, compact motherboards and sensors to realize their ideas. In addition to what they learned in the class, they are applying knowledge and skill that they have accumulated from Compute Skills, afterschool activities, and personal projects. However, this knowledge and skill is never enough. During the process, there are many mistakes and things they do not know yet. When this happens, students revise their strategy by asking teachers or learning from trial-and-error. That is the spirit of conscious prototyping.
I am very excited for the final presentation where they will display their creation/user experience.

Omihito Matsushita



July 5, 2018 Visitors from Missouri, USA

On Thursday, we had a group of visitors from the city of Columbia, Missouri USA. Hakusan and Columbia are sister cities and this group visited our Hakusanroku campus as part of their trip to Japan. The group consisted of three high school students studying Japanese and their teacher.
They ate lunch with our ICT students, viewed the Engineering Design class, and took a tour of the Hakusanroku campus. I think the first-year students have become quite comfortable interacting with visitors since they get so much practice. They have overcome the shyness; and take the opportunity to enjoy and improve their communication skills.
Currently in Engineering Design, ICT students are creating prototypes in groups. The visitors were not engineers, so the students had to explain their projects in an understandable way. It was a good exercise to practice word selection in English.
After viewing the Hakusanroku campus, the Columbia students departed to visit the Hakusan Hime Shrine and meet with their homestay families. We thank them for visiting us and wish they enjoy their experience in Japan.




June 27, 2018 Visitors from Hong Kong.

On Tuesday, we had some guests from Hong Kong. 30 students from HKCWC Fung Yiu King Memorial Secondary School visited ICT Hakusanroku Campus as a part of their school trip. Students of both schools broke up into fourteen teams to play the SDGs card game.

The SDGs (sustainable development goals) are a set of seventeen goals agreed upon by all 193 nations of the UN to make a better and sustainable world by 2030. They include goals not only focused on developing countries such as “no poverty” and “zero hunger”, but also goals targeting social needs in developed countries and the environment. The SDGs card game is designed to give the players the experience of developing the world.

In the SDGs card game, each group is given a primary goal, specific smaller goals, and money and time cards. Primary goals are general goals such as “make a lot of money” or “live a leisure life.” Specific goals are goals such as “build a highway” or “set a limit to fish taken each year.” They require money and time to complete and reward a different amount of money and time. When completed, each goal effects the world parameter, which is shown on the whiteboard in ratings of environment, society and industry. The goal of the game is for each group to complete goals and negotiate with other groups to trade cards to fulfil their primary goal and develop the world.

Most groups had two Hong Kong students and one ICT student, and were very shy at first. English was not their primary language and they had only just met each other five minutes ago. However, this ceased to be a concern as soon as the game began. There were students discussing their next move, rushing to complete their goal and receive the rewards, and negotiating vigorously. When the dust settled at half time and everyone looked at the world parameter, our jaws dropped. The world that had started at an even four points each for environment, society and industry, was now one point each for environment and society, and eighteen points for industry. We had reproduced the Industrial Revolution!

The instructor explained that the world we had created probably had horrible child labor and species going extinct every year. Each group had taken the most profitable actions and this world was the result. The second half was our test if we could bring the world back. The results are as you can see in the picture. Although we could not reach even, the environment and society improved compared to the first half. During reflection, several students said that they tried to improve the society and environment, but could not always find the sufficient money, time, or goals. Other students complained that the objective of the game was difficult to understand. I think this is interestingly similar to the world we live in today.

I asked the instructor about the results later and she explained that this is how the game commonly plays out. I was surprised how well it replicated the real world, especially for an educational game. There were groups with skillful players who fulfilled their goals in no time while other group struggled to negotiate and were casted aside. It seemed like a miniature version of the real world like the book “If the world were a village of 100 people.” The moment at halftime of “oh my god” was my favorite and I hope it remains in the students memory that provokes them to become conscious and take action to create a better world.










June 26, 2018

Hello. It's KTB, the Japanese teacher. I teach Japanese Language Expression and Japanese Literature at Hakusanroku. Today, I'd like to introduce the extracurricular activity of Kento Nomura, a Science and Technology department first-year student. That activity is skateboarding, which he first started during sixth grade. Last year, Kento won third prize in an under15 tournament held in Toyama. This year, he plans to compete in an open tournament in Kanazawa in August and is practicing hard.

Usually Kento practices on Hakusanroku campus's outdoor basketball court. However, today we drove to the skateboard park in Yoshino. First, we said hello to the man in charge of the skateboard park (who runs a Japanese oban-yaki shop nearby). There were two others already practicing when we arrived at the park. One in his twenties (a pro-skater!) and the other a junior high school student. Both of them knew Kento and exchanged greetings. Soon after, skateboard school boys arrived and began to warmup.

I asked Kento why skateboarding appeals to him. He told me that he likes how people from elementary school to adults in their forties can enjoy it together and the feeling of unity when the skater pulls off a street trick and the crowd goes wild. Also, he said that it taught him to respect his elders and rules of society, such as following proper procedure.

Kento practiced the trick “50 50 grind late shove-it out” for about an hour and a half before we said goodbye and returned to ICT. The junior high school student even bowed slightly to me. After dinner, it's time for Evening School. Extracurricular activities are a precious peak to refresh our minds in between study time.

Yutaka Katabe



1時間半くらい、“フィフティ フィフティ グラインド レイト ショービット アウト”という技を繰り返し練習して、最後にもう一度挨拶して学校に帰ります。中学生が私にもちょこんとお辞儀してくれました。夕食が終わったらNight Schoolです。課外活動は勉強と勉強の間の、頭の中を真っ白にしてリフレッシュする貴重な時間です。

潟辺 豊

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