Hakusanroku Journal 白山麓ジャーナル: 2018年8月の記事

August 31, 2018

Hello! I am Ryan Vicencio, one of the Learning Mentors at the Hakusanroku campus. I facilitate the evening learning sessions, helping the students with their homework and various projects. Right now, the students are off campus, enjoying their summer vacation. The summer programs have ended, and many teachers are starting to go on vacation as well. Campus is very quiet.

In contrast, the michi no eki across the street is bustling with life.

This station, called Sena, is a popular rest stop for tourists looking to experience the beautiful scenery that the Hakusan area has to offer.

Sena sports an omiyage shop and several cafes, and is the site for local events ranging from musical performances to classic car meet-ups. During the summer, the cafes sell ice cream to beat the heat, and with this summer being one of the hottest, ice cream is a must.

There are three options for ice cream at Sena, but the students’ and teachers’ unanimous favorite is the ice cream at a cafe called the Kijitora Coffee Research Lab (キジトラコーヒー研究所). Students would often be found there after afternoon classes and club activities, enjoying some unique soba tea ice cream or freshly made karaage. Sometimes, even teachers would end their work day with a delicious coffee float or some silky chocolate ice cream.

If you get the chance to visit campus, you should stop by for a chance at seeing the one of the cats after which the shop is named!

Ryan Vicencio









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。













August 21, 2018

Twelve students may seem few, but when those students are not here on campus, it feels quite lonely. Our students are happily enjoying their summer vacations and working on their summer STEM projects. For the past few weeks, the Hakusanroku campus has been very quiet and desolate.

However, the campus is very lively this week! Thanks to the ICT Summer School, we have many students here from all around Japan. Many of the students were quite nervous when they first arrived for the program, but with the help of the ICT upperclassmen, they’re now enjoying their time here!

The ICT Summer School focuses on Engineering Design and the theme this year is to “Redesign the evening experience.” Students work through the engineering design process to find a problem in their everyday evening experience and then build a creative solution. The students have many great ideas and I love how the ideas they come up with are always outside of the teachers’ expectations. We are always being surprised by what they think of!


Today, the students took a field trip to the Chugu Nature Center. They took a short hike and then went down to the river to play. They got to experience Hakusanroku nature, from wild walnuts and beetles to frogs and tadpoles.

Although our time with these students is short, we treasure every moment with them and enjoy the chance to teach them about engineering design, teamwork, and innovation. It’s a joy to see
 the students getting excited and putting their all into creating something new.

Anne Isobel Tan

Learning Mentor











August 3, 2018

Sun hitting the school building

Hello, I am Inoue from the Department of Global Information and Management. Together with Yamazaki sensei and Kodaka sensei, I teach the Engineering Context 1A class at Hakusanroku campus. The first semester classes are reaching their final stages and students are working hard on their final presentation.

How is everyone doing during this nationwide heatwave? On July 23, 41.1 degrees Celsius was recorded in Kumagaya city, Saitama prefecture. Apparently, this is a national new record since five years ago. Although Hakusanroku campus is one to two degrees cooler than downtown Kanazawa, we are still experiencing high temperature around 34 degrees with strong sunshine. There is little shade to prevent the sun streaming into the school building (see picture 1). You many wonder what it is like indoors. Actually, it is quite cool and quiet. In this journal, I would like to introduce the school's air conditioning system.

First off, ICT's main building has two floors. As you may have seen in other pictures, both floors are connected under a high ceiling. It may be difficult to distinguish the two floors (see picture 2). The ceiling is so high that you could probably build a third floor (see pictures 3 and 4). In addition, the walls facing the courtyard are full framed grass windows. The whole building is feels open and quite spacious. You may wonder how we keep such a building cool.

At first glance, many fail to even find the air conditioning units. Looking up at the ceiling or wall or listening for the sound of the air conditioners will do you no good. Actually, Hakusanroku campus's air conditioning system is under the floor. There are vent holes in the floor in and out of the classrooms (see picture 5 and 6). You can feel the gentle cool air coming out of the vent holes if you put your hand near them. The air stream is not strong and does not blow up dust. The space humans can detect is only two meters from the ground. Therefore it may actually be more efficient to have air conditioning in the floor. In addition, there are multiple vent holes, which means that less airflow is necessary to circulate the cool air. This leads to the quiet sound. Removing the air conditioner from sight also increases the interior aesthetics. I doubt many schools in Japan have an air conditioning system like this.

In the classroom, students can enjoy the scenery of beautiful sky, mountains, and green grass out the windows unaffected by the heat as they study, (see picture 7). This is another streng of the Hakusanroku campus. The mountains will change red in autumn and white in winter. What will it be like then? That is a topic for next time.

Keisuke Inoue







August 2, 2018

This is Kodaka, in charge of Engineering Context. Today I would like to talk about this class. In the first half of the class, we learned about ethics needed as an engineer, the influence and background of how various technology was born, and the code of behavior we should follow when creating something new. In the second half of the class, we studied an important communication skill for engineers, drawing. Drawing is a skill of communication that is not only a valuable method of communication but also a vital process in product realization through mind development and visual thinking.

The course is reaching the stage in which students use what they have learned in the first semester to create new value. We use half of the class for group brainstorming to devise a theme. Putting yourself in other people's shoes is indispensable for this activity. However, it also cultivates engineering ethics as well as user empathy resulting in a well-balanced understanding of the idea creation process. The verbalized idea reports created by the students will be finalized as visual reports. Next week will be our last class and evaluation date for the students' presentations. I am looking forward to their final products.

Lately I feel that people's response in social media to incidents in society is somewhat off. There is a clear lack of common sense in the general public's thought process, decision making, attitude, and action toward things in society. I believe this unbalance of mind and thought is due to greed, self-interest, losing track of the essence of matter, or unconventional logic. In this age of interconnected society, it is important to retain a wide viewpoint and broad mind. However, it is equally important to look at the essence of things from multiple angles and converge diverse opinions with conscious ethical thinking. This class will continue to focus on creating honest engineering ethics, where students can contemplate together how the engineer should be in the future.

 Arihiro Kodaka




 小髙 有普


August 2, 2018

Hello everyone, my name is Hazwan Halim. I teach Basic Analysis at ICT's Hakusanroku campus and Electrical Engineering at Kanazawa campus.

 I still remember last January when we have heavy snow in some part of Japan. Some said that it is the heaviest snow in 20 years and some said 30 years. The snow falls rapidly and causes 1,500 cars stranded on the main road in Fukui as reported by the Japan Times news. Then in late June to mid-July, successive heavy downpours in southwestern Japan resulted in widespread, devastating floods and mudflows. An official at Japan Meteorological Agency describes the event as  "heavy rain at a level we've never experienced". It has cost 225 death (as of 20th July) and at least 50 are missing. Now, we are currently been struck by the phenomenal heatwave. While I am writing this journal (accompanying with air conditioner of course), BBC news just announced that the temperature in Japan has exceeded the national records. The searing heatwave has cost 40 lives and landed thousand in the hospital due to heat stroke.

This series of event is not only occurring in Japan but also in several another country in the world. These worldwide phenomena have been attributed to human-induced global warming. In 2015, the United Nation has come out with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to promote sustainable developments and to combat climate change. ICT Kanazawa takes an initiative to support the program by driving its research and education toward achieving the goals. I am very proud and keen to progress and work together to achieve the goals.

 Hazwan Halim





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