Recently bursting into the scene were young innovators from Chulalongkorn Demonstration School who snatched six gold medals and three silver medals from the International Innovation and Invention Competition in the Republic of Poland last June – cementing the trend of human resource development of the future.
Children are innovators by nature. If their skills and thinking are cultivated and nurtured, they will unleash the innovative potential that can change the world. A few primary school students from Chulalongkorn University Demonstration School have made Thailand proud by winning six gold medals and three silver medals from online competitions at E-NNOVATE 2021 International Innovation Show held in Poland in June.
The winning pieces that marveled many people were such as the anti-epidemic pen, smart bathroom systems exploding with fun for the New Normal; a set of pillows to reduce snoring to balance the quality and safety of sleep; exercise equipment for bedridden patients; and brain training and hand muscle stimulation for stroke patients and children with autism, etc. (learn more at https://www.chula.ac.th/news/48422/).
It has been over seven years since the Chula Demonstration School Innovation Center (Satit Chula Innovation Hub) was established and class after class of students presented their innovations, competed in many global arenas, and been recipients of awards every year. This year, in particular, is the year that our students submitted the most pieces of work to competitions despite the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the school to switch to online instructions.
“But in crisis lies opportunity. Students have time to nurture their ideas and develop innovations, many of which meet the challenges of today’s world,” said Ajarn Jeerasak Jitrarojanarak, Chairman of Satit Chula Innovation Hub who has been the wind beneath the wings of young innovators as he revealed the secrets that teachers and parents can use with their children and students.
Demonstration School of the 21st Century
Ajarn Jeerasak recounted that the Satit Chula Innovation Hub was founded “to prepare students for the changes of the 21st century, whether they are new knowledge and skills, unprecedented professions, or fostering a positive worldview and outlook on life, with a progressive mindset that is always looking for solutions and possibilities.”
The key to grooming innovators fundamentally lies in the trust in the potential of students and the teachers while realizing the uniqueness of each student. The center is responsible for promoting students’ dreams into reality. These awards show that we are on the right track.
“The award-winning innovations were the results of the transformation of learning methods. Teachers would allow students to start ‘thinking’ and formulating questions by themselves. The teachers are around to ‘collaborate’, listen to how they ‘revise’ their questions, and advise them on how to find ways to solve the problems according to their imagination. The teachers always urge students to find more than one solution to the problem. The rest is to ‘build’ the relevant knowledge set. This process takes quite a long time because students need to explore and gather existing information to analyze and compare the advantages and disadvantages against their method while being mindful of copyright infringements.”
The new learning approach in the classroom is step-by-step: “think-collaborate-revise-create”. Parents and teachers are only on hand to give support in terms of resources, such as coordination with organizations relating to the innovation students are working on, like what the Center did previously in coordinating with the Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University to develop prototypes of students’ innovations.
Three techniques to groom innovators of the 21st century
Believe — Parents and teachers must “believe” in the potential of their children even if there is no sign of success. They need to provide the space for independent thinking and respect students’ decisions. Allow children to be brave enough to start analyzing their problems in their way, and try to solve the problems by themselves. This technique nurtures children into the habit of analysts at a young age.
Support — Turn instructions and nagging into reinforcement without leaving students to fend for themselves. Because innovating requires teamwork, so teachers and parents have to act as team members, and together form a “safe space” for trial and error until the mission is accomplished.
Drive — There are many things that students are interested in but parents and teachers are not good at, so they have to go out and find a network of experts in each field. This is as important as other matters. If students are driven by professionals in the subject they are studying, their innovations will have more chance to become a reality, complete with efficiency, quality, and complexity on a level with professional standards.
Preparation to expand the idea and give free consultation
Based on this success, Satit Chula Innovation Hub is ready to share this concept with others to develop quality people for the future of the nation. “The Hub is prepared to assist the schools that are interested in this learning reform. Interested parties can contact Satit Chula Innovation Hub. We are happy to provide consultation and coordination free of charge,” Ajarn Jeerasak concluded.
Contact Satit Chula Innovation Hub at
Facebook: Satit Chula Innovation Hub or Chulalongkorn University Demonstration School Elementary Department
Telephone: 0-22182746, 08-4639-6363 (Ajarn Jeerasak Jitrarojanarak)
E-mail: [email protected]
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YouTube Channel: SATITCHULAELEM