CHIANG RAI – Students at a Chiang Rai-based school have held weekly meetings on how to improve a main product in their hometown – ‘fermented fish’ – as a part of their study project.
Their participation in this project will not give them any extra scores on their academic result reports. But it has promised them
several other benefits. Knowledge is never limited to classrooms.
“These children will learn to work with others, to gather and study information systematically, to talk to local people, to expand their horizons, to find out more about their hometown and to acquire problem-solving skills,” said Kanjana Auksorndit, an adviser to this study project.
She is also a teacher at Thoengwittayakhom School where students have the opportunity to conduct such a study through the Samsung Smart Learning Centre initiative.
Saran Kongsin, a Mathayom 2 student, said his group was interested in fermented fish because it generates millions of baht for people in Chiang Rai’s Thoeng district each year.
Group discussions have identified topics for their study project. For example, they have addressed how many fish varieties are used, what ingredients are used in these recipes, and which methods are practical in preventing parasites.
Mathayom 3 students have served as their coach, because the more senior students have already completed one such study project. Their topic was different, though. It was about how to conserve the Ing River – considered the bloodline of local residents.
“We have gathered information on weekends. And every Friday, we have held discussions among ourselves,” Saran said.
Kanjana said students were clearly having fun with their study project partly because they also had modern IT gadgets for their project implementation.
She added that backed by the Internet and computers, they could share what they found on the world-wide web with local
Varit Charunyanonda, senior manager-corporate marketing Thai Samsung Electronic Co, said the Samsung Smart Learning Centre supported problem-based learning.
“We have also encouraged students to communicate about what they’ve discovered and found during their study projects through digital storytelling and narrative research,” he added.
Launched last year, the Samsung Smart Learning Centre initiative offered to set up one smart classroom for each participating school.
One such classroom costs about Bt1 million. In addition, teachers at these schools have received free training from Samsung and their students will get a grant of Bt30,000 each year to work on their study projects.
Last year, more than 90 students at the Thoengwittayakhom School joined the project. This year, the number of participating students has jumped to nearly 200 – an indicator of the project’s success.
Kamonnart Chaiwong, a Mathayom 3 student, said she found the study project very useful. “It can enhance the quality of life,” she said.
The girl said this study project was also good for her personally as she had opportunities to use modern tools and hone research skills.
“I’ve also learnt about teamwork and more,” Kamonnart said.
Varit said by joining the study project, participants would learn to socialise and interact with others, no matter how shy they were.
“We have introduced a new mindset for learning. Participants have opportunities to experiment, and to learn from trial and error,” he said.
Thoengwittayakhom is one of 10 schools taking part in the Samsung Smart Learning Centre initiative since its first year.
Most of the School’s students are from poor families and many come from broken families.
“I’ve seen the better behavioural changes in students participating in the study project offered by Samsung. They have learnt to listen to others. They have become less aggressive,” Kanjana said.
Varit of Samsung said his firm had also focused on equipping children with 21st century skills.
“That’s why we have encouraged problem-based learning,” he said.
Varit added that IT was also another key.
“Samsung technologies, for example, can serve as tools to search for knowledge and create academic works,” he said, adding that users of such technologies could acquire both learning and research skills.
He said the Samsung Smart Learning Centre had created an environment suitable for learning and participatory learning process.
“Classrooms for the future must definitely integrate IT,” Varit said.