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NOVA Sparks TAS Innovation

How do we prepare our students to develop the necessary skills, mindsets, and networks to succeed in the future workplace and make an impact on the world?
By Anthony Ives and Kaity Kao
NOVA Sparks TAS Innovation

According to Alison Maitland, coauthor of the book Future Work: Changing Organizational Culture for the New World of Work, the future workplace will require that people adapt to high levels of change. They will need to be “self-disciplined and organized. They must be self-directed and accountable.”
This year, from 15–17 September, Taipei American School (TAS) held the second annual NOVA competition, a three-day event that inspires students to create effective and innovative solutions to real world problems. This year’s theme was learning, and a total of 106 TAS students making up 14 upper school and nine middle school teams identified problems or opportunities related to learning and developed prototypes for solutions.
On the first evening, NOVA teams received helpful feedback and practiced their professional communication skills at Networking Evening with TAS alumni, parents, staff, and other business people. Despite a typhoon closing the school on the day of the Expo Fair and final judging, the teams were still able to pitch their ideas through an online system quickly set up by the NOVA student leaders. In addition, Best Delegate, the leading Model United Nations consultancy, provided workshops on how to develop a new NGO or social enterprise for interested students.
Seed capital and other prizes were awarded to the following winning Upper School NOVA teams.
• Music for Bandipur, winner of this year’s NOVA Social Impact Track, strives to teach music to children in a rural, isolated villages in Nepal through an online Skype mentorship program.
• Scriba, winner of this year’s NOVA High Tech Track, aims to help students and teachers more easily revisit what was discussed in class and in group meetings through the use of a new voice-to-word doc transcription technology that can recognize individual speakers.
• AvoTo!, winner of this year’s NOVA General Track, hopes to aid students in creating a better high school academic path based on their interests by providing enhanced information about classes via the web and presentations.
All students came away winners. Through the process of identifying a real problem or opportunity, developing a prototype for a solution, and creating a persuasive pitch, each student had a unique opportunity to learn and develop essential real-world problem-solving skills; a growth mindset and grit; effective strategies for innovating and creating lasting change; and a professional network.
Anthony Ives is U.S. History/Social Studies Teacher and NOVA Sponsor at KAS. Kaity Kao is U.S. English Department Chair.

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