The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Introducing InNOVAtion at TAS


If you’re interested in using virtual reality technology in the classroom, or scientifically measuring your stress levels throughout the day, there’s a possibility you will have the opportunity to do so soon. Thanks to our own TAS students, the school could be introduced to many new technologies and programs.
These ideas for TAS, among numerous others, were formulated during the school’s first ever startup weekend, NOVA, which was created during one of Mr. Ives’ social entrepreneurship classes. Inspired by Google’s “Startup Weekend,” the students in the class gathered a team, Jeremiah Hsu (11), Timothy Shu (12), Trevor Shim (12), Ellen Chang (12), and Justin Rhee (12), and NOVA was born.
At the event, teams of students had the opportunity to design any creative project ranging from a physical product, campaign, website, software to a business plan with resources at hand. Over 80 participants, separated in 18 groups, participated in this event.
NOVA provided the time, space, and facilities for students to create whatever they wanted. “The groups fully utilized their individual space,” said Timothy. “Some brought in air mattresses, some roller skates, other people even created a blanket fort.”
“We are so appreciative [for] opportunity to develop our interests in a hands on program,” said Darren Chien (12), a member of Novagence, who was one of the winning teams of the event. His team, also composed of Thibault Binier (12), Tommy Moran (12), and Paul Chang (12), pitched the idea of the Standable. Noticing that sitting during class creates problems with alertness and poor posture, the team proposed a desk that could easily turn into a standing desk.
“Even though there was external factors that affected each person’s mood, such as broken fingers, eye infections, baseball games, [and] no sleep, we supported each other,” said Thibault. “Our way of releasing stress was by having raves with really loud music, as well as meditating. This kept us sane after hours of machining and debating.”
Another winning team, Vitijoka, consisted of Vivian Teng (11), Josephine Hu (11), Tiffany Chen (11), Katie Chang (11), Kelly Chen (11), Angel Huang (11), and Tiffany Ma (11). They created the idea of the Stresslet, a bracelet that measures student’s stress through a circuit based on how much they sweat. “This data will be sent to an app on your smartphone through bluetooth, and you can track your personal stress levels throughout the day, as well as see which classes cause the most stress for people,” said Vivian.
The judges of NOVA were Mr. Ives, Dr. Hartzell, Mr. Sinclair, Mr. Fagen, and TAS parent Mr. Jenkins. The top six teams were separated into two groups: Novagence, Flux, and Vitijoka, who earned the opportunity to present to the administration, and Void, Lumos, and Fiesta, who would get to present to the School Board. If approved, their ideas will be implemented in TAS.
The decision of which teams presented to the administration and school boards was based on necessity. “No one group is greater [or] lesser than the other,” said Trevor. “For example Fiesta has an idea of cultural exchange program, which adheres more to the TAS’s mission statement and TAS overall, which would be more pertinent to what the board does than the admins. On the other hand, Novagence produced items that can be implemented successfully at an admin level.”

Entrepreneurship takes time. It was great to see so many teams so dedicated about their own project and working on it through the night,” said Ellen. Timothy agreed; he said, “It [was] a stupendous experience both for us and the participants. We hope to do more of these events in the future, if possible.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All THE BLUE & GOLD Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *