Shalom from Israel! It’s been quite eventful at Loop, so I wanted to highlight some of the teaching activities that happened this past week.
On Tuesdays, the students we normally work with do not come to campus, so our Tuesday schedules always vary. Last Tuesday (1/15), we had brunch with David Dolev (MISTI director) and a couple MIT-MEET students in Nazareth. Afterwards, we showed David the Loop Campus, and we headed to Haifa with one of the mentors from Loop. Haifa has a startup workplace called WeWork, which Loop is a part of. After visiting there, the Loop mentor took us to Cremerie De L’clair, where we had amazing croissant ice cream sandwiches! We had an early dinner at Frangelico, a sushi restaurant in Haifa.
We went back to Loop in the evening to meet a group of students we had never met before. They’re another group of Loopers, slightly younger than the students we normally teach. They were learning intro-level Java, so we could be helpful in debugging their code. After the session, many of the students came to talk to us, and they were genuinely confused that we were from the United States. We heard that especially for Nazareth, people who live in Nazareth are generally from Nazareth, so it is hard to grasp the concept that there are Asians born and raised in the United States. They weren’t rude about it or anything, and they were very interested in our lives. We found out they love Asian culture (well…I mean things like anime and k-pop, which is pop-culture). Some of them were shy about speaking English in the beginning, but they really opened up and we talked for over an hour.
On Wednesday, Emily held a session on Business Models. She explained the product design process roadmap, going into detail about what happens at each step of the process. She made a great interactive example about the evolution of iPhone’s unlocking system, from passcode to fingerprint to face recognition. After doing an example together, the students made a product roadmap for their own app ideas. Then, we went over feature types and feature analysis, understanding what is necessary and what is desirable within products. We did another activity with the students doing some analysis on their own app ideas, then compared SMS messages with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger (we learned that WhatsApp features are way better than Messenger or SMS in our students’ opinion…)
On Sunday, Emily gave another lecture, this time on public speaking. There were two exercises where students had to talk in front of the room, and a lot of them were shy. First topic was on personal hobbies, and the second topic was an elevator pitch for their app ideas. From the first talk, we heard hobbies like music, meeting new people, traveling, volunteering, etc., and we saw how similar their favorite past time activities are to US students’. They seem to have found the second activity easier, maybe because it is not about them but about an idea they’ve been developing for a while. We were impressed and proud of how clearly they talked!
Due to a few emergency situations, from here on, the group has shrank to Kalyn and Emily only. We will keep sharing our lives, so keep an eye out for our updates! 🙂
On Monday, we had our MIT alum speaker, Mr. Reuven Lerner. He drove all the way from Modi’in to Nazareth for this, and he was a very inspirational speaker that kept everyone’s attention. He answered all the students’ questions in great detail, and even after the session was over, many students remained in class to talk to him. Thank you so much Reuven!
On Tuesday, we visited a nearby high school, High School and the College of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic. We talked to 10th graders concentrating in physics and electronics, and it was a Q&A style where Emily and Kalyn answered questions about our lives and schools in the US. We also got to have a tour around the school, and the students seemed very interested in us, since we look…well, foreign. The students were genuine though, and we really enjoyed the experience at this school!
In the evening, we taught a younger group at Loop, and we started the class with the Big Wind Blows Game. It seemed to engage the students and allow them to feel more comfortable around us, and we enjoyed getting to know the students 🙂 Yesterday’s lesson was on introduction to UX/UI, and Kalyn led the lesson with interactive and relevant examples to introduce the most important concepts in designing products.
Today, Kalyn held a session on her favorite topic…probability! The students seem to have understood the relation between probability and psychology, and it was a cool topic to cover. Emily led a session on basic artificial intelligence and different methods of searching. We also incorporated a geography game in the middle, and the students (and mentors even more) were very engaged in guessing major cities in the US and filling the map of Europe.
Our adventure continues… 🙂
Written by Kalyn Bowen