How the co-founders of FabCafe Bangkok are teaching 21st century skills in dtac’s Safe Internet youth camp
Ari is a leafy residential neighborhood in Northern Bangkok. Down one of its quiet alleys, what looks like a home actually houses Thailand’s branch of FabCafe. FabCafe started in Tokyo as a gathering spot for the local community of tinkerers, hackers and designers, before growing to 12 “cafes” globally. But Bangkok’s FabCafe is now also working with a much younger crowd. By partnering with dtac’s second Young Safe Internet Leaders Camp (YSLC 2.0), it is equipping Thai kids with important skills to make their online lives safer and more fulfilling.
dtacblog sat with Kalaya Kovidvisith and Samutpon Tanapant. Both are university lecturers and co-founders of FabCafe Bangkok, a place they have defined as “the creative space for design and technology”. They also designed YSCL 2.0 for dtac.
Decoding “Learning Design”
YSLC 2.0 culminates in its young participants designing projects to make the internet a better place for their peers. Before getting to that point, its first module first requires all camp participants study online privacy and sexual abuse, diversity respect to stop cyberbullying, and the anatomy of fake news. The second module features specialized knowledge and skills namely AI chatbot, data visualization, storytelling and board game. The third highlights social impact assessment – which serves as a criterion to evaluate the young participants’ proposed projects.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, YSLC 2.0 has brought all its activities online, attracting more than 20 teams. After their project presentations, team members were mentored by Ms. Kalaya and Mr. Samutpon. Every week, they followed up on the progress of projects and advised the teams.
Unleashing Youth’s Potential with 21st-Century Skills
While these two learning designers have recognized the potential of Thai youth, they also see “structural problems” in Thai education. There are “educational-infrastructure gaps in urban and rural students”. Despite having a stronger passion and even the ability to learn faster than their peers from Bangkok, some teams in the provinces do not have a computer.
Each of the 11 FabCafes in the global network has a different core competency. For example, FabCafe Taipei is famous for machinery development while FabCafe Bangkok places an emphasis on “education”. Mr. Samutpon and Ms. Kalaya both taught at Thammasat University’s Faculty of Architecture.