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CAS Reflection #7 – The Finale

It’s come to the end of my CAS journey, and I find myself wanting to repeat it all over again. CAS has not only provided me with a avenue to delve into my interests whilst utilizing my strengths in providing service to the community, but also to leverage the power of collaboration, of adroit, ethical decision-making, and iterative improvement on my weaknesses in creating the greatest possible impact in doing so.

In my third (and last) CAS interview that I had with my supervisor, Mr. Watson, we discussed the three elements of CAS – Creativity, Activity, and Service – and how I’ve engaged with them throughout my CAS journey. I talked about the specifics of my projects in those categories, such as how I’ve improved in my entire time in Cyber Shanty as a tutor.

In departure from tradition, however, I’d like to talk about more than the specifics and examine how I’ve improved as a whole throughout this two-year-long odyssey.

Learning Outcome 1: I identify strengths and weaknesses – the CAS projects that I engaged in were all geared towards my skillset and my interests, and I understood this as an advantage in the sense that I would be leveraging my strengths. I also identified where I fell short, however, and also chose aspects of those projects that I felt uncomfortable in but would undoubtedly result in a development of my skills. A prominent example that I’ve mentioned many times in my journey is being a tutor in Cyber Shanty – I wasn’t used to teaching children but now I’m very comfortable in doing so and no longer see it as a weakness. Learning to identify both my strengths and weaknesses has been a big part of my participation in CAS.

Learning Outcome 2: I undertake challenges and develop new skills – the CAS projects I engaged in, as with the first learning outcome, were geared towards what I was good at and interested in, but this does not mean that I had nothing left to learn. Highly technical roles like in BOINC@BSJ and a part of Tiny School Movement allowed me to develop skills in network computing and web development, and in undertaking this challenge I feel like I’ve reaped one of the most important parts of participating in CAS and have left with deeper domain knowledge and a wider skillset as a result.

Learning Outcome 3: I plan and initiate – Along with my peers, I learned to plan projects both small and large and initiate them accordingly. This was present in all of my CAS projects, be it Cyber Shanty, Tiny School Movement, or BOINC@BSJ.  All of those involved planning beforehand in terms of what tasks should be delegated, what materials are needed, and what steps need to be taken with the appropriate supervisors or partners. This skill was invaluable in getting things done, and will continue to be invaluable in the future.

Learning Outcome 4: I show commitment I persevere – All of the CAS projects I participated in had significant challenges, but none of them prevented me or my peers from achieving our goals. This was a result of committing to our goals and persevering in the face of these challenges – both skills that were hardened, tested, and ultimately improved as a result of our participation in CAS.

Learning Outcome 5: I demonstrate collaborative skills and recognise the benefits of collaboration –  having usually worked alone in the past on projects, I found this part of CAS to be invaluable. I learned that working together is far better than working alone, and that more and better things can be done in far less time by doing so. This was key to success in all of my CAS projects.

Learning Outcome 6: I engage with issues of global significance – All of the CAS projects I participated in involved issues of global significance, be it access to education or universal healthcare. I am proud and empowered to say that I’ve done my small part in ameliorating these issues throughout my CAS journey. I’ve developed a deeper understanding of some of these issues as a result, along with a deepened drive for continuing to contribute to the solving of these issues in the future.

Learning Outcome 7: I act ethically and recognise ethical issues – In CAS, I along with my peers had to make decisions that could impact real lives in real communities, and we take pride in the fact that we’ve acted in a manner that we believe to be the most ethically correct and appropriate, be it in Tiny School Movement or Cyber Shanty or even in the handover to the Year 12 students. CAS has opened my eyes to just how impactful the smallest actions can be, and so I will always take this learning outcome in mind in my future ventures.

CAS has been tiring and frustrating at times, but so, so, rewarding. I’ve learned so much, as evidenced in the above, and I’m continuing to learn as I reflect on my CAS journey and what (I hope) it’s done for the community. I hope to do more good in the future.

Signing off,

Farrel

Like the End of Rocky (CAS Reflection – Activity Final)

Since the last time I wrote on my blog, I’ve accomplished my Activity goals. Last checkpoint, I was able to deadlift 120kg for 3 reps and 1 set, squat 60 kg for 10 reps and 1 set, was able to use the chest press at about 65 kg for 5 reps and 3 sets, the shoulder press at about 65 kg for 5 reps and 3 sets, and the leg press at the maximum weight for 10 reps and 3 sets.

I’ve improved significantly in these metrics, and have accomplished the goal measurements as stated in my first Activity blog post.

Despite having done so, I hope to continue improving in these areas beyond CAS Activity. I’ve learned that physical activity is immensely rewarding and important and thus should be incorporated into my daily life. Therefore, as last time, I will continue to pursue the advancement of my physical ability in these areas.

Farrel

CAS Reflection #5 – Milestones (A CAS Interview)

Now that exams are over and I’ve finished my TOK presentation, I finally have an ample amount of time to reflect on the second CAS interview I had with my mentor on the 23rd of May.

Much of the interview dealt with how I’ve met the learning outcomes and how I’ve progressed throughout my journey in CAS. I talked about how, in Tiny School Movement, we began construction on a new school, how in Cyber Shanty we’re continuing to build the skills of the Sekolah Bisa students, and how I’ve begun to participate in a new CAS project – BOINC@BSJ. In having to outline how much progress has been made in my CAS projects, I was able to see my service activities from a bird’s eye view and, in doing so, I was able to evaluate as to whether or not they met the expectations set during the beginning of the year by both the team and myself.

Overall, I decided that I was satisfied with the progress made in my service projects. With this being said, however, I’d still like to continue working towards and beyond the previously set goals during the remainder of Year 12 and the beginning of Year 13.

In the interview, I also talked about how I’ve personally contributed to the projects and, in doing so, worked towards the benefit of the people that the projects impact. I noted that I went beyond my roles in Cyber Shanty and Tiny School Movement, often utilizing my strengths in computers or the Indonesian language to assist the respective teams. In BOINC, I also noted that my role as one of the core members was important for the revitalization of the cluster. In laying bare these roles, I was able to reflect on whether or not I was doing enough for the projects and what I could do better in the future (the latter, I decided, involved a lot more active involvement in decision-making).

During the interview, I also had time to reflect on how I’ve used technology within my service projects and what kinds of obstacles that we had to overcome. I pointed out that each of my service projects heavily involved the use of technology, which I now realize is indicative of the power that technology can have in impacting positive change. In reference to the second talking point, I also mentioned Tiny School Movement in particular, where we had to overcome issues regarding land permits. In reflecting on this obstacle that we overcame, I was able to consolidate the lessons that my team and I learned from the ordeal.

Finally I talked about the learning outcomes or goals that I didn’t meet. I felt that this applied most to my Activity projects, since I hadn’t met one goal in my CAS PE program. In order to remedy this, I decided that I had to even out the progression of my goals, such that I don’t neglect some of them.

This second CAS interview has allowed me to take a step back and look at how far I’ve come in CAS, as well as how far I still need to go. I’ve learned from and done a lot in my CAS projects since the first interview, and I can’t wait to see how much will change when it is time for the third.

Until next time,

Farrel

Setting Things in Motion (CAS Reflection – Service #5)

Dismantling the current cluster to make way for ROSE, the name for the new planned cluster.

It’s been a while since I last updated on my progress in CAS service. Needless to say, I haven’t been idle during that time. There has been significant progress – and I’ve even begun to participate in a new project.

The project I’m referring to, of course, is BOINC@BSJ. I’ve always been interested by this project but I had never felt that I had the technical expertise to contribute much to it. Given that the founders from Year 13 have graduated and the reins have been handed down to us, the extra responsibility has led me to realize that I am indeed capable of contributing. As such, I’m excited about BOINC.

BOINC, short for Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, is essentially software that allows people to volunteer unused computing resources to causes like cancer research through computing protein folding data (Rosetta@Home) or even the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI@Home). What BOINC@BSJ is for is to make use of used CPUs to create a cluster of computers that can volunteer all of its resources. In short, a virtual supercomputer.

We’ve already dismantled the existing cluster due to the fact that it was running in parallel instead of being connected with software, effectively being a virtual virtual-supercomputer. We’ve already begun putting it back together with the right software.

The challenge that we’re currently facing is figuring out how to establish stable internet connectivity in the computers (given that there is no inbuilt wireless capability) and working together as a team to find the time to accomplish BOINC@BSJ’s goals. Although it is going to be difficult, I am confident that we’ll get it done.

Learning Outcomes Achieved:

LO2: We are undertaking challenges and developing new skills as a result.

LO5: Collaboratively, we are attempting to achieve the goal of building a cluster.

LO6: We are volunteering unused computing resources to causes with global implications.

 

CAS Reflection #4 – CASgraphy

The picture above is a mind map of what I’ve done in CAS so far, what I’ve learnt, and how I can improve. Although it seems like a lot (the long sentences definitely helped), I feel like there’s still much to do in the upcoming months. As such, I’m very excited to continue charting my progress in CAS on this blog.

The Third Activity Checkpoint (CAS Reflection – Activity #3)

Since the last time I wrote on my blog, I’ve been making significant progress in my Activity goals. Last checkpoint, I was able to deadlift 100kg for 2 reps and 1 set, squat 50 kg for 5 reps and 1 set, was able to use the chest press at about 55 kg, the shoulder press at about 55 kg, and the leg press at 75 kg (all three for at least ten reps and two sets).

Although not much time has passed since then, I have made the following major improvements:

  • I can now deadlift 20 kg more at 120 kg for 3 reps and 1 set.
  • I can now squat 10 kg more at 60 kg for 10 reps and 1 set.
  • I can use the leg press now at the maximum weight for 10 reps and 3 sets.
  • I can use the chest press at about 65 kg for 5 reps and 3 sets.
  • I can use the shoulder press at about 65 kg for 5 reps and 3 sets.

I hope to continue improving in these areas in order to achieve my goals in the timeframe that I have set for myself and the timeframe that is expected of IB students in CAS activity. As last time, I will continue to pursue the advancement of my physical ability in these areas.

Until next time,

Farrel

 

How My TOK Presentation Went

Write a blog post reflecting on your TOK presentation. Consider the following: – What went well – What would you do differently next time? – Which specific bits of the criteria did you meet and not meet? How would you improve this?

 

I was finally able to deliver my TOK presentation yesterday with my partner Bernie, after multiple Core periods passed without our names being chosen. The extra time that we had, I think, allowed us to create a presentation that was fairly well thought out, with claims and counterclaims that were satisfactorily developed. The presentation itself went smoothly, and all of the content in our presentation was explained just within the 10-minute time limit.

Although I would say that the presentation went well, in hindsight there were a number of things we could’ve worked on in order to improve and these are things that I will bear in mind for the real TOK presentation. We could’ve delved deeper into the knowledge frameworks that underlie the WOKs that we mentioned in our presentation, namely reason and, to a lesser extent, imagination and intuition.  We did research about the Reason knowledge framework whilst making our presentation, but I think very little of it was actually conveyed during the presentation.

Aside from that, a fairly prevalent issue that we had whilst preparing for the presentation was having compatibility issues in terms of the platforms we used in collating the information and the slides. There were a number of rocky transitions in-between Google Slides, Google Docs, Powerpoint, and Office Online which made the process unnecessarily difficult. In the future, if I decide to present with a partner or partners, I will make sure that our platforms are standardized for ease of use.

In terms of the presentation itself, I think we could’ve formulated a knowledge question with less presentation-specific terms (ie. a knowledge question that we could’ve explored in a broader theoretical space). Our knowledge question was really focused around the term “subjective experience” which at times I felt was constricting in terms of what we could discuss that would contribute towards a meaningful and practically applicable conclusion. In spite of this concern, however, I felt that we sufficiently met the parts of the criteria that had to do with formulating a clear and RLS-related knowledge question and developing that question fully with coherent arguments. We also structured our presentation in a way that conformed with the suggested TOK presentation structure. This doesn’t mean, however, that it couldn’t have been better. To give one example, we could’ve rehearsed more in order to make the delivery of our presentation more fluid.

Overall, I think we did alright, and our grade reflected that. In the future, I believe it to be imperative that we stick closer to the criteria and aim to fulfill it point-by-point. In addition to this, I also believe that a more robust knowledge question, one related to a more relevant topic, is necessary.

Until next time,

Farrel

CAS Reflection #3 – Have I met my learning outcomes?

The following is a table where I have personally evaluated my progress in achieving the seven CAS learning outcomes:

Learning outcome How I personally have begun to address this through my CAS Service project
1. I identify my strengths, I identify areas for growth
  • In Cyber Shanty, I have been consistent in attending the sessions as I’ve identified that my strength in the project lies in my teaching and Indonesian skills. I have also recognized that I sometimes have difficulty in helping to create a backup lesson plan in case there is an issue with the prepared lesson (e.g. no laptops available).
  • In Tiny School Movement, I’ve identified that my strength lies in creating websites and dealing with related things like social media, whereas I’ve recognized my lack of initiative in being in contact with the organization’s partners as an area of growth.
2. I undertake new challenges, I undertake new skills
  • In my service projects, I more often than not voluntarily undertake tasks that I am not completely familiar with. As an example, I undertook the challenge of designing a logo for Cyber Shanty.
3. I plan and initiate
  • Although I do participate and initiate in the execution of the plans in both service projects, given that this task lies outside the scope of my roles I have not been able to demonstrate this LO wholly satisfactorily. I can build on this in the coming weeks by involving myself more in planning both service projects and going beyond the scope of my roles.
4. I show commitment, I persevere
  • I attend most if not all Cyber Shanty sessions and I persevere in teaching the Sekolah Bisa students if they have difficulties understanding the task or if they are unable to access their laptop or email.
5. I demonstrate collaborative skills, I recognize the benefits of collaboration
  • Both service projects require a great degree of collaboration, which I actively participate in (in recognition of the fact that collaboration is essential to accomplishing the goals of said projects).
6. I engage with issues of global significance
  • My engaging in Cyber Shanty by extension engages me in its aims to ameliorate the globally significant issue of wealth disparity and the educational disparities that come along with that, thus allowing me to say that I have fulfilled this outcome.
  • My engaging in Tiny School Movement by extension also engages me in its aims to provide the capital through which education can be provided to low-income areas, thus also allowing me to say that I have fulfilled this outcome.
7. I recognize ethical issues, I act ethically
  • I am respectful of the backgrounds of the students in Cyber Shanty and take care to always maintain ethical behavior in that regard. I also make sure to treat them with patience and friendliness.
  • There has been little opportunity for me to directly engage with this LO in Tiny School Movement, although whenever possible I treat Tiny School Movement’s partners with respect and finish my tasks on time in recognition of the impact that the organization has on entire communities.

 

A Second Activity Checkpoint (CAS Reflection – Activity #2)

It’s been about five months since the last time I marked the first checkpoint for my CAS activity. At the time, I could deadlift 60kg for 1 rep and 1 set, squat 20kg for 1 rep and 1 set, and was able to use the shoulder press, chest press, and leg press at the second-lowest weights. I set a goal that at the end of the school year I would be able to deadlift 120kg for at least 1 rep and 1 set and squat 120kg for at least 1 rep and 1 set, as well as be able to use the machines for 5 reps and 1 set at 50kg+ weights.

I’ve been fairly consistent in my activity progress since then (although my consistency could definitely be improved), and as a result I’ve improved more and within a shorter time period than I thought was feasible.

As of now, I am able to:

  • Deadlift 100kg for 2 reps and 1 set.
  • Squat 50 kg for 5 reps and 1 set.
  • Use the chest press at about 55 kg.
  • Use the shoulder press at about 55 kg.
  • Use the leg press at about 75kg.

Given that there is still 1 more term to go before the end of the school year, I am confident that I am able to achieve my goals in time. That way, I’ll be able to set more goals for Year 13.

Until next time,

Farrel

CAS Reflection #2 – Partnering with SOS Indonesia

whatsapp-image-2016-12-03-at-16-02-17

In this picture, the Tiny School Movement team is meeting with SOS Indonesia, one of its partners. Collaboration is key in achieving the goals that we have set, and this is one of many examples in which we do just that.

#bigmovementfortinyschools #collaboratingforthekids #sosindonesia

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