FEATURED ARTICLE | July 05, 2018

Why Tokyo Techies Values Curriculum: Interview with Thien

Thien Phan is an expert in Computer Science with a lot of academic and scientific research experiences. As a gifted high school student interested in technology from a young age, Thien started programming with the Pascal programming language, and since then has developed his passion for Computer Science. Graduating his Bachelor and Master studies in Computer Science with high ranks, he became a university lecturer at a top-level national university at a young age of 25. Thien has been working in various countries, i.e., Switzerland, Germany, Japan, and is the author of various scientific publications in international conferences and journals.At Tokyo Techies, Thien is the Head of Network Technologies & Cyber Security. He is also the main curriculum builder for Data Science & AI courses, and directs the academic and scientific affairs of the organization. Working for a long time in the academic and educational field, Thien realized the critical importance of having standardized and high quality curriculum in educating technologies for learners of all ages. Today we ask Thien why curriculum is important to Tokyo Techies and what goes into it.Curriculum Q1: Which classes have you developed curriculum for?A1: I have constructed curriculum for the following topics:

  1. Data Science
  2. Machine Learning
  3. Computer Science
  4. Computer Networking
  5. Cyber Security

Q2: Why does Tokyo Techies have an extensive curriculum creation process?A2: After reviewing many different curriculums and books for our classes, we came across a few recurring problems which made it difficult for students to learn. We dug deeper and found major flaws in the already existing curriculums and study materials related to technical education. So at TokyoTechies, we realized we needed to dedicate a significant amount of time and resources into creating our own curriculums.One issue we found in outside curriculums was that examples used were not engaging and visually appealing to students. These examples failed to stimulate a student’s imagination and natural curiosity, which are the most important and powerful motivations for learning!Another issue that we found was the failure to show in which fields and in what ways a simple skill can be used at a higher level. This resulted in a student failing to apply simple coding skills to difficult, more complex problems.We’ve focused on providing fun and engaging examples for our students to use their imagination when learning a new skill. Below is an example of this in understanding pattern recognitions (an extremely important skill in computer science). We use Christmas related symbols instead of plain numbers that other curriculums use.

In this second example, we had our students create a zoo instead of using plain numbers.

We also emphasize the relation between simple skills and complex problems. For example, pattern recognition (skill shown above) can be applied to the following fields: Robotics (LED matrix lighting), graphical design (complicated patterns, curves) and game design. We educate our students of these kinds of applications in our curriculums.We have seen that students really appreciate the tweaks we’ve made to the learning process, and we are excited to share it with more and more students!Cyber SecurityQ3: Recently you were the centerpiece of creating the curriculum for our new Cyber Security Workshop. Would you be able to tell us about the upcoming Cyber Security Workshop?A3: Cyber Security attacks have transformed greatly in the last few years and organizations are unable to defend against them. Having knowledge about Cyber Security can prevent organizations from attacks that could lead to major setbacks. Seeing the importance of modern Cyber Security, we partnered with Israeli Cyber Security organization, i.e., ThinkCyber. Together we have created a workshop for IT professionals to develop the knowledge and skills to prevent Cyber Security risks and defend against attacks. We have incorporated the Tokyo Techies curriculum process and Think Cyber’s experience into our Cyber Security workshop.

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