“Explore: The Universe”: Highlights of the Programme

On 20 July, “Explore: The Universe”, the third JUST DILIJAN IT! 2017 programme, came to an end at UWC Dilijan College. The Republic of JDI was the name given by the kids, experts, and counsellors for the space they were immersed in for two weeks. In order for the “Republic” could thrive, three agencies were organised: Inner World Agency, Outer World Agency and Science & Art Agency, in which the participants created more than 10 projects.

Inner World Agency – projects about children and their emotions

The Intelligent Photo Booth project saw the kids gathering photos by themselves of all the participants of JUST DILIJAN IT! and training the computer to recognize the faces and learn how breakfast, lunch or dinner affected their emotions. As part of the test study, the scientists of Dilijan revealed the most typical emotions: surprise, happiness, and sadness. Spoiler alert: dinner makes the kids happier more than breakfast or lunch.

WikiKids is a children’s version of Wikipedia set up by kids. The project team selected the major categories, and used simple language to describe complex ideas, as well as designed their own logo. The kids invited all-comers to join the project and hope that WikiKids will prove useful helping other children in their day-to-day lives and studying.

Another happiness project was Happy Teens. Here, the kids held discussions and brainstorming sessions, developed a questionnaire and gathered data. They researched not just the other kids at the programme, but also their friends via social networks. The data was processed using machine learning. They found that those who prefer to spend time in the outdoors and who doesn’t depend on the weather are happier. They confirmed the main hypothesis: the guys in JUST DILIJAN IT! are happier than anyone else!

Outer World Agency – looking at the outside world

Participants visited the Dilijan Museum, only to discover that it had no website, map or exhibit listing. To tell the world about the museum, the kids drew a map of the exhibition and started to assemble a virtual collection: they photographed museum exhibits, prepared descriptions and made photographs for the website. As a result, the Digital Museum was born, the first interactive online museum in the history of Dilijan.

The ethnographic expedition to the Russian Molokan village of Fioletovo made a great impression on the kids and led to the creation of a separate project, combining the stories of the trip and photographs made in cyanotype. For many of the children, the trip was also a revelation as it was the first time that they were introduced to rural life, saw cows and tried fresh milk, learned how to bake bread and grow garlic.

In the Dilijan Map & Water Test Project, the kids studied the territory and history of Dilijan, drew up a geographic map, examined and compared water from different sources. Another project, in the “Natural Sciences” lab, Rock Rainbow, was a study of rocks and layers. The result was a geographical comic, centred on a hero called Jupistone.

In the “Computer Technology” lab, the kids created Giga City & JDI in Minecraft – models of the UWC Dilijan campus and the city of the future using the learning technologies of the Minecraft game.

Science & Art Agency – the art and technology of the future

The Robo-man project was about making human-like robots. The project resulted in the creation of Fashion-Show robots, which paraded on a specially programmed catwalk.

In the “Art” laboratory, the children created national Armenian costumes and costumes for the inhabitants of the Republic of JDI from newspapers and magazines. The kids from Kazakhstan shared their traditions.

Participants in the special universal mission, the Delegation of Observers, examined the life of the Republic and made a special report about JDI.

All the projects were presented at the final event, when parents and guests arrived to the UWC Dilijan campus.