In the first article about a new generation of Thai researchers, we interviewed the Chair and Co-Chair of the Symposium on Visualizationthe. This week we speak with the Chair and Co-Chair of SIGGRAPH Asia 2017’s Symposium on Education, Miho Aoki of the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the US, and Sukanya Ratanotayanon from the Thammasat University in Thailand.
SIGGRAPH: Miho and Sukanya, could you share with us your vision for the third Symposium on Education taking place in Thailand this year?
Miho (Chair of Symposium on Education): This is the 3rd year of the Symposium on Education at the SIGGRAPH Asia conference. I’m very excited to have Sukanya and some symposium members from Thailand. We would like to present great educational researches and projects in CG, interactive techniques, AR/VR, video games and related areas from the world, also hope to present the topics from Thailand and surrounding South-east Asia.
Sukanya (Co-Chair of Symposium on Education): This is my first time participating in the Symposium on Education at SIGGRAPH Asia. I’m very excited that the conference will be held in Bangkok. I think it is a great opportunity for Thai educators and researchers who work in the area. There are several computer graphic specialization curricula in Thailand. Also, there are quite a number of researchers and educators who use computer graphic and interaction techniques to enhance learning experience. I hope that SIGGRAPH Asia Symposium on Education can bring educators and researchers in this area together, and provides a possibility to create a community that we can exchanges ideas and be inspired.
SIGGRAPH: Sukanya, you have studied in both the United States and Thailand. What are the differences you experienced in terms of the way technical subjects, like computer science, are taught in both countries?
Sukanya: From my experience, I think the way that the curriculum is planned and executed is very similar. Majority of the curriculum are focusing on the much needed foundation. However, the environments are quite different. The main difference is how much students are willing to learn and practice by themselves. I have an impression that, in general, students in the United States are more motivated and more competitive. I think they have clearer goals for their future such as wanting to work in well-known software companies or creating their own software. With the goals in mind, they tend to learn out of the classroom for skills they lack.
SIGGRAPH: Can you tell us about your background and research area in relation to the Thai industry and academia? What got you interested in this area and also education?
Sukanya: I received my Ph.D. in Information and Computer Science from the University of California at Irvine in 2010. I’ve been interested in how appropriate visualizations can help programmers cope with the complexity of comprehending unfamiliar source code. After graduation, I have been working as a faculty member in the department of Computer Science at Thammasat University. I have an opportunity to help develop and manage the Creative Digital Technology curriculum which focuses on computer graphic and game technologies. I believe that computer graphic and interactive games are excellence medium for teaching many subjects. Currently, I’m collaborating with faculties members from other departments to create a software to help students understand their subject matter, such as radiology, better.
SIGGRAPH: There have been sessions about women in technical fields as SIGGRAPH and SIGGRAPH Asia conferences, like “Women and CG” and “Girls in STEM” hosted by the Symposium on Education and International Resources Committee. Are there specific challenges women faces in technical fields in Thailand? If we hold such sessions again in SIGGRAPH Asia 2017 Bangkok, what would be the focus of the session?
Sukanya: Personally, I think Thai technical fields are very open to women. Except for works that require physical strength which I really lack, I’ve never felt that I have less opportunities or have been discriminated due to my gender. In sciences departments, the ratio between men and women are relatively even. There are fewer girls in engineering departments as they are perceived to be labor intensive. For girls who are not interested in the technical field, I think that it is by choice. It might be because girls don’t feel that this discipline is attractive. Another problem specific to Thailand is that science programs are supposed to be harder to graduate, but the entry salary for science graduates are not much different from graduates of other departments. If we have session about women in technical fields in SIGGRAPH Asia 2017, an interesting focus could be how can we make the area more attractive to girls, and how to make they recognize their opportunities after college.
SIGGRAPH: Any advice for people considering to submit to your program?
Sukanya: I found that topics of the symposium on education are relevant to many educators. Computer graphics and interactive systems are widely used to aid in teaching many subjects. Results on applying these techniques in any levels of education, including primary and secondary school levels, are very welcomed. Preliminary works can also be submitted as Education Talks to get feedback from the community. I would like to encourage educators who develop computer graphic and interactive curricula, or teach in one, to submit their reports of such experience and teaching techniques so that the next generation of educators can benefit from your experience.
SIGGRAPH: We’d like to ask this question again: Are there places and activities you would personally recommend for attendees of SIGGRAPH Asia 2017 Bangkok conference this November?
Sukanya: November is a good time to be in Thailand as the temperature is getting cooler. Since the conference venue is on the BTS Train line, going into the city is very easy. For shopping and some fancy food, just take the BTS train and get off at Siam or Chidlom station. You will find nice shopping centers in those areas. If you’d like to learn about culture and history of Thailand, I would recommend Muangboran (The Ancient City). It is an open-air museum that replicates and combines many prominent places in Thailand such as temples, palaces and historic sites from early history of Thailand in one place. The replicas are done very nicely and preserve the original architectural characteristics well.
SIGGRAPH Asia 2017: The 10th ACM SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in Asia will take place in Bangkok, Thailand at The Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC) from 27 – 30 November 2017.
The submission deadlines* of the Symposiums are:
· Symposium on Education – 13 June 2017
· Symposium on Mobile Graphics & Interactive Applications – 21 June 2017
· Symposium on Visualization – 29 June 2017
* The submission time for all deadlines is 23:59 UTC/GMT.
For more information, please visit https://sa2017.siggraph.org/submitters