Japan as a nation has always been one of the most technologically progressive nations from time immemorial.
Extending such a progressive phase to the next level, the nation is again in the glare of spotlight because of its recent industrial and educational practices. It is all set to introduce some decisive reforms into the sphere of education. Such reform is well knit into a nexus of business, science and internationalization and further taking it into a developing progressive initiatives.
Out of the many reforms, one such trend is taking university teaching out of classroom confines and shifting it into the online sphere. Such a shift is of course a trump card for the students as they are facilitated with a supplementary resource which can be utilized by the students while they are at home or are commuting on train or for that matter pursuing long-distance learning.
In the words of Jeffery Cross, a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and one of the those forefront of this movement in Japan, “If a student can’t get to class, they have that material whenever they want. They can control the content. For example, you can play the videos at twice or half speed.” Further he goes onto saying, “We also have captions and so if their English Listening Comprehension isn’t that good they can read text as well as listen to the spoken.”
With a mission to strengthen the online learning environment; Cross and his team is preparing course contents that are friendly to high school students and also encourages them to be more inquisitive and pay attention to how to use the content in the correct manner. From the very beginning, technology education in Japan and the primary teaching methodology was experiential and one that is based on the project method. This gives the students a better chance to explore as well as work on things that are experimental in nature.
What is interesting to note about technology education in Japan is that, they do not simply devote total emphasis on practical sessions but give equal weightage to lectures as well. This is why, we see the technology education class in Japan is organized into both lecture and practice classes. The practice class comprise of laboratory work one that has less students than lecture classes. In the recent times of course some types of projects activities are included to integrate the various technical areas with the lecture content.
Ways to strengthen Technology Education in Japan
Japan has a Vocational Education Promotion Law that got enacted in 1951 and therefore the national government through the Ministry of Education had promoted vocational technical education and encouraged the local government to support facilities for vocational technical education. In every respect of education, the Japan authorities are taking keen interest in knowing more on the best practices of global education systems. With it what the stakeholders of higher education systems are doing is, they are listening to and valuing the connection with groups such as the Educause and paying heed to the school models and university models of not just the elite class but falling under other categories as well.
Course base another prominent Japanese company is working towards managing the education of graduates. This company is helping other companies by offering them a learning management system which assists them to keep a track about- which of their employees have completed what type of training. The platform of course base is also helping companies to decide what it wants its employees to learn and saves much on the expense to transport its employees to a classroom set-up. Rather what companies can do is simply share the online course material automatically through Coursebase system.
Similarly, another company Eigooo is helping Japanese Youth Study English language right on their phone. The purpose of this process is undoubtedly to increase the easily accessibility of key attributes of course learning and besides, it also wants its youth to have English fluency. This is done by allowing the teachers to interact with the students and provide electronic feedback to guide them and improve their accuracy.
Growth of Japan’s Edtech Start-ups
Japan’s Edtech Start-up, Arcterus was all in the headlines as it raised $1M to get students to share their notebooks. Some other prominent Japanese start-up like Mana.bo and ClassDo is into creating smartphone and tablet screen solutions to replace much dependence on physical classroom learning. In fact Arcterus’s service also supplement the education process of Japan. To read more on it, click here
We see the technological progression in education is helping the young students become proficient with technology and most importantly future ready citizens. These students clearly will be more confident in their approach and come up with solutions that are right for the situation and would help the nation tackle any economic or social challenges in a better way.