“R” for STEAM education. Inquiry-type learning in the coming era that enhances learning from mistakes-making IT closer to you.Softbank news

Toward the arrival of Society 5.0, an educational policy has been set up to help children acquire the ability to survive in the future, and new initiatives are being taken in the field of education.

“STREAM Challenge 2021 National Convention” to announce the contents of exploratory STREAM education, which is an advanced form of STEAM education, and the learning results to the person in charge of SoftBank Robotics, which is promoting the education business using the humanoid robot “Pepper”. I heard about the state of the program and the newly launched education business.

Mr. Miyakita

SoftBank Robotics Corp.
Business Development Headquarters New Business Development Section Humanoid Business Department Strategic Planning Section

Yukinori Miyakita

SoftBank Robotics Corp.
Business Development Headquarters New Business Development Section Humanoid Business Department Strategic Planning Section

Long 﨑 thorough

It’s different from the class you take while sitting in a chair. “STREAM education” where you can demonstrate your individuality while feeling the connection with society

Please tell us the background behind the need for inquiry-based learning.

Miyakita: In today’s world where technologies such as AI, big data, IoT, and robotics are becoming more sophisticated and industry and society are undergoing major changes, the environment surrounding children is changing at a tremendous speed, but the educational field has been around for nearly 150 years. The style of teachers standing on the podium and children sitting down to take classes has continued. On the other hand, when we enter society, the surrounding environment is changing at a tremendous speed, and it may be that we cannot respond well to such changes with conventional education alone.

From such a sense of crisis, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has decided to incorporate exploratory learning and STEAM education so that it can acquire the ability to respond to new issues and changes in the environment and find answers on its own. Through education, we practice the thoughts and activities of finding the problem in front of us and how to solve it. You can’t do it suddenly without practice.

What is STEAM education?

An educational method that integrates the five elements of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Arts. Initially, it was an element of design and sensibility, but in recent years it is also considered to be an element of culture, which means fundamental thinking and knowledge. In STEAM education, we do not classify humanities and sciences, but develop the ability to utilize the learning of each subject in a cross-cutting manner to solve problems in the real world.

How is it different from previous school lessons?

Miyakita: The inquiry process consists of four stages. First, we set issues, collect information, organize and analyze the collected information, and summarize and express it. Knowledge can be easily obtained by using technology, so it is important not to focus on it, but how to utilize the information obtained. You can dig deeper into things that your children are interested in, or investigate from a new perspective. The teacher does not “teach” because the children’s learning becomes spontaneous and progresses steadily when the purpose is set. In the first place, even if the teacher does not know something, we can look up the answer by ourselves. It is completely different from the lessons that we adults imagine, and it is difficult to actually proceed with learning. Teachers themselves, who used to study all at once, are also required to change their consciousness.

Nagasaki: The reaction of the children is also interesting. Children who were quiet in their usual lessons participated very lively, and solved problems by making the best use of their respective fields of expertise. Teachers have said that they were able to discover a new side of the children.

What is “STREAM education” in SoftBank Robotics?

Miyakita: The term STREAM education has begun to be used in various places, but the content is not yet unified. The STREAM education we consider is basically the same as the STEAM education, but the perspectives of Robotics, Reality, and Reviewing are included in the “R”. We want children to get to know society, and we emphasize connectivity with society. In the STREAM Challenge, which we will introduce later, we will receive feedback from experts about each presentation as a practice of reality and reviewing. There is a mechanism.

Nagasaki: I want you to engage in exploratory learning while having fun. We use Pepper as a programming material to practice the STREAM education we think of, but when we look at the lessons, we can see that everyone is very active. Since we work on solving social issues that have no correct answer, we have a wide variety of ideas, and it is essential to communicate with those around us, such as which ideas to adopt and how to express them. In the process of executing them, you can naturally divide the roles and demonstrate the abilities that each individual is good at. By doing so, while positively accepting the differences in their abilities, a synergistic effect will be created in which they develop each other’s abilities. It will improve the quality of education for the entire school.

There are various ways to solve social issues. STREAM Challenge National Tournament

It’s a programming contest that has been held every year, even though the name has changed for several years. What kind of competition is it?

Miyakita: As a place for “summary and expression,” which is the fourth cycle in the inquiry-based learning process, we have held a national convention in which children from all over the country who are conducting programming education using Pepper can participate. It was. It is an important step in completing the learning process over a period of time, and having clear goals also motivates children to engage in learning more motivated.

I think the important point is that the goal is to announce the learning process and its results, rather than competing for skills such as “I made such a great game.”

I think it was difficult to hold this year’s tournament as usual.

Nagasaki: Until now, in the so-called contest format, qualifying rounds were held within each local government, and each winning team participated in the national tournament to decide the ranking. All the announcements of the final examination were of a high level. However, there was also the issue that only some high-level teams could participate even though the learning process was completed.

Miyakita: In Corona, it was difficult for local governments to qualify, and in the first place, there were places where inquiry-based learning itself could not proceed as expected. Therefore, this year, we decided to hold a learning presentation at each school, and apart from that, we decided to set up a challenge place where those who want to participate in the national competition can freely enter with videos. Even if the format changed, each was a wonderful presentation. At this tournament, I think there are many efforts that strongly feel the desire to be useful for someone. As with the tournaments up to last year, the teams that make good works have very good teamwork, and I feel that they set their own tasks and worked while involving the people around them.

I am very grateful to the teachers who continued their educational activities with children first, even in the severe situation of Corona, and to all the students who worked on it. I think we were able to overcome restrictions such as remote holding by using technology, and we were also able to build a scheme to assign experts who give feedback. Next year, we will make it a place to announce more meaningful results, so I hope that you will work on your learning with the goal of participating in the competition.

Click here for the STREAM Challenge 2021 National Tournament

You can fail as many times as you like. Pepper is a teaching material suitable for inquiry-based learning

What is the background behind SoftBank Robotics’ focus on education?

Nagasaki: I think we in the robot industry are keenly aware that in order to improve society, we need the ability to solve problems and think about ways to coexist with robots. Since there is a material called Pepper that is suitable for education, I would like you to provide it to children who will lead the next generation and develop the ability to respond to change through exploratory learning. We also want children who have access to the same information as adults to use real teaching materials thanks to ICT. I think it is meaningful for companies to participate in educational activities to be able to provide what is actually used in society like Pepper.

Why is Pepper suitable for inquiry-based learning?

Miyakita: Being a humanoid and being a commercial communication robot. Children can easily evaluate the results of programming because they can feel that people would make such movements and reactions. In addition, since it is already active in social life, there is also an environment where you can install it in a place where you can actually move it and use it to receive feedback from the field. It can be said that it is a teaching material suitable for active learning, which allows you to carry out activities that are calculated backwards for the purpose of solving social issues, rather than simply programming and moving things.

Learning with Pepper is more about the idea of ​​how to communicate with Pepper to solve problems, rather than refining techniques. In addition to programming skills, you will be able to use the knowledge you have learned in Japanese and society.

Isn’t it difficult to program if it is used for commercial purposes?

Nagasaki: Programming is compatible with everything from simple to advanced, so you can do it from about the 4th grade of elementary school. There are various ways to proceed with the lessons, but for example, first have them watch a demo of Pepper at an event, etc., and have them learn the technique while disassembling how it works. In the process, I will try the technology while thinking “Is it possible to do this?”, And I will be able to handle it to some extent in 4 to 5 hours.

Miyakita: Programming education is an education that admits failure and enhances learning from there. Compared to physically made things such as cooking and crafts, you can easily recover even if you make a mistake. I hope you will enjoy the mistakes and make a lot of trial and error.

What is the new pillar of the business, “Pepper for Education”?

Nagasaki: Up until now, we have been conducting business within the framework of social contribution, but along with sales for home and commercial use, we have decided to offer it as “Pepper for Education” in order to expand it widely to educational sites. It was. This is because I have gained experience by implementing the “Pepper Social Contribution Program” up to version 2, and decided that it can be used not only by local governments but also by private schools and private education companies nationwide.

In terms of services, we have strengthened the service of “Pepper for Education” by providing customized services such as training for teachers and programming courses. We also provide advisory when creating an educational curriculum. For example, if there is a voice that it is difficult to introduce a lesson, we can join you in the lesson and help the children by asking questions when starting learning.

Miyakita: Inquiry-based learning is exciting for adults as well. We will continue to contribute to school reform through our business.

(Posted on: April 19, 2021)
Sentence: Softbank News Editorial Department

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