Hands-on Science Learning Opportunities
Toshiba has leveraged its technological expertise to contribute to the development of society by distributing a wide range of electronic products to the world. This is how we concentrate our strength on promoting science-technology education for the youth to further develop society.
Recently in Japan, the decline of children's motivation to learn has become a growing concern. Not only the country, but also education-related incorporated nonprofit organizations have been working fervently toward the qualitative repletion of the science and mathematics education that is the foundation of science and technology.
Meanwhile, hands-on science education focused on a passion for science and motivation to learn born from experiences full of surprises and excitement has currently been gaining traction. Toshiba is collaborating with Real Science, an NPO, headed by Dr. Jin Akiyama, to support the development and promotion of experience-based science education programs, working to foster individuals able to contribute to the international community through science.
Workshops for Instructors
We are promoting the diffusion of experienced-based science education programs aimed at teachers and other personnel involved in the field of education through initiatives including holding experience-based science education forums and conducting teacher training at the request of Boards of Education and other organizations throughout the country. One of these teacher training initiatives is the "Real Science Meister" course, which seeks to foster science education experts ("Real Science Meister") who focus on the process of learning through experience rather than mere cramming, and who possess the expertise required to develop the powers of inspiration, conceptualization, and creativity that are so important for children.
Workshops for Children
Through initiatives including the Toshiba Science Museum • Real Science Explorers, events held at the Hachilabo Science Center for Children in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward, and various outdoor experience-based activities, we are communicating the fascination of science, mathematics, and arithmetic to children via experience-based science education programs, with a focus on the GEMS program,* which has produced excellent results in the U.S. In specific terms, we organize the Real Science Explorers who meet at the Toshiba Science Museum, for which most of the teachers and assistants are volunteers from the Toshiba Group, hold science classes at the Hachilabo Science Center for Children, participate in outdoor experience-based activities organized by the Real Science Education Institute (including camps at Tsugaike, trips to observe flying squirrels, beach seine, and other activities), conduct visiting classes for elementary and junior high school students, and arrange other classes and events.
(*) GEMS stands for Great Explorations in Math and Science, a program developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley to offer experience-based science education to children from kindergarten to high school age. GEMS has a history of more than 20 years, and is in actual use in 10% of U.S. schools. GEMS curricula cover the entire range of the sciences, and can be implemented anywhere, using familiar materials. Teacher's manuals make it possible to provide instruction without possessing specialized knowledge.
Development of Experience-based Science Education Curricula
Based on the GEMS concept, we are contributing to the development of curricula for the fostering of Real Science Meister and developing experience-based science education curricula for higher-grade elementary school students in cooperation with Miyamae Elementary School in Kawasaki City, Mitsuike Elementary School, Tokai Elementary School and other schools, and using these curricula in contexts including Classes on Demand.