Teaching Programming Classes at Schools
CA Tech Kids conducts programming classes at elementary schools across Japan. In these classes, students learn basic concepts related to controlling computers by developing simple games with Scratch, software made for learning programming. Comments from children who have taken the classes include: “Until now I only played video games, but I learned that I can make them too,” and “I understood that programming and other technologies make our world more convenient.”
CA Tech Kids also holds a variety of new practical classes at primarily pilot and private elementary schools and intends to give back the results in preparation for programming becoming compulsory in 2020.
Initiatives With Local Government
CA Tech Kids is working to create programming education opportunities across Japan through local government outsourcing and various partnerships.
The activities carried out as part of these partnerships include offering workshops for children organized by local governments, training and development programs for instructors, offering policy assistance to city government and councils, and company visits by politicians and educators. Since CA Tech Kids’ establishment in 2013, it has worked with local governments large and small in places such as Tokunoshima-cho in Kagoshima Prefecture, Matsudo-shi, Hikone-shi, Osaka-shi, Tsukuba-shi, Rikuzentakata-shi, Seto-shi, Fujisawa-shi and Shimabara-shi.
Information on Initiatives in Tokunoshima Town, Kagoshima Prefecture
School Faculty and Staff Training
One major challenge being faced with programming education becoming compulsory in 2020 is the lack of educators that can teach programming. CA Tech Kids is working to resolve this by offering training to school faculty and local government staff and explaining the meaning of compulsory programming education. In addition, the company conducts practical training using programming software for children to promote an understanding of the subject in faculty and staff and help them acquire the skills needed to teach it.
CA Tech Kids is also conducting research activities in partnership with universities and other research organizations to deal with the various challenges related to compulsory programming education in elementary schools. It started researching related curriculum standards in collaboration with Masataka Isobe laboratory at the Aichi University of Education in 2014. Since 2017, the company has also been conducting research into ways to utilize programming in other subjects in partnership with Professor Naoki Kato laboratory at the Tokyo University of the Arts. Through academic conference presentations, publishing and conducting open research classes, the results of this research will be given back to society at large.
Tomohiro Ueno, CA Tech Kids’ President, is himself involved in policy advocacy to spread and develop programming education in Japan. Part of his advocacy work includes serving as a member of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s “Advisory Council on Fostering Logical Thinking, Creativity and Problem Solving and Programming Education at the Elementary School Level” and its “Round Table Committee and Working Group on Fundamental Issues Related to Computerized Education in the 2020s.”
In April 2016, he attended the “Fifth Meeting for Public-Private Dialogue Towards Investment for the Future” and presented his views regarding programming education to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other cabinet ministers and government officials. Following this, the prime minister officially announced that programming would become compulsory in Japanese elementary schools from 2020.