Japan is within the top ten countries ranked for education, but like all first world countries the onset of COVID-19 has thrown the system into disarray. Schools and educators alike are scrambling to adapt to a new normal where health conditions have to be strenuously checked and class numbers kept low to prevent clusters forming.
On the downside, the disruption to the regular academic year has not only impacted education, but social life and even family income. Parents have found it challenging to raise their family while maintaining a steady salary. Those few who can work from home are still tasked with keeping their children fed and in study mode.
With all these challenges it IS hard to see the upside, but there is one. Like all difficult times there is an opportunity for change.
The Japanese educational while good is very rigid and slow to adapt to the times. As early as 2010, when the first tablets first started coming out, Japan’s contemporaries in Europe and North America started to adopt new methods that integrated the new tech. Eventually similar methods were adopted here, but it was a struggle to keep up. And now with COVID we’ve seen another chance to adopt even newer methods that’ll stand the test of emergencies such as this and beyond: Enter Adaptive Education.
Teachers at Nihon Gakuen have been brainstorming new ideas to make the process of learning more robust and capable of handling everything from typhoons, to natural disasters and even school closures.
It’s more than just recording lectures and making them available on YouTube or Zoom conferences. It’s using Google Suite to setup and conduct virtual classes and quizzes or Kahoot! to play games to test student knowledge and retention. It’s using Switcher to conduct virtual open campuses. Everyday new and innovative apps are produced that can potentially improve the learning experience be it in a classroom, at home or even somewhere in between.
In this instance the term 創発学 doesn’t only apply to students, but teachers as well: The emergence of something uniquely NichiGaku. The opportunities are endless.
And this is only the beginning. With bandwidth being cheap and most of Japan wired for this sort of setup, Adaptive Education may well be the next step towards the evolution of the Japanese education system. As teachers it is also our goal to help seek it out and make it a reality. But as I’ve said before, only time will tell.