Hirokazu Kawano, a teacher at Setagaya Elementary School (a school affiliated with Tokyo Gakugei University) is teaching a class to fourth graders that incorporates iPads as part of a research project. Mr. Kawano is participating in our proof-of-concept activities for the real-time lesson support app MetaMoJi Share for ClassRoom that our company is developing. Recently, we stopped by to see him use the app in his lesson and ask him about his experiences.
Hirokazu Kawano, teacher at Setagaya Elementary School.
Working together to make a newspaper. The children handle the app smoothly.
In the lesson we observed, the children formed groups of four and made a newspaper to present to the class. Their newspapers were on the theme of garbage-related issues that students had researched. "The ease of collecting garbage", "things that can be recycled" and other themes were chosen by the children in each group, and they used a newspaper template in MetaMoJi Share for ClassRoom, inserting the articles and illustrations made by the members of the group.
The teacher uses the "Monitoring" function within MetaMoJi Share for ClassRoom to check the progress of the children's writing in real time. It was the first day that one iPad per student was made available, but they learned how to use the app immediately, and quickly made one article after another.
By using the monitoring feature, the teacher can see all the students’ activity at a glance.
Mr. Kawano says he had already been looking for an app geared towards students. Analog things like poster paper and sticky notes that are usually used in classrooms are difficult to preserve, and taking a photo to print out and distribute to everyone takes time. The fact that it's hard to take it all in at a glance is one more trouble spot, he says. Additionally, Mr. Kawano's specialty is science, and he said another drawback was that having each student give an oral presentation in front of the class often meant they would run short on class time. We asked Mr. Kawano for his impressions about the app and this is what he said.
Preparing the projector display for the presentations.
"MetaMoJi Share for ClassRoom is a good app. By using this, I can put out a lot of information at one time, so I can reduce the time needed for the children's presentations. Also, everyone can do some kind of work all at once, so the children don't have to be passive bystanders. When they get that feeling of participation, it makes them more eager to learn, so they are less likely to become a free rider. You could say the design concept itself is educationally minded. By using this app, I think it helps to let students know that their teacher values their opinions."
He also told us about another benefit to students. "There are some students who have trouble concentrating on their schoolwork, but many of those kids like electronics, and it helps to change their attitude. Some kids may have trouble focusing with a paper and pen, but with a tool like this, they can calm down and work. It's a good tool for children like that."
Mr. Kawano says, "You could say the design concept itself is educationally minded."
Mr. Kawano says that his reason for using ICT in education is not for drilling students. The "C" in ICT stands for communication. He says that having students use these tools helps to promote ICT, and this training helps to nurture skills that they can use in real life after school. In fact, he said, he felt that the students perceived the iPad and MetaMoJi Share for ClassRoom as an extension of their tools of pen and paper.
Finally, we asked him about the possibilities for lessons that use MetaMoJi Share for ClassRoom. "Under the new government curriculum guidelines, the ability to see oneself objectively - metacognition abilities - will be emphasized. They say we should use ICT to help with this, and by accumulating pages students have made in MetaMoJi Share for ClassRoom, I think it will be very easy for them to understand their learning process. Things like notebooks and printouts physically take up a lot of space, but with digital it doesn't get scattered and lost, which is one big merit. Also, with the usual lesson format, children raise their hands and take turns speaking, and we pass notebooks back and forth, but by using this tool, we can change the way we communicate. I think that both instructors and children will be able to expand the possibilities of implementing what they want to do."
MetaMoJi Share for ClassRoom is based on the realtime collaborative editing app MetaMoJi Share (formerly Share Anytime) that has already been used in corporations, universities, and government meetings. At schools, MetaMoJi Note (formerly Note Anytime) is already valued highly for the ease at which students can intuitively use the app to write notes by hand. MetaMoJi Share for ClassRoom has the same ease of use, and in the way MetaMoJi Share makes it easy for several people to write and edit together, with this new app, there are functions that are useful for the kind of collaborative study that is valued in the classroom.
Please consider it for your school’s ICT instruction. This new product was released in February, 2015. For details, see the product page.
Scenes of classes using MetaMoJi Share for ClassRoom have been published in "ICT Kyoiku News" and "Mac Fan". Check out these articles for more information.