Tokyo Institute of Technology: STEM Education for Younger Generations fund enables another micro:bit programming class

Tokyo Tech utilizes a portion of the generous contributions made to the Tokyo Tech Fund to organize events for the wider community. One area of focus is science education support, which aims to develop intellectual creativity among elementary, middle, and high school students with the help of resources available at the Institute.

On March 7, ten elementary school students and their guardians joined an online programming workshop hosted by Tokyo Tech High School of Science and Technology. This year’s event, the third of its kind, was made possible by the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education for Younger Generations arm of the Tokyo Tech Fund.

Central to the 2021 class was once again micro:bit, an open source hardware ARM-based embedded system designed by the British Broadcasting Corporation for use in computer education. Participants were sent micro:bit modules by post beforehand, which they connected to their home computers during the event. Using basic coding, the child-guardian teams created simple devices that involved displaying letters on their microcomputers, using temperature and acceleration sensors, and executing wireless communication.

This year, a staff member was assigned to each child to ensure sufficient support during the online event. Despite the difficulties caused by COVID-19, the children were able to accomplish the same challenges as they did in past face-to-face events. Feedback from participants — both young and slighter older — was once again very positive.

Supporting change in elementary school
Japan is planning gradually to implement programming as part of elementary school education, and the micro:bit workshops are a part of efforts by Tokyo Tech High School of Science and Technology to prepare both children and their guardians for this change. The goal is to have younger and older generations work together and as a result develop a deeper understanding of modern integrated learning.

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