Sep 11, 2018

Academy Camp 2018 Summer "OK Google, Do My Homework!" Term 1

Solving a puzzle, competing against computers
Solving a puzzle, competing against computers

Please find a Japanese version of this report here.

We have held our first summer camp this year on Aug. 4-8 at Shonan Fujisawa Campus (SFC), Keio University, in Fujisaway City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The camp was named "OK Google, Do My Homework!" Term 1, where we tried to automate children's homework such as math drills and book reports, through which we let children learn by experiments what can and cannot be automated in the context of human intellectual activities with today's technology.

Surely those 25 elementary, junior high and high school students who participated in this camp enjoyed getting (although they are just modelled versions and not their real) homework automatically done, but it does not mean that they were lazy. They went through "unplugged machine learning" experience with matchsticks, solved puzzles competing with computers just to see that computers are better at those things, and had fun with many team-building games in which they also learned what it is like to conduct a scientific research (repetitively verifying and refining their hypotheses).

We also visited Maker Faire Tokyo 2018 where children communicated with those people who are into making new things, especially with electronics. We believe that it was both fun and educating.

On the last two days, we let children think about setting homework for their own future. First, we showed them SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) although these goals are more like cleaning up what older generations have done to the Earth and our society. We urged children to define and build their own happiness and future. We hope that this camp was a good opportunity for the participants to feel the changes in the world and to feel like being a part of those changes.

 

SUPPORT US ON GLOBALGIVING BONUS DAY on SEPT. 12-13

Please support us continue to support those wonderful children getting ready for the future, through GlobalGiving's bonus day campaign, where $50,000 incentive fund is proportionally matched so that every donation from you counts. The campaign starts at 00:00:00 ET on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 (13:00:00 on Sept. 12 in Japan), and lasts 33-hours, ending at 8:59:59 ET on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 (21:59:59 on Sept. 13 in Japan). Please join us, and let's make difference together.

Visiting TOKYO BIG SIGHT to see Maker Faire Tokyo
Visiting TOKYO BIG SIGHT to see Maker Faire Tokyo
Team struggles to stand on a small sheet in a game
Team struggles to stand on a small sheet in a game
Girl-only table formed ad-lib talks gender issues
Girl-only table formed ad-lib talks gender issues
After setting themselves homework for future
After setting themselves homework for future
Bye now, but will see you all again
Bye now, but will see you all again

Links:

Jun 21, 2018

Our Dreams Come True - Academy Camp 2018 Summer

From 2011 Summer - Some Will Come Back as Leaders
From 2011 Summer - Some Will Come Back as Leaders
Please find a Japanese version of this report here.

This summer, again, we will hold two camps at Shonan Fujisawa Campus, Keio University in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture, each welcoming up to 24 elementary, junior-high and high school students in Fukushima.

This is the 8th summer for Academy Camp. Those children who were sixth graders at our very first camp in August 2011, the year we had the Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear disaster, have graduated from high school this spring, and some are now university or college students. In the hope that some of them will come back to Academy Camp as student volunteers, we have made our call for volunteers go public earlier this year, with overwhelming results.

So far, three of those past participants from our very first year as elementary school kids are coming back as volunteers this year, and will take care of participants from Fukushima as leaders. It had happened before for those who were junior high school students in 2011, but this year, we welcome a younger generation. We have always dreamed of this summer of year 2018, in which we expected that something like this would happen. This is one of our dreams come true!

This summer, Academy Camp will also make children's dreams come true - we will try automating homework! In "Academy Camp 2018 Summer - OK Google, Do My Homework!" (yes, that’s the official name of the two summer camps this year) we will make challenges on how modeled versions of children's homework for summer holidays (in Japan, children do have homework for summer holidays), such as math drills and book reports, can be automated.

But why would we want to do that? Do we want to make those children lazy?

Quite contrary. Automating things is hard, and it requires some expert knowledge of the things being automated. We hope that participants will in the end reach deeper understanding of what they learn at schools. Of course, the camps will include lots of fun activities!

As usual, we have opened our call for participation, and our capacity for the two camps are quickly getting filled.

Will Make Study Fun Through Automation
Will Make Study Fun Through Automation
Will Go Out in Yokohama and Tokyo, Too
Will Go Out in Yokohama and Tokyo, Too

Links:

Mar 26, 2018

Academy Camp You Decide (2018 Winter)

Building a House of Candy
Building a House of Candy

Please find a Japanese version of this report here.

During the three-day weekend in this February in Japan, from Saturday, 10th to Monday, 12th, we held our first "Academy Camp You Decide" as this year's winter camp. The camp was located at Shonan Fujisawa Campus (SFC), Keio University (in Fujisawa City), with 17 children participating from Fukushima, three of which are high school students who helped the camp as "sub-leader" staff members.

Prior to the camp, we asked the participants and staff members what they would want to do during the camp, as this camp was a trial to let children decide everything they do, because in the coming age of artificial intelligence, most of our activities will be supported by AI and robots, and we suspect that what is left for human being will be just our ability to decide. Our intention is to make this camp a "preadaptation" stage for such a future the children would experience.

Under the promise "never listen to anyone over 30 years of age" while even this promise they did not need to keep, the camp started with an icebreaking program they decided to improvise. A room was reserved for the purpose, but children went out and played hide-and-seek and tag in the university campus.

On the second day, they went shopping, and made houses (or some unknown structures) of candy. Then they "sweded" (created video work with hand-made props and costumes made out of card boxes and such) their visions of the future. Young staff members responded children's request to go for a night walk by improvising an adventurous activity to find and pick a hidden picture one of them drew.

On the final day of the camp, we enjoyed the outcome of the camp: tasted the houses made of candy, and watched videos they created.

We hope that this camp was full of surprises for the children. As they decided what to do in the camp, we wish that they surprised themselves. For them to live through the exponentially changing technological and social environment, we hope they go full-speed ahead for their future.

Playing Hide-and-Seek at the University Campus
Playing Hide-and-Seek at the University Campus
An Adventure at Night to Pick Right Pictures
An Adventure at Night to Pick Right Pictures
Previewing the "Sweded" Futuristic Video They Made
Previewing the "Sweded" Futuristic Video They Made
Unexpectedly the Winner of the Candy House Match
Unexpectedly the Winner of the Candy House Match
"Full-Speed Ahead!" for Their Future
"Full-Speed Ahead!" for Their Future

Links:

 
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