As society becomes more complex and difficult to predict, it is becoming increasingly important for children of the future to be able to "identify society's challenges themselves and act positively to find solutions." Panasonic, which has for a long time contributed to society with the power of science and technology, has adopted the "STEAM education" approach to create content and provide a playground for learning.
Since the company was established, for over a century, Panasonic has continued to develop technologies to deliver products and services that help enrich people's lives. And it will continue to do its utmost to realize a better world together with engineers who share that passion. With respect to education for the coming generation, disinterest in science is a common trend among children in developed countries, so STEAM education has become progressively important, and the situation continues to change by the minute.
Panasonic, too, is staying agile, changing and finding the way as times change, as it undertakes activities to support the education of the future generation.
According to the academic performance survey conducted by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) in 32 countries back in 2000, Japan was ranked No.1 in mathematical literacy and No.2 after Korea in scientific literacy. However, after 2003, it continued to decline in the rankings, and by 2006, among 57 countries and regions it was No.10 in mathematical literacy and No.6 in scientific literacy. As a result, there was an urgent need for the nation to commit itself to improving mathematical and scientific education.
To respond to such social challenges, in 2006 Panasonic established the experiential museum, "RiSuPia," within the Panasonic Center Tokyo in Ariake Tokyo, to provide children a place to experience the allure of math and science. Before the museum was established, Panasonic had constructed, for example, facilities where children could experience cutting-edge technologies, organized factory tours and workshops for creating batteries and notebook PCs, but this was the first facility that Panasonic had ever created that focused on providing supplemental math and science education. For 14 years, Panasonic has continued to periodically update the content offered, and welcomed a total of approximately 4.6 million students, educators, and parents. It has help children along the journey of discovery, helping them unravel the mysteries of math and science.
RiSuPia, which received support from a great many people over the years, has closed as of December 2020 to be reborn as a new facility. But you can still enjoy the content on the app and the archive site below.
Examples of how content showcased at RiSuPia became an app.
Following in the footsteps of RiSuPia Tokyo, Panasonic opened another such facility in an emerging country, the "Panasonic Risupia Vietnam" in Hanoi in 2010. The opening ceremony welcomed Mr. Nguyen Thien Nhan, the Deputy Prime Minister at the time, as well as many other distinguished guests, and drew much attention. The content featured is in alignment with the local school curriculum, and Panasonic also added a "water" zone where children can also learn about the global environment. Through these efforts, Panasonic is helping educate the future generation of children in Vietnam.
The STEAM education approach is being adopted in many countries and regions as an advanced form of math and science education. This new method is based on STEM education, which focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, but with the addition of Art.
As represented by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations, the world today is facing a truly diverse range of issues. Things are changing at a dizzying pace, and various events are intricately linked nowadays. Bearing this in mind, what kind of solutions does the society need? In a way, there is no right answer to this question. But tackling this problem by thinking about things with a multifaceted view, drawing on knowledge from different fields of study, and coming up with an output - this kind of ability cannot be easily acquired simply through one-way teaching methods. What we need is a new educational approach that will help children identify the issues themselves and take action to find solutions.
As such, Panasonic will reinvent RiSuPia into a new facility more suited to promoting STEAM education. This new facility, "AkeruE" will open in April 2021.
AkeruE will go beyond the traditional one-way exhibits and education, and place importance on providing "experiences" to children, so that they may come up with ideas and create things. It will be a place that will fuel curious, inquisitive minds and help nurture young talent capable of generating innovative ideas and things. Moreover, AkeruE will aspire to become a facility where young adults and parents can have fun and learn as well. Panasonic will also create a "co-education community" that will deliberate on the future of education by working with guardians, local residents, and educators.
Every era needs talents that can think positively and voluntarily come up with solutions. Panasonic hopes that the place of discovery and contents that it creates will provide children experiences that they can learn from, be inspired by, so that in 10, 20 years' time they will be playing an active part solving a wide range of society's issues and making a better world. Panasonic will continue to contribute to society by delivering optimal solutions to encourage children to take creative action and by providing education assistance to nurture future generation of talents.
On April 3, 2021, Panasonic's creative museum, "AkeruE" will open within Panasonic Corporation's communication hub, the Panasonic Center Tokyo (located at Ariake 3-5-1, Koto-ku, Tokyo).
Based on the STEAM education approach, the museum will cover an extensive range of themes and introduce scientific content that will nurture intelligence and artistic content that will nurture sensibility. Moreover, the museum will organize workshops and be equipped with spaces for generating ideas and creating things so that children will be given an opportunity to give shape to their ideas.
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