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Scratch Home Pilot Lessons Hail New Era in Programming Education

Osaka, Japan - Panasonic has been developing new methods in teaching programming to transform the home into a creative playground, Panasonic started this project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2018 and has adopted "Scratch," a programming software developed by MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten Group.

Scratch is an educational programming language for children primarily between the ages of 8 and 16. Not only does it teach programming and code, it is a widely used creative learning community with over 60 million users (as of September 2020).

Using Scratch, Panasonic has developed a prototype of an oven toaster that can be controlled via programming (hereafter referred to as the Scratch oven toaster). The Scratch oven toaster is the first prototype, and Panasonic intends to expand the line-up of programmable home appliances.

Moreover, Panasonic developed a new programming curriculum that combines cooking trial and error with knowledge about chemistry and biology. On November 6, 2020, a pilot study was held at the Kosei Junior High School in Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture, to test this curriculum in an actual educational setting.

The educational approach, STEAM Education that integrates Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics is spreading rapidly around the world. And programming, which is central to this approach, will become compulsory in elementary schools in Japan from the 2020 school year and from 2021 in junior high schools. The current programming education focuses on physics and mathematics presented in an engaging way using games and robots.

In contrast, the Scratch oven toaster can provide new learning that correlates knowledge about chemistry and biology to cooking such as heating and food preparation.

As IoT technologies continue to be integrated into people's homes, not only will people be able to enjoy greater convenience, but they will also be able to hone and upgrade that convenience themselves. In the pilot study, Panasonic tested the effectiveness of the prototype as a creative way to learn in the home and will utilize its findings to continue to develop services that better people's lives.

Overview of the pilot study using the Scratch oven toaster

  • Location: Cooking Classroom of the Kosei Junior High School in Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture
  • Dates: October 2, 28, 30, November 6; All students in 9th grade (14-15 years old) (4 classes took part on different days)
  • - Description: Students envision their ideal cookie and use programming to bake the cookies through trial and error. They will learn about chemistry and biology through cooking.

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