Turning an Entire Classroom into a Digital Space! What Is Co-Creation between the University of Tokyo and Fujitsu?

2020 Education Reforms to Change School Education

In 2020, the implementation of the High School/University Articulation Reforms (the University Entrance Exam Reforms) will begin. The reforms will include abilities that students should acquire before starting high school such as the ability to think, judge, express themselves and act proactively, in addition to knowledge and skills. This will probably have the biggest impact on Japanese education since the Joint First Stage Achievement Test (the predecessor to the National Center Test for University Admissions) was introduced in 1979.

These reforms will cause a major shift in school education, which develops children who will become future leaders.
Traditionally, an emphasis has been placed on assessing students' understanding of what they learned. However, going forward, it will be required not only to acquire knowledge and skills, but while harnessing them in the real world, to think and express oneself.

Initiative to Solve Issues with Collaborative Learning and Active Learning

In order to develop such abilities, primary and junior high schools have adopted collaborative and active learning methods in their classes. Collaborative learning refers to a learning style where students teach and learn from one another, whereas active learning refers to a learning method where students actively engage in learning. Both methods are aimed at making improvements so that students not only utilize knowledge, but also have the ability to think, judge, and express themselves.

However, collaborative learning currently involves using paper, pencils, and blackboards, which makes it difficult to understand the process leading to generating results. In addition, objective assessments of the active learning method and group working are difficult.

Creative Digital Space Enables Discussions Involving All Participants

In these circumstances, the University of Tokyo and Fujitsu has been conducting a field trial to achieve collaborative learning and active learning using our Creative Digital Space User-Interface (UI) technology, which turns an entire room into a digital space, as a class at the Secondary School associated to the Faculty of Education, the University of Tokyo.

The Creative Digital Space technology is proprietary to Fujitsu. Multiple sets of projectors and cameras are deployed in a classroom, converting the entire space into a unified digital window system.

Users can transmit information from smart devices they bring with them to the virtual screens projected onto desks and walls, and can take notes on digital sticky notes and share them between users. In addition, text can be written in the digital space with an electronic pen and images and sticky notes can be moved in the space by flicking them, thereby providing a working space involving all participants.

For this field trial, a new technology was developed to visualize data on activities carried out in a space created by our Creative Digital Space technology. The technology involves collecting students' group research results, notes on digital sticky notes, and their creation and operation during collaborative learning classes in chronological order. The communication flow of "who shared what information when, and how group members reacted to it" is visualized on the dashboard.

Teachers use data obtained in the class for review and work to stimulate collaborative and active learning. In addition, the data obtained is analyzed by AI in order to develop a technology to improve communication and verify its effectiveness.

To Foster Creativity

The visualization of collaborative and active learning makes it possible to understand individual students' activities and the entirety of the process toward the achievement of learning goals, and we believe that this will lead to the establishment of new learning methods. In addition, it is also possible to provide opportunities to further foster students' creative abilities through classes.

Fujitsu and the University of Tokyo conducted research on the collaborative learning method and focused on the effectiveness of ICT utilization. Since fiscal 2017, we have conducted collaborative learning in a classroom where our Creative Digital Space technology has been deployed. Going forward, we will develop technologies to improve teaching environments, stimulate communication, and strive to provide services that can be used both in schools and in business.