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Case Studies - Education / Machida City Board of Education

Motivation for Installation

A revision of curriculum guidelines in Japan's elementary schools has made "International Understanding/English" a required course for 5th and 6th graders. However, the reality is that most students have limited opportunities to use English or to have any contact with different cultures in their daily lives. To resolve this, the members of the Machida City Board of Education commissioned a group from Tamagawa University to create a program that would deepen their firsthand understanding of different cultures. Preparations got underway as a combined project between the local Board of Education, universities, and elementary schools, and devices and systems that could be used for the project were reviewed. At the time, Professor Sato from Tamagawa University saw a demo of the HD Visual Communications System and felt sure that the system would be effective. It was installed after a proposal was made to the members of the Machida City Board of Education.

Machida City in Tokyo has been passionate about the advancement of ICT in education from an early stage. For this project, the members of the Machida City Board of Education commissioned a group from the Tamagawa University Liberal Arts Department, and from November 2011, an online international exchange class connected with HD Visual Communications Systems between Machida Minamioya Elementary School and the Experimental Elementary School attached to Taipei Municipal University of Education was implemented.

System Selection Points

The Machida City Board of Education had previously created an international exchange class with schools in Australia using web cameras and e-mail in 2007, but because the computer screens were small, conversations were limited to 2-3 students at a time. In addition, the classes were often disrupted due to an unstable connection. This made it difficult for teachers to maintain a steady tempo and for the students to keep their concentration, reducing its effectiveness. According to Professor Sato, the most important requirement of an international understanding class is that it be a "realistic hands-on experience." So they were searching for a device that could enable all the students in the classroom to participate and interact. The HD Visual Communications System was highly regarded as the optimal system for exchange classes. The screen was large enough to fit all the students into the frame, and the image faithfully conveyed the atmosphere of the room. The images and sound were also clear and reflected even the facial expressions and fine nuances of the people on the screen. Stable communications also prevented any interruptions in transmission, so the session could continue at a natural tempo. The HD Visual Communications System was selected because it met these three prerequisites.

The KX-VC300 installed on a movable system stand.

A stuffed animal is placed under the camcorder to align the students' eye levels.

Installation Effect

On the advice of members of the Tamagawa University Liberal Arts Department, an international exchange class that connected elementary schools in Machida and Taiwan using HD Visual Communications Systems was launched. Active classes are possible by having all of the students in the classrooms participate together. Also, by being able to talk while watching the other students' faces, the reactions are seen in real-time, leading to better paced exchanges. Installation of the HD Visual Communications Systems has dramatically improved the quality of the exchange classes, and has created an interesting and enjoyable experience for the students. The project began with the Machida Minamioya Elementary School as a model school, but there are plans to expand the system to all of the elementary schools in the city in the future, and to review wireless systems that enable the flexible movement of equipment within the school to conduct classes in various locations.

Mr. Tani (left)
Department Chief of the Education Centre,
Machida City Board of Education

Principal Nishioka (centre)
Machida Minamioya Elementary School

Professor Sato (right)
Tamagawa University Liberal Arts Department

System Configuration and Operation

Installed System

  • HD Visual Communications Unit (KX-VC300 + Boundary Microphone)
  • HD Visual Communications Unit (KX-VC500 + Boundary Microphone)
  • 50-inch Plasma Display ... 2 Units