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Interac Releases Original Digital Materials
Interac released original digital materials on its website, including songs, worksheets, videos, and seminars. These allow students to learn at home and assist teachers in planning lessons.
Background: Changing educational IT situation
COVID-19 had a large impact on education in Japan. Schools closed from March to May, with some even to June. There were fewer opportunities for students to study and interact with others. Even now that school has restarted, students and teachers are adapting to the “new normal.”
At the same time, Japan has been slow to adopt IT in education. Many schools have a screen in class, and a PC per several students. The “GIGA School” plan, recently launched by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT), promises to provide one tablet device per student by March 2021. The idea is that students could use the Internet for study and learning.
Actions: Release of digital materials and online video
Interac developed its first digital education products years ago, for schools where not every teacher had expertise in English. Sensing the need, Interac released new materials for students and teachers. Digital songs for grades 1-4 and worksheets for grades 5-6 are on the Interac website. (For details, please check the article “Interac Collaborates with the Largest Textbook Company in Japan.”)
On the official YouTube channel, Interac uploaded short videos for students, bases on textbooks and the course of study. Contents range from 3rd grade to senior high school levels. This content allows students to learn at home at their own pace. It also gives Japanese teachers ideas for lesson planning.
On-demand webinars for Japanese teachers are also online. These explain administrative details about working with ALTs. Usually, Interac branch staff would explain this in person, but due to COVID-19, they deliver the content online. This is also convenient for review by teachers in local schools.
Going forward: Promoting digital education
Even without COVID-19, IT transformation is part of Japanese education. Modernization of devices and networks for schools and students will come along with their use in classrooms. Interac continues to develop first-in-market materials and helps enrich through education.