Online STEAM Education event "-The power to create the future-" event report

On Sunday, May 31, Panasonic Center Tokyo held an online workshop for junior high and high school students. The workshop was about "STEAM education", a key element for future education accompanying the changes in society. Several guests were invited to join the event, and it was broadcasted on YouTube through a live streaming service provided by Panasonic Visuals. Approximately, 20 students took part in the workshop, which was watched by around 160 viewers.
Guests active in STEAM education, including Olympian Katie Ledecky, interacted with the students in English. This report and video with scenes from the workshop are presented to you as a chance to think and understand about STEAM in everyday life.
If you were unable to join in the event, this is a great chance to see what it was all about.

[Part 1] 1) What is STEAM education?

Alex Ikenouchi, event organizer and director of Panasonic Center Tokyo, spoke first about Panasonic's involvement with STEAM Education. "Under the philosophy of 'Make people before making products' by founder Konosuke Matsushita, Panasonic has been engaged in developing the next generation for a long time. Societies are facing increasingly complex issues that have global impacts. The SDGs are goals for the entire world which needs to be achieved by 2030. Educators worldwide are looking to develop STEAM talent as a way to help solve these complicated and diversified issues."

*STEAM education is an educational method advocated by adding Art to "STEM education"; a method to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics comprehensively.

"Make people before making products" is part of Panasonic's DNA
STEAM is capturing attention as type of education to create the future

2) Workshop in groups (interviews with guests)

During the workshop, the students formed four groups to ask the guests a series of questions in an interview-style format. Though they were nervous, the guests gave them kind advice.

  • Akiko Arai, an assistant professor of Marketing at Tokyo University of Science, used a chart to show "how important it is what data you use, how you interpret it or what angles you look at it from, and what theories you build about it." The students keenly took notes on what she said. At the end, she gave them a message of encouragement to "Find your passion!".
  • When one of the students asked Kalaya Kovidvisith, a researcher at MIT media Lab, what to do when facing a problem, she answered that the best thing is to "think carefully and understand what the real essence of that issue is."
  • When Kyle Li, who is based in New York and active in a variety of roles, including creative technologist and designer, was asked why he chose his career, he said that "Taking the good points of graphic design and web design led to my current career. What's important to me is to provide enjoyable and valuable experiences."
  • Panasonic product designer Michael Shadovitz answered the question of how COVID-19 will affect trends by saying that "Digitalization is going to accelerate more than ever. I think the keywords in that will be how design and hardware can flexibly be applied to any other areas."
STEAM professional Akiko.
Theme: Data Champion
STEAM professional Kalaya.
Theme: Designing the Ultimate Prototype
STEAM professional and Panasonic designer Michael.
Theme: Home of the Future
STEAM professional Kyle.
Theme: Game Development Studio

[Part 2] 1) Talk session and questions from the students to Katie Ledecky

From the second part, active Olympian and Panasonic brand ambassador Katie Ledecky joined in to be interviewed by the students.
After Katie's initial talk, she spent the next thirty minutes answering question after question posed online by the fascinated students, including about STEAM education and her career.

When asked by one student "Do you think it's important to have a dream, and why?", she replied with kind advice that "It's very important to have a dream and to have a goal, but it's definitely okay if you don't know exactly what you're passionate about or what your dream is at your age, you're still very young. Don't limit yourself to just one goal, try to look at as many different areas of life and this world as you can. At some point you'll find those one or two or three things that you'll really love. Do not stop looking for those passions and developing those goals and dreams."
When asked what her own dream is, she said with a smile,"My dream right now is to be in Tokyo next year!".

At the end of the event, Katie gave a final message to the participants; "Thank you for joining us today, and for your enthusiasm for today and for the future. I really hope that I will be there in your beautiful country next year."

Katie carefully answering each question from the students with a smile
Our appreciation goes to all the students and guests.

2) Comments and impressions from the questionnaire

The questionnaire given to participants and viewers after the event showed a variety of comments and impressions from their respective positions.
The participating students got a better understanding of STEAM education while also gaining some new ideas through interaction with the globally active guests.

Comments from the participating students

  • I realized that the STEAM professionals reached their current careers through expanding things they liked since their childhood. I learned that STEAM is a way to expand what you like.
  • I was impressed by Katie Ledecky's message, "Don't limit yourself to just one goal, try to look at as many different fields in life as you can."

Comments from educators

  • Personally I thought it was wonderful to see talented young people expanding their potential beyond national or regional boundaries through programs like the FabCafe. In Japan, we still haven't developed environments which make us aware that learning English is not an end in itself but as a means of communication in the international language.
    As a teacher of Japanese, I would like to see if there are ways for STEAM education to contribute to learning in humanities and arts rather than overly focusing on the sciences.
  • I was very impressed by the way Katie always maintained a positive attitude in her answers.
    I appreciated the efforts of the moderator to encourage students who found it difficult to express themselves.

Journalist

  • This was a really good event! I think the fact that it provided a real experience was a key point in its success. This is definitely a truly 21st century-style of education. I can't wait for the next session to happen.

Parents of junior high and high school students

  • I was deeply impressed by what Mr. Alex Ikenouchi said at the start about developing people.
    "We make people before making products." I think it must be a wonderful company to work at to have this idea embraced by its employees.
  • I’m really looking forward to seeing what sort of society will be waiting for these children when they finally take part in it as adults in ten years' time. I'm sure that the children participating in today's event would have been well brought up regardless of COVID-19, but with the current situation spreading so fast, I though that there will be more choices for them in the future.
  • This was a very rare and special opportunity not just to speak with people from outside Japan but with the actual STEAM professionals.

Comments from the guests

Katie Ledecky, Team Panasonic Brand ambassador, Olympian : Swimming

Thank you! I felt like the event went very smoothly on Saturday and that we were able to use this time as an opportunity to expand our reach.
The students and media members were polite, engaging, and had great questions.
Please pass on my thanks to your colleagues in Japan for their hard work on this event as well. I hope we can continue to reach a lot of students both in the US and in Japan.

Michael Shadovitz, Product Designer for Panasonic

To have the youth from all over Japan gather on camera with people from all around the world on a Sunday morning to talk about the future couldn’t have come at a better time, and has left me very inspired.

Akiko Arai, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Tokyo University of Science

I believe the event was fresh and insightful for students to understand the bigger picture of STEAM, which is not all about mathematics and programming but about growing as creative and passionate young professionals.

Kyle Li, BFA Director Parsons school of design

My area of study didn't exist when I was a student. I hope these workshops will begin to give them the courage and confidence to have a dream and follow it through.

Kalaya Kovidvisith, Researcher at Lifelong Kindergarten at the MIT Media Lab

Through this workshop, students can see their opportunity to kickstart and turn an idea into reality.

[Interview with EVERFI]

Panasonic would like to express our appreciation to EVERFI for preparing and providing an online educational program, "Katie Ledecky's Dive into STEM Education Powered by Panasonic", for participants of this event. Here are some of the comments from members of EVERFI.

Q. : What are your impressions and comments on participating in the event?

A. : We thought that it was fantastic and wonderful. It provided many angles of STEM careers and opportunities available in the STEM areas and we really enjoyed it.

Q. : What are your future expectations for this program you have and how do you want to expand it?

A. : As the world becomes a more globalized society, we feel that we have to be able to extend this program out further. STEM is so universal, like mathematics is the same in every language, and we hope to see this program explode into many other countries and regions.

Q. : Comments and messages for the students in Japan.

A. : The biggest aspect of this program is that it helps you find career paths, and on top that, it gives you the tools and steps that you need to take to get that career.
Kyle Li mentioned that when he was in high school, there were no clear paths for what he wanted to do, and we think that there are so many careers out there that don’t exist yet, but this program can really help guide students to finding their passion and their dream.
We will continue to grow the program and continue to add new careers that will be invented tomorrow.

Students experiencing the EVERFI contents at home before participating in the event

Panasonic will continue to hold similar online events and actively publicize what we are doing.
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