KOOV, the new service from Sony Global Education, comes in the form of a robot programming kit for stimulating creativity. While imparting the positive educational benefits of "tinkering", it allows users to tap into their individuality. It innovates the field of education by means of seven different types of blocks and nurtures the motivation for solving some of humanity's future problems. We talked to Masaaki Isozu, President and CEO of Sony Global Education Inc. about it.
Introducing different categories in STEM education.
What's new in Sony's STEM 101 curriculum?
Sony Global Education was founded in 2015 with the purpose of bringing Sony-style innovation to the education industry. Its focus is on solving unknown social issues, a task we believe requires a radically different way of thinking from that of traditional education. Mr. Isozu talked to us about STEM science education, one of the most promising tools in this new age of education.
"STEM education, where STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is currently very popular in the United States. We have created an independent study curriculum, STEM 101, as an attempt to establish a Sony approach to STEM education. STEM 101 comprises the three categories of "Think", "Make" and "Feel". This represents a completely new way of breaking down into categories the fields of STEM education. With "Think" referring to math, "Make" to robots and "Feel" to science, this system allows us to create a new curriculum that incorporates different knowledge and information from all over the world."
The KOOV robot programming kit,
an all-in-one package made up of different components
"This new service, the KOOV robot programming kit, falls under the "Make" category (robot) of our STEM 101 curriculum. However, the educational scope of KOOV is not limited to robots and computer programming."
"As a whole, KOOV is made up of a very small programming kit but, when viewed as a product, it includes a hardware, a software, various applications, and also a web service and various other components which complete a unique all-in-one package that you will not find anywhere else. Its most distinctive components are the seven types of transparent blocks which can be combined in various ways. When the transparent blocks are stacked up and superimposed onto one another, they change to a different color: this allows the creation of new shapes and color schemes so that, in addition to studying mechanics or computers with this innovative educational tool, one can also learn about designing and orientation."
Furthermore, the most significant aspect of this block-based robot programming kit is what is known as "Tinkering", basically "playing around with components", a concept which has been the topic of many recent discussions in the field of education. Tinkering is believed to be a highly-effective educational method and KOOV is the optimal educational tool for putting tinkering into practice."
"By letting users create different objects using a variety of blocks and parts, KOOV makes it possible for different individualities to collide and facilitates the emergence of new values. In this way, it introduces the concept of individuality to a new generation. Obviously, we are not limiting ourselves to the present components and we plan to gradually expand their numbers in the future, hoping to develop KOOV not only as a mere educational tool, but as a prototyping tool for a new generation."
Aiming to innovate education on a global scale
Most people wouldn't see a connection between the words "Sony" and "education." However, in an age when technology is increasingly changing society, Mr. Isozu believes that there's a lot which Sony's technology can achieve in the field of education, the foundation of society.
"When you ask people about Sony, depending on who you ask, some may tell you it's an electronics company, others may think it's a movies or a music company, some may even think it's a game company; personally, the first word that comes to my mind when I think of Sony is "innovation." When a company is the size of Sony's, it obviously has a certain social significance and will need to pursue the kind of innovation which brings about major changes in society. We want to introduce innovation in the field of education so as to exert an influence, not just on hundreds or thousands of people, but on millions of people all over the world."