About schoolTakt

Founder

Masaki Goto

Masaki Goto

Masaki Goto graduated from the University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, as well as Conducting Research Institute of the Senzoku Gakuen College of Music. He was formerly an instructor in physics at a well known preparatory school for university entrance examinations. He was also a math teacher at a high school, and has moved on to being a consultant in the educational business, and serving as a CTO. Currently he is the head and founder of CodeTakt Co. Ltd, and a project manager for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and the CTO of ZUU Co. Ltd.

In 2011, he was qualified as IPA’s Super Creator (Information-technology Promotion Agency, Japan) under Takeshi Natsuno, professor by courtesy at Keio University. Japan’s 8th e-Learning Award Award winner. A committee member of the Japan Digital Textbook Society.

Besides his passion for education and IT, he has been active in conducting. Since September 2012, he is the chief conductor for the Ryukyu Philharmonic Chamber orchestra and for the Naha Junior Orchestra since August 2013. In September 2013, he conducted the State Hermitage Museum Orchestra (Russia / St. Petersburg). In March 2014, he served as the general director and musical conductor for the Japan’s largest game music festival of “Okinawa game takt”.

To create an environment where teachers can teach with ease and students can learn with joy.

Teachers are always pursued by a lot of work beyond teaching; lesson preparation for every day, scoring, office work, meeting, parent support. And unlike jobs in other businesses, teachers need to handle many tasks and chores at school since there is no culture of hiring part-time workers to handle other chores. Accordingly, teachers cannot devote enough time allotted for their students. Creating the environment to provide time for teachers to face and focus on each student is most crucial in education.

On the student side, statistics show that there is a decrease of motivation, academic ability, weaker physical fitness to learn, and a lot of other issues such as behavior have become clear. These data show the need for education to provide improvement of motivation, the ability to learn, cultivating norms, a rich mind and healthy body.

In more specific terms, "the teacher is released from the day-to-day chores and tasks, and the teacher is able to have more time with students face to face." Moreover, "students will find learning more enjoyable by participating actively and in a proactive class." Such educational environment is our aim through School Takt.

Problems of Instruction (in a classroom setting)

The group lecture/instruction originated from the United Kingdom industrial revolution era, where the need for a large number factory workers called for inexpensive ways to educate them with basic knowledge. This method has been developed as a method to create a labor force. Grouping a large number of people in one place indeed makes teaching efficient, but this style faces a lot of challenges to furthering education. Examples below show this to be true.

High skills are required for teachers to not bore their students in class

In general, compared to tutoring and preparatory schools, a classroom-type group instruction requires teachers to have a high understanding and skill to keep all students focused simultaneously.

In an one-to-one tutoring environment, communication between the teacher and the student is dense and very close. This instruction does not necessarily need other techniques than everyday conversation skills.

It is said that the maximum number of students that one teacher can really commit to paying attention to at one time is ten people.

According to the statistical research by National Institute for Educational Policy Research in Japan, the maximum number of students one teacher can keep an eye on is 10 to 20 students. And as the class size increases, the more difficult it is for teachers to pay attention to each student's perspectives and understanding of concepts.
But Japan's "school lesson," there are still 20 to 40 people in one class, albeit decreasing population.
To reduce the number of students a single teacher can handle, some measures have been taken, including teacher-assistant programs. But these have not solved the the fundamental problem. This issue is also recognised by the Ministry of Education.

"The number of students per teacher in Japan's elementary schools and junior high is much higher in comparison with other countries' schools. The issues that needs to be addressed are focusing on small-group guidance and proficiency-based learning, as well as enhancement of a more attentive teaching." (MEXT, from "Current Main Issues Regarding Education")

Output is the necessity for teachers

Group instruction or class have been originally developed in order to input a large amount of knowledge at one time. Exercise or the putting use of the knowledge is usually the output. But since there is not enough time for output in school, it is instead done at home, which results in "homework." This also increases the tendency for students to neglect the application of knowledge. Nevertheless, these exercises--or output--is precisely what matters the most for students' development. So teachers' guidance on output is vital.

In recent years, as a means to improve the problems from a group-lecture type of classroom setting, there have been an effort to "focus on exercises." Curriculums are even abolished in such extreme cases such as Finland, where schools are repositioned as a "place for output." "Flipped classroom/learning" is one type of this shift to output. In addition, some elementary schools in Japan have began to let students choose their own curriculum. Such subtle efforts have been growing throughout the country.

Difficult to adapt to a world where wisdom is required than knowledge

The contents that must be learned in school will change greatly in the years to come. The "emphasis on wisdom than knowledge" is one such example. Until now, society has taken great value in "knowing."

But today's advanced modern search technology through the Internet has enabled people to gain access to a myriad of information. Social value of education has transitioned from the emphasis on "knowledge" to "finding the reasonable answer" or "wisdom." This change in the field of education, however, has always been delayed.
In recent years, as a means to improve the problems from a group-lecture type of classroom setting, there have been an effort to "focus on exercises." Curriculums are even abolished in such extreme cases such as Finland, where schools are repositioned as a "place for output." "Flipped classroom/learning" is one type of this shift to output. In addition, some elementary schools in Japan have began to let students choose their own curriculum. Such subtle efforts have been growing throughout the country.

Problems of the Educational System

The government have begun a movement to equip all elementary school students with their own tablets by 2020, in order to support problem-solving skills and to take advantage of the tablet at hand. Therefore, deployment of tablet such as the iPad in schools and cram schools has been increasing.

However, its use is often seen in English dictionary apps, for a repetitive drill, or for use on paper. By having one tablet per student, I believe there is something essential to learning from each other by connecting through a network.

In addition, we have seen the rise of digital textbooks and the ability to incorporate video and interactive media. Teachers, however, feel the need to adjust their teaching to the new systems, instead of teachers using the systems/tools as a way to ease the teaching process. Consequently, we have seen some inefficiencies in teaching where teachers need to change their way of teaching in respect to the new tools.

Education is very important for the future of students. Existing educational systems hamper teachers from teaching effectively and naturally has a negative effect on students. In order to avoid such problems, there must be a new type of system that would encourage effective teaching. In other words, we think it is necessary to create a smooth transition and progress.

The Future of Instruction

In group lectures (as well as tutoring), teachers need to be connected to students on a one-on-one scale. And we believe that lessons where students can value learning and learn the importance of education by taking advantage of IT. According to this concept, I would like to summarize the near future of how education and learning environments should be by bringing up the problems and solutions mentioned before.

In an place where each student has one tablet, it becomes easier to share information. For example, teachers can list and display all the answers at once on a projector, and create an environment where students can proactively partake in class, like a quiz show. Concerning this method,

  • Can collect the answer of all easy, it is possible to learn the answer of others.
  • Because students' responses are picked up in no time, the teacher and the student is likely to build close ties even on a one-to-one tutoring or group lecture.
  • When a student who doesn't usually speak up provides a good answer, you can compliment him/her.
  • Until now, even if the teacher gives time in class to solve problem, some students don't try to solve the problem themselves because they know the teacher will solve it on the board anyway.

The term, "flipped classroom" has recently received popularity. This classroom setting requires students to learn new content at home by watching filmed lectures and do homework during class as exercise of the content they have learned at home. Teachers can give more direct individual guidance to students, and also provide a classroom where students can work together or share ideas among themselves.

In other words, input of knowledge can be achieved by merely recording and distributing a lecture by a highly skilled teacher. The output is what varies among students in their learning patterns and how they interpret knowledge. Thus, we should cultivate the ability to solve problems through teacher's direct support and collaborative effort.

In some extreme terms, group-lectures by gathering a large number of students in one place with one teacher is somewhat an obsolete teaching method in relation to the era of the Internet today. To teach a lot of knowledge to many people, this grouped classroom setting seemed to be the most efficient. But in today's Internet-driven culture where Youtube and other video-streaming services are widely available, students do not need to gather in one place to learn. By listening to lectures by prominent teachers or learn from televised education may be much more worthwhile in terms of input. These learning methods were also made possible by having tablets for students in class. And by having one tablet per student, keeping a detailed log of individual student's progress and learning is possible. The use of this "log" will be the keyword of the future of learning.

Another popular term is called "Adaptive Learning." This method attempts to optimize learning to individual students by analyzing a huge log on learning (big data) for each student. This log helps identify any part of the course content where each student is struggling or where there is a lack of understanding. Adaptive learning differs from computer-aided learning systems such as the CAI system, which adjusts questions based on the student's previous answer. The biggest difference is the use of big data for each student to enhance learning experience.
Without leaving any stumbling block for students and providing optimized one-on-one instruction, "adaptive learning" will attract more attention as a new trend of education in the near future.

"School Takt" hopes to overcome the obstacles of traditional classroom teaching, and be a useful tool to support new learning styles and environments.