Tokyo education board to launch learning platform on metaverse for truant children – The Mainichi – The Mainichi
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Japan’s National Daily Since 1922
TOKYO — The Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education is set to launch a virtual learning platform for children in need of support including those who have stopped attending school, so they can learn and interact with each other via the metaverse, the board announced on Dec. 2.
The program will be tested with some 30 elementary and junior high school students in Shinjuku Ward later this month, in conjunction with the ward’s board of education.
The project is aimed at creating a forum for children to be part of, and helping them learn through classes using web conferencing systems.
Specifically, the virtual learning platform will come in three forms: a floor for students who refuse to attend school or find it difficult to do so for other reasons; a floor for students who recently arrived in Japan and cannot understand the Japanese language well; and a common floor for all types of students.
With the program, children will interact with each other using their avatars that can freely move around across the metaverse, and will be able to seek advice from teachers and support staff who will also have their own avatars. Children can not only chat with their mentors but also talk to them face to face online.
The metropolitan education board is planning to expand the virtual learning platform to other municipalities in the capital from the spring of 2023.
As of the 2021 academic year, there were 21,536 children who had stopped attending elementary or junior high schools in the capital, jumping around 1.2 times the figure in the previous school year. The board attributes the rise in the number of truant children in part to their vague feelings of anxiety and disruptions to their lifestyles amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are hoping that this initiative will open up an opportunity for truant children to connect with society,” said a metropolitan education board official.
(Japanese original by Asako Takeuchi, Tokyo City News Department)
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