Report on the Participating ASCD Conference

The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) hosted a large event with seminars and exhibitions mainly for grade-school teachers at a convention center in Philadelphia in the United States. This was an event at which Kenichi Arai and Kanji Akahori participated. The following is a summary of the presentations we participated in.


1) Homework
Just like in Japan, American parents seem to be stressed about their children's homework and often talk to them about this issue. This study reveals that there is no correlation between children's motivation to do their homework and their parents' education or educational level. Furthermore, in order to get children to their homework, it is important that it is creative, generates activities, makes children responsible, or builds up their confidence.


2) Learning skills in the 21st century
There were many presentations about learning skills in the 21st century. Many of them were related to broad capabilities or humanity such as communication skills, co-learning skills, creativity, or critical thinking, but skills to go on to higher education as part of career education were also included.


Specifically, activities to comment on others' works, to explain their own work to others, or to keep a record to reflect on their own are included in order to develop communication skills or co-learning skills.


3) State-common curriculum
A number of presentations were about the Common Core State Standard (CCSS), which has been attracting many people's attention. States in the U.S. have a great deal of independence, having created their own curriculums. However, there have been some actions taken to create common curriculums or guidelines among states in recent years. This sounds similar to the curriculum guidelines in Japan; however, in the U.S., this is not a national curriculum, but a curriculum developed jointly among the 50 states.
For example, guidelines for poetry materials cover views to analyze them from various perspectives such as core thoughts or the understanding of a theme, or a class design. Those for mathematics standardize views for analysis by showing this in charts or tables, and comparing or rephrasing this. The guidelines for evaluation require the keeping of clear records of achievement levels against targets. Many schools are now conducting classes based on the CCSS. Conventionally, states were responsible for education in North America, giving them freedom in what they taught. However, now, they seem to be interested in guaranteeing academic performance by utilizing common guidelines or defining standards for educational content. This can be summarized as that the 21st century learning skills are focused on the development of humanity or broad capabilities, whereas the CCSS emphasizes improving academic performance in each subject.


4) Use of ICT
The use of cloud technology is quite popular in obtaining educational materials. For example, it has made it so much easier to obtain materials to motivate children or exercise books for an intended subject. We also found interesting materials such as a book of examples on questions to be asked by teachers, or timer software which can be displayed in a classroom with the flexibility to move faster or slower. Such excellent materials seem to be popular among teachers.


(Kenichi Arai, CRET Chairperson and Kanji Akahori, CRET Board of Directors)

(Written by Kanji Akahori, Ph.D., CRET Board of Directors)


Kanji Akahori

President of ICT CONNECT 21

Professor Emeritus of Tokyo Institute of Technology

Up to the present day, he has worked as a senior high school teacher in Shizuoka, a lecturer and associate professor of Tokyo Gakugei University, and then an assistant professor and professor of Tokyo Institute of Technology. During his career, he has also served as a guest professor at The Open University of Japan and the UN University Institute of Advanced Studies, etc.

◆ Publications:
Invitation to Educational Technology, JustSystems, 2002
Instructional Designs as the Basics of Classes, Japan Audio-Visual Education Association, 2004
The Methods and Actualities of Class Designs, Koryosha, 2009
Classes for Information Morals that Nurture Communication Skills, JustSystems, 2010, and others

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Areas of Reasearch in CRET

This laboratory conducts research on test evaluation and analysis. We also perform joint research and exchange programs with overseas testing research institutes.

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This laboratory conducts research and development into testing approaches that measure communication skills, teamwork skills, and social skills, etc.

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This laboratory conducts research on the foundation of computer-based testing, and basic research on media and recognition, as well as applied and practical research
that utilize such knowledge.

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