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November 28, 2023

Education Entertainment Technology

Real-Life Programming!
Report on "NTT Dream Kids 2023," a hands-on programming learning event for children [Live Programming Classroom].

The NTT Group (including NTT, NTT Docomo, NTT Communications, NTT East Japan, NTT West Japan, and NTT Data) has been jointly organizing an annual summer hand-on learning event for children called "NTT Dream Kids" in major cities across the country since 2006. The event targets children in grades 2 to 6 and allows them to enjoyably learn about the latest ICT case studies as well as rules and manners for using information communication technologies.
 Following the previous "Online Programming Classroom", here is a report on the " Live Programming Classroom " held on October 1, 2023.

1) "NTT DREAM KIDS 2023" Learning while having fun

NTT Dream Kids" is a hands-on learning event for children held every summer since 2006, aiming to help children understand the importance of "communication" as social infrastructure. The event was held only online from 2020 to 2022, but in 2023, programming classes were also held at the real event "AKIBA Manabi Festa".

2) "NTT DREAM KIDS 2023": Both In-Person and Online

The three menus that make up "NTT Dream Kids 2023" are as follows

① Online contents - until October 31, 2023

Image: ① Online contents - until October 31, 2023

From July 3 to October 31, 2023, targeting children in grades 2 to 6 (recommended), in addition to explaining the fundamental mechanisms of how telecommunications works, online content is provided that allows participants to learn about cutting-edge information communication and digital technologies such as XR (a generic term for technologies that fuse the real and virtual worlds to perceive things that don't exist in reality) through game-like experiences, including viewing videos that simulate actual usage scenarios, and other missions provided by six NTT Group companies.

The online content will also provide information on NTT Group's initiatives in times of disaster, rules and manners for the safe and secure use of information and communication services, and sustainable initiatives such as greening the environment.

Image: ① Online contents - until October 31, 2023

② Online Programming Class - Duration: August 12, 2023 - August 15, 2023

Image: ② Online Programming Class - Duration: August 12, 2023 -  August 15, 2023

An online programming class for 2nd - 6th graders will be held four times a day (about 70 minutes per class), each day, for children to experience programming while receiving lectures from instructors using a computer or tablet. Two courses are prepared to match the skill levels of the children.

The beginner course is designed for children who are new to programming, using "VISCUIT," a visual programming language developed by Yasunori Harada at NTT Laboratories in 2003.

The intermediate course is intended for children who have had some experience with programming using "VISCUIT" and can create basic games. Participants experience making simple games using multiple pictures created with "VISCUIT".

Please see [Online Programming Classroom] for the report of this event.
https://group.ntt/jp/magazine/blog/dreamkids2023/

③ Programming Class Real Event - Completed

On October 1, 2023, a programming class was held at Akihabara UDX as part of the "AKIBA Manabi Festa," a STEAM education-themed event for elementary school students.

3) "AKIBA Manabi Festa" Programming Class Report

This is a report on the programming class held at the "AKIBA Manabi Festa" on October 1, 2023.

About 20 elementary school students participated in each session, and the class started with a greeting by the instructor, Yasunori Harada (Hakase"Dr."), the developer of "VISCUIT". First, the students learned the basic rule of "VISCUIT", which is that the shape placed to the left of the glasses changes to the shape placed to the right. This allows the shape to move, change shape, change color, and by using more than one pair of glasses, one can even create a shape that moves while changing shape.

Next, each table was assigned a theme such as "Sea," "Haunted House," "Sweets World," "Grasslands," "Sky," and "Space," and elementary school students created various figures that made up the world of the theme. A fish swimming with changing colors, a Halloween pumpkin showing irregular movements, a chocolate moving at great speed, etc. Each student colored the world with his or her own free ideas.

Image: 3) "AKIBA Manabi Festa" Programming Class Report

The next step is to create a program with more glasses as an application. The program will be followed by a series of actions such as touching an egg to break it, moving a newborn character, and touching a character again to transform it to show a different movement. The finished work is shared with the entire class, including parents. When they saw other children's creations, they said, "This is amazing! This is interesting! The entire classroom was filled with excitement.

Image: 3) "AKIBA Manabi Festa" Programming Class Report

And Harada (Hakase"Dr.") will talk about the application of programming. With a small number of glasses, you can only create simple movements, but if you had a hundred of these glasses, or a million of them? You can create tremendous programs. The similarity between the programs created by the children in today's programming class and programs for games and home appliances around us is that "each pair of glasses is simple. The difference is the number of glasses. He told us that if we increase the number of glasses one by one, we can all create something amazing.

Image: 3) "AKIBA Manabi Festa" Programming Class Report

Image: 3) "AKIBA Manabi Festa" Programming Class Report

Lastly, we were introduced to actual examples of what can be done with a lot of glasses by people who are active in the NTT Group: Yoko Tokunaga of NTT DOCOMO introduced 「MetaMe」, a meta-communication service that creates new connections with people; Yoko Inaba of NTT Data Ms. Yoko Inaba of NTT Data Corporation gave an easy-to-understand explanation of her specific work in IT as a data scientist and talked about the fun of data analysis.

Image: Yoko Tokunaga, R&D Innovation Division, NTT DOCOMO, Inc.Yoko Tokunaga, R&D Innovation Division, NTT DOCOMO, Inc.

 The children listened with great interest, and it seemed that the programming they learned at this event helped them to realize that it is related to their own lives as well.

Image: Yoko Inaba, Social Design Promotion Office, NTT DataYoko Inaba, Social Design Promotion Office, NTT Data

Children immersed in their creations at each table, Harada (Hakase"Dr.") and staff supporting them with well-timed calls, and parents watching over them and squinting at their finished creations. The programming class was filled with the live atmosphere that only a real event can provide.

4) Comments from the Classroom Participants

Image: 4) Comments from the Classroom Participants

We asked the children and parents who participated in the "AKIBA Manabi Festa" programming class about their impressions of the class.

The children who participated in the class seemed to like it very much, saying, "It was fun to be able to move the egg freely," "It was interesting to draw pictures according to the theme," and "I wanted to do it again.
 Parents also commented "we were glad to see that the staff actually taught the children" and "would like to have the children participate again next time.

5) Challenge Various Missions Online

"NTT Dream Kids 2023" offered the online contents which included programming experiences, fiber optic cable connection and Wi-Fi set-up experiences, mobile rules and manners experiences, and disaster survival experiences.

Image: 5) Challenge Various Missions Online

6) NTT Group's Initiatives for Children

Through "NTT Dream Kids 2023," NTT Group will continue to promote activities to deliver a prosperous, convenient society and an exciting future for the children who will lead the next generation.

Real-Life Programming! Report on "NTT Dream Kids 2023," a hands-on programming learning event for children [Online Programming Classroom].
https://group.ntt/jp/magazine/blog/dreamkids2023/

NTT Dream Kids 2023
https://group.ntt/jp/kids/2023/

NTT Dream Kids 2023
https://www.viscuit.com/Open other window

News Release
https://group.ntt/jp/newsrelease/2023/07/03/230703a.html

NTT Group's Initiatives for Children
https://group.ntt/jp/kids/index.html