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[원더코드 소식] The Education Group (EDCG) × FCE Education Interview: Wonder Code's potential vision
2023-07-28239 view
파일첨부 : Wonder Code Korea LAB (47).jpg
The Education Group (EDCG) × FCE Education Interview: Wonder Code's potential vision 


In May 2021, FCE Education embarked on a new challenge.

They launched "Wonder Code," an English programming learning program in Japan, using the award-winning robot, based from American Silicon Valley, "Dash" from Wonder Workshop.

"Wonder Code" was developed through a partnership between Wonder Workshop in America and Wonder Code Limited, the education group in Hong Kong.

FCE Education partnered with Wonder Code Limited to start the expansion of "Wonder Code" in Japan.


Over the next two years, "Wonder Code" partnered with many institutes, and the number of classrooms expanded to over 80.

To celebrate the 2nd anniversary of “Wonder Code” in Japan, Zac Kwon, the CEO of “Wonder Code” and The Education Group (EDCG) from South Korea, and Onoue Yukiharu, 

the President of FCE Education, had a discussion of future coding education in Japan.

 

Zac Kwon,

CEO of The Education Group (EDCG), South Korea

He manages around 15 classrooms including international kindergartens, extracurricular English schools, and English programming education businesses.

He established EDCG in 2013 and started the "Wonder Code" project in 2018.

 

Onoue Yukiharu,

President of FCE Education, Co., Ltd.

Engaged in businesses that foster children's "initiative" based on the philosophy of "Embrace Challenges, Create the Future." 

Started the expansion of "Wonder Code" in Japan as a business providing English and programming education for children in 2021.

 


"The Beginning of 'Wonder Code' and Its Current Status."

 

Zac: The development of the "Wonder Code" curriculum started in 2018. We encountered the Dash robot developed by Wonder Workshop in Silicon Valley, and we felt it would be suitable as a learning tool for kindergarten and elementary school children. As our expertise lies in English education, we saw an opportunity to create a model where children could learn coding in English using this robot, which would further benefit their future. So, as a team, we worked on its development. In collaboration with Scholastic, a major American children's book publisher, we developed an English curriculum that incorporated storytelling. Through our partnership with Wonder Workshop, we combined English and coding, creating a curriculum for teachers to teach children. That became "Wonder Code."

 

Onoue: The "Wonder Code" program has many elements that captivate children's interest. When I first observed the lessons in South Korea, I was impressed to see the children engrossed and having fun while learning. It strongly motivated me to bring "Wonder Code" to Japan.

 

Zac: Our first encounter was in 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic. We were introduced to FCE Education by a related company within our group, and I came to Japan to present "Wonder Code" to Mr. Onoue. Subsequently, Mr. Onoue and the team visited South Korea, touring labs and schools, and that marked the beginning of everything. We found that Japanese children were looking for a program where they could learn both English and coding, which led to the expansion of "Wonder Code" in Japan.


  


Onoue: It's already been three years! As for the reason for seeking such a program, it lies in the education issue Japan faces with English education. Despite studying English for about 10 years in school, many students still struggle to speak the language fluently. This is the reality. The conventional English education focuses heavily on knowledge input and lacks emphasis on education for speaking and using English as a tool. I believe this is the problem. To use English as a tool, it is essential to make the learning enjoyable; otherwise, children's engagement won't last. I was considering how to create opportunities where children could have a positive emotional connection with English and enjoy engaging with it.

 

At that time, when I saw Korean children using Dash robots to learn English as a tool and having fun while doing so, I was amazed. Seeing how enjoyable the educational material was, I thought there must be a demand for it in Japan. That's why we decided to launch "Wonder Code" in Japan.


Japan and South Korea... The Current Status of English and Programming Education.


 

Onoue: In terms of the English education business in Japan, the number of English conversation schools is increasing every year, and we feel that differentiation is crucial to stand out. On the other hand, the market for programming education is experiencing rapid growth, with approximately 12,000 classrooms* nationwide as of 2022. However, when it comes to "English-taught programming classes," they represent only about 3%* of the total. It is still a small percentage, and we believe this could be a differentiating factor.

The essential aspect for both English and programming classes is whether children can acquire practical skills that they can use in society. In the case of programming, it means developing both programming thinking and coding skills. For English, it means genuinely becoming fluent speakers. In the age of globalization and digital transformation, offering such practical learning opportunities will be in high demand.


 

Zac: In South Korea, after the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the importance of English was emphasized, leading to a significant push for English education. Now, I see a similar trend emerging for the necessity of learning coding skills in the 2020s. The coding boom of the 2020s is similar to the English education boom of the 1990s, and I feel that a large majority of Koreans believe that everyone should have at least a basic understanding of coding.

Onoue: I see. The sense of urgency seems to be similar in Korea and Japan. In Japan, the inclusion of programming in the national curriculum guidelines has gradually increased the awareness of the need for coding basics. Additionally, Japan is considered to have the lowest English proficiency level in Asia. In such a situation, I believe that the best way for children to develop practical English skills is by being in an English-speaking environment.

Because there are more opportunities for input and output using English. Thus, I believe it is essential to create an educational culture where children "learn through using English" rather than just "learning English."

When considering what to learn in English, we found that there is potential demand in Japan, and programming, which offers both enjoyable learning elements and is in a rapidly growing market, seemed to be the perfect fit.

We believe that the curriculum "Wonder Code," which teaches programming in English, is an optimal content that leads to the development of 21st-century skills for Japanese children.

*1 "2022 Programming Education Market Size Survey," Survey Period: December 2021 to May 2022 (conducted by GMO Media, Inc.). 

*2 Research by FCE Education, Co., Ltd

.

  


The value of “Wonder Code” curriculum.



Zac: "Wonder Code" encompasses all the essential elements for children to learn the fundamentals of coding. Many people may think that coding is specialized and difficult, but that's not the case. The curriculum of "Wonder Code" proves otherwise.

Firstly, it ensures that children who are new to coding understand what coding is and learn the basic concepts in a straightforward manner.

Secondly, it makes learning enjoyable. To keep students engaged in the long run, it is essential to infuse the curriculum with fun. In the past, we were often forced to memorize knowledge-based learning, but nowadays, experiential learning and enjoying the process of learning are more emphasized.

Thirdly, the curriculum is story-based. Students learn English while having fun and simultaneously acquire the concept of coding.

Onoue: These three aspects are what make "Wonder Code" so attractive. We are also implementing it directly, and we are amazed by how much it fosters the growth and learning attitude of children.

Zac: "Wonder Code" nurtures children to become leaders of the 21st century. During lessons, students learn through stories from Scholastic, the largest American publisher, and acquire coding logic using innovative robots and applications developed by Wonder Workshop in Silicon Valley. Additionally, we provide a curriculum that is both enjoyable for the students and easy for teachers to teach. Moreover, we receive support from FCE Education, a company with expertise in the education sector. Through this collaboration, we firmly believe that children will have a great opportunity to become outstanding individuals.

Onoue: Thank you very much. It has been two years since "Wonder Code" was launched in Japan, and it has expanded to more than 80 classrooms nationwide, reaching various locations from major cities to rural areas.

We have received numerous positive feedback from children who have attended the lessons, such as "I enjoy attending class every week," "I can demonstrate my strengths," "I have improved teamwork skills," "I see the children gaining more confidence," and "They speak English at home now."

I am delighted to be able to deliver this kind of education to children, and I genuinely feel that launching "Wonder Code" in Japan was a great decision. I want to continue fostering individuals who will thrive actively in the global society through "Wonder Code."

Zac-san, let's continue to have a successful partnership for the sake of Japanese and global children!

Zac: Absolutely! Let's keep working together!

 

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