As many of you know, I used to work in the electronics industry. I worked as an engineer and manager for Alpine Electronics, Oki Electric and Mitsubishi Electric in the US and Japan. Recently John Coleman and I have been making many videos and in-class lessons for our students and for Smith’s Schools in general to use with higher level students.
The latest one we did was about Nintendo’s plans to roll out the DS for use in elementary and junior high schools in Japan. You can see this one at the TOEIC Video List in the Japanese Blog (TOEIC+ Lesson 11). In that article from the Japan times, we found that Nintendo’s game guru Shigeru Miyamoto recently won a special fellowship from BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) for his creation of such great video games as Super Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong.
In that article it was explained that Miyamoto is working hard at Nintendo to introduce the DS as a teaching tool. I have studied that topic with some of my higher level students this week and when I asked them their opinion of this development, many said they were concerned about it, saying that making education to much like a game could have negative effects: much as we see now with many Japanese complaining that they are having a harder time writing Kanji than in the past.
The problem stems from the use of PCs and mobile phones to write Japanese. It has gotten too easy to write this way by simply converting ROMAJI (alphabetic character representations of Japanese phonemes) and HIRAGANA (Japanese phonetic symbols for Japanese phonenes) in case of PCs and mobile phones, respectively. It is so easy to write this way that even I can do it. See Al’s Room. Of course my Japanese is not perfect and I need help to check it usually. But the main point is that I can do it. It’s that easy!
So what is the future of Electronics? In the long term, electronic transceivers will be embedded into our brains to allow us to connect to the new internet and super computers to do virtually any difficult calculation and solve any problem. So nothing will be beyond our capability. But we many not be able to write by hand any longer at that point. Scary?!
Oh, to see the state of voice recognition, check out the audio transcriptions on YouTube sometime. You can turn it on under the ‘CC’ tab and see subtitles on the videos that John and I made and other videos too Some of the transcriptions are hilarious! Enjoy!