January 12, 2011

 January 2011 Newsletter: Yumi's Monthly Note

A happy new year! I am writing this as I see snow-covered Higashiyama in Kyoto. I feel a great sense of responsibility as I steer the Pangaea ship sailing to seven oceans on 2011.
I have a very exciting news to share with you today.

For those of you whom I have talked in last two years, might have heard YMC Model (Youth Mediated Communication Model). I presented this model was presented at APAN conference at Kuala Lumpur about two years ago. It is the model to deliver necessary information to community through youths. Speaking with possible collaborators, we formed a team. The team applied at MIC (Japan Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications) Project program called Ubiquitous Alliance Project, and we are now granted to test this model in Mekong Delta area in Vinh Long Province, Vietnam with cooperation of CIS/MARD (Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development). NTT Communications leads the project, and we decided to focus on rice farming, or agriculture. For Agriculture Expert Team, we have Prof. Ikeda who worked as JICA Rice experts in various Asian and African countries, Prof. Ninomiya and Prof. Kameoka both leading researcher in agriculture and ICT (sensors) in Asia, and Dr. Takezaki who diligently support us to provide necessary materials and advices. Mekong area we work at has many rice farming families. Many farmers have problems in reading and writing. Youths in this project are able to obtain advices and tips to help their parents' rice farming from Japanese experts through Language Grid and Agriculture Grid. Youths will use Vietnamese language, and Experts will use Japanese language. Using Language Grid for last five years in Pangaea, we are able to learn how to use this kind of language service grid better and realistically. Pangaea will run workshops for youths to prepare them using PCs, and mobile phones, also provide youths tools to smoothen communications between them and their parents who are rice farmers. Our experiences in the last 8 years to run nearly 500 activities in various locations, including starting one at remote jungle in Borneo, help us to work suitable member to run such circumstances. Through past years, I am very certain that youths are the key to change the world for better. In few years, those youths in Mekong will be working populations, and when the model is proven to work, there will be significant implications from YMC model. Please keep your eyes on our progress on this project.

I hope you keep supporting Pangaea, and continue to be part of our community.

I introduce Ms. Kim Rose, the executive director of Viewpoints Research Institute, as a Pangaea Ring writer for this month. She has been a great supporter of Pangaea from the beginning.


Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 January 2011 Newsletter: Pangaea ring - Ms. Kim Rose

I introduce Ms. Kim Rose, the executive director of Viewpoints Research Institute, as a Pangaea Ring writer for this month. She has been a great supporter of Pangaea from the beginning.

Hello Ring readers,

I am Kim Rose, founder and Executive Director of Viewpoints Research Institute, a non profit organization based in Southern California (www.vpri.org) .

I was introduced to Yumiko Mori and Toshiyuki Takasaki in 2002 by a mutual colleague at the MIT Media Lab. Our organization had just been invited by Kyoto University and the Kyoto schools to work with teachers and children to introduce them to "Squeak" -- the free and open source software created by our group to build models and make simulations. Squeak is a program designed to help children better understand mathematical concepts and scientific phenomena (like gravity or friction) and enable them to use the computer to extend their own creativity. Squeakhttp://www.squeakland.org/ runs on all types of computers including the One Laptop Per Child's "XO". Please visit www.squeakland.org to learn more.

When we first met, Yumi and Toshi were involved with CAMP (Children's Art Museum & Park). At the same time, they were starting to get Pangaea and its programs under way. We worked together to hold some workshops at CAMP. At these workshops we showed children, their parents and teachers how they could create "Etoys" using our Squeak software. Later, after Pangaea was established, we continued to investigate how to create fun learning environments (some over a long distance) where adults and children could learn and play together, and use IT to help bring children from around the world together to explore cultures other than their own. It was apparent our organizations would have a long-lasting relationship.

I believe that people working toward common goals with similar beliefs tend to find one another. This is how Viewpoints Research and Pangaea were brought together. At the heart of both our organizations lay the idea that education can lead to the understanding that humans are more alike than they are different. We can come to understand cultural differences and celebrate them, rather than fear them. Through organizations such as ours, we will work to try to solve some of the most difficult problems we face today -- whether it is in regard to the environment, health and hygiene or communications. We can help our children create a better world filled with understanding and compassion toward one another.

I encourage you to stay involved with Pangaea and play your part to help them meet their worthy goals.

Kim Rose
Executive Director
Viewpoints Research Institute
Glendale, California

Posted by: kumakinoko | 4. Pangaea Ring | Permalink