May 29, 2011

 May Pangaea Activity in Kyoto, Japan

Pangaea activity was held yesterday at Kyoto Univ., in Kyoto, Japan.

The goal this year in Kyoto, where Pangaea HQ is located, is to design and implement the activity so the participating children can feel the stronger sense of bonding with the ones in other sites, and Kaba-chan, the Facilitator Leader is leading the planning and the implementation of the series of activities for this purpose.

discussion.jpg In yesterday's activity, children worked on the renewal of the "Kyodai (Kyoto Univ.) Village", to appeal the ancient city of Kyoto to the world on PangaeaNet. First, they looked at other international villages to find out Malaysian village has tropical fruits and other Japanese sea-side city of Mie has sea food ("Lobster Burger") drawn in their villages, to understand that it is effective to decorate the village with local specialties. Then they discussed about the ideas as to what to draw to represent Kyoto, listed them up with each child picking the items that one would like to draw, and decided who would draw what. Children came up with many ideas one after another, including Yuzen silk dyeing, lady in Kimono, Kiyomizu temple, vegetables grown in Kyoto, and "Yatsuhashi", or cinnamon-flavored sweets made in Kyoto.


After that, they drew, colored and clipped the items to collect all to discuss and decide the layout. Kyon-chan, the 6th grader played the main role in completing the village by handily gluing many small pieces of items drawn by all children.

webcam.jpg Also, Kyodai village was connected by web camera with OK village in Tokyo, where the first activity was held for this school year. Children introduced each other and asked questions such as "How is Kyoto dialect like?", "Which songs do you like?" and "Which games are popular?". For children in Kyoto, it was also the opportunity of the reunion with Guts and Yoshio, the volunteers who graduated college in Kyoto this March and started working in Tokyo.

All participating children gave feedback that they had a good fun yesterday.

After the activity, staff meeting was held among college-student-based Kyoto volunteers. They said children became much more interested in sending messages to their counterparts in other sites after their webcam experience, that they would like to know PangaeaNet functions more so they will be able to teach children when asked, and that they would like to continue children's group activities such as drawing village. Their motivation wash high for the further improvement of the activity in Kyoto.

They had a good time at OK Village in Tokyo, the site that was connected with Kyoto with web camera, as well. The activity in Tokyo this school year has finally started after the two-month pause in March and April due to the impact of the earthquake.

Posted by: ayako | 1. Activity Report | Permalink

May 27, 2011

 The 1st Vietnam-Japan Workshop on Youth Mediated Communication to Promote Rural Development in Vietnam

ymcws-groupphoto.jpg Pangaea co-hosted the three-day academic Workshop on Youth Mediated Communication (YMC) with Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Vietnam, and Vietnam National University from Friday May 20th to Sunday May 22nd, 2011 at University of Science, Vietnam National University, HCMC.

newspaper.jpg The workshop is organized to initiate the Vietnam-Japan interdisciplinary academic group among researchers in informatics, agriculture and education to promote rural development in Vietnam. Reviewing the results from the YMC field test held between February and March 2011 in TràÔn District, Vĩnh Long Province, Vietnam and discussing short and long term objectives, the interdisciplinary group met to deliver further enriched research and development to contribute to the rural development in Vietnam utilizing YMC.

The 1st YMC Academic Workshop by Pangaea was covered by multiple media in Vietnam:
Click here for the article by Thanh Nien, the newspaper in Vietnam.
Click here for its English translation by Google.
Click here for the press release issued by YMC Workshop.

Participants visited the site in TràÔn District, Vĩnh Long Province on the 2nd and 3rd days of the workshop. In the field test, children reported the data including temperature, humidity and the hight of the rice plant properly and regularly to the satisfaction of Japanese agricultural experts. As it is technically difficult to accurately measure the height of the plant by sensors, researchers has high expectation to the data collection by children.

IMG_04391-300x225.jpg Also, all 30 children has achieved the highest rank of the "Rice Test" quiz on the Internet to be given certificates by Pangaea. The academic team could confirm that children genuinely enjoyed the project and was highly motivated.

It is still premature at this point to judge if the project has impacted the volume and / or the quality of the harvested rice, however, the Workshop participants were happy to find out that the harvest after the field test was a good one.

IMG_0434-e1298041573689.jpg As a result of the survey held after the YMC field test, it was found that children enjoyed using mobile phones and PC's, became interested in farming, while their parents could obtain helpful information from their sons and daughters. As children became interested in farming, there were more conversation between parents and children, which improved their relationship. Overall, the expectation is high for the continuation of the project among local farmers and their children.

Posted by: ayako | 5. Media Coverage | Permalink

May 17, 2011

 Pangaea Newsletter - May 2011 Extra Issue

Pangaea's Agricultural Assistance Project in Vietnam will be on TV!
"YMC-Viet", or Pangea's project to improve agricultural productivity in Vietnam, held between Feb and Mar 2011 will be covered by
"World Wave Tonight" on BS1, NHK
on Wed May 18th from 22:00 to 22:50 (Tokyo time).
Please note that the exact time of the Pangaea's news clip is to be determined, and the date of the broadcasting is subject to change.

IMG_0118-300x225.jpg About YMC-Viet
YMC-Viet Project is the field test of the Youth Mediated Communication model to improve agricultural productivity in Vietnam. YMC model utilizes the capability of literate children amongst their illiterate adult population in the farming district in Vietnam, to help mediate the communication between Japanese agricultural experts and their parents through YMC system that entails mobile phone, Internet and translation service, to improve agricultural productivity in the farming district of Vietnam.

Pangaea participated in this project as the developer and the provider of the YMC system, as the proponent of the YMC model. The system is facilitated with the on-line “Rice Test” quiz and messaging functions among children, so that they can play and have fun as they mediate the communication between their parents and agricultural experts.

As a result of the survey held after the YMC field test, it was found that 96% of participating Vietnamese farmers answered that they could obtain helpful information from children. 100% of children answered that they are more interested in farming after YMC experience, that they had fun using PC and mobile, and that they would like to continue to participate. As children became more interested in farming, there were more conversation between parents and children, which improved their relationship.

Posted by: ayako | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

May 12, 2011

 2011 Pangaea Volunteer Recruitment Poster

Click poster image below to download PDF file (A4).


Posted by: ayako | 8. General | Permalink

 2011 Pangaea Volunteer Recruitment Flyer

Click flyer image below to download PDF file (A4).


Posted by: ayako | 8. General | Permalink

May 01, 2011

 May 2011 Newsletter: Pangaea's official Twitter and facebook pages started!

Please search "npo_pangaea" for twitter and "NPO Pangaea" for facebook to see the real-time tweets and comments including the ones posted during Pangaea activities at Kyoto Univ. or Kyoto International School.

Posted by: ayako | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 May 2011 Newsletter: Yumi's Monthly Note

Hello, everyone.
We are going to start OKWave Pangaea activity from the fourth week of May at Ebisu, Tokyo. We take this opportunity to enhance our safety management policies and procedures for the safety of volunteers and participants, and are revising the safety manual for that purpose.

In Kyoto, "Kaba-chan" who participated as a facilitator last year took Facilitator Leader (FL) training. She prepared well-organized agenda by herself and started as FL to lead the activity. Kaba-chan is a senior at medical school of Kyoto Univ. She was uplifted despite her hay fever and other volunteers praised her ingenious menu structure and gave her a hand.

One of the new participating children was a girl who used to come to Pangaea with her mother who was picking up her two older brothers who were Pangaea participants, when she was too young to join Pangaea herself. One of her brother (one in the middle) also came back to Pangaea after some break. Seeing how much he grew, I and Toshi could not help but feel that we are getting old…

Children's characteristics vary even if they belong to the same site or their grades are the same. Children made new discoveries when we did "Tako Introduction" at the beginning of the school year because of these differences.

Children in both Kyoto Univ. ("Kyodai") and Kyoto International School ("KIS") villages wrote messages for the ones in Tokyo to cheer them up, as they have not been able to participate in Pangaea activities for two months. Many children sent picton messages, too.

"Hanaphoo", who supported our Admin Office for many years till last month has left Pangaea, and we welcomed two new staffs at our Admin Office. One is "Hiyayakko" or Ayako. She worked for Citibank and other large firms before Pangaea and joined us as PR / Communication Director. She must be surprised and confused every day because of the different experience from the large company, but she seems to enjoy it as well. She is an active person who likes jogging unlike others in Pangaea HQ, and is reliable.
The other staff, "Date-chan" is a lady like a dandelion. We still have handovers to complete, but I have a good feeling about the new team.

I went to Seoul this month as well on the business trip. It has been decided that Sophia is going to take the doctor's course at prestigious Seoul Univ., so we met new person who will be in charge of Pangaea and gave Facilitator (F) training, which was participated by more than ten people. Pangaea is fiercely popular in Korea and it receives twice as many applications as its capacity. Sophia will be participating at the time of trainings and Webcams.

"Nino" or Prof. Ninomiya from Institute for Sustainable Agro-ecosystem Services, The University of Tokyo kindly agreed to write an article for Pangaea Ring this month. He not only participated in our YMC-Viet project, but also took the trouble of coming to see Pangaea Webcam and local activities at Kyoto Univ.

Posted by: ayako | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 May 2011 Newsletter: Pangaea Ring - "Participation to YMC-Viet" by Prof. Seishi Ninomiya

I participated in the YMC-Viet project. I was strongly attracted by the concept of YMC, or Youth Mediated Communication, where agricultural expertise is accurately communicated to the illiterate farmers through their children, and was intrigued to see if the bold idea actually works.

For agricultural researchers like ourselves, it is our big aim and the dream to popularize the technology that we have as a fruit of our research, and to serve farmers. However, it is not easy. Especially in foreign countries, we face large problems such as language barriers and the difficulty in accurate communication with illiterate farmers who would not read written materials.

YMC-Viet is worthy of our attention in a few points. It is basically an attempt to communicate with illiterate farmers through their literate children who go to school. But one of its innovations is the application of Language Grid, which enables the communication between Japanese agricultural specialists and Vietnamese farmers transcending the language barriers with its multi-lingual environment. Another point is the use of children in place of sensors to collect such meteorological data as temperature and humidity and to observe and record the status of rice growth including its height and the color of leaves over time, and use them as source information to give appropriate agricultural advice.

To make these series of processes work, it is important to draw out the flexible capabilities from children, who are adoptable to new things. I felt Pangaea has accumulated the attractive mix of analogue and digital technologies to masterfully guide children for this purpose.

Thanks to Pangaea technologies, children can use PCs and mobile phones to successfully and smoothly connect with their adult population despite current ICT (Information and Communication Technology) constraints and language differences between Japanese and Vietnamese.

The true result of the project is to come out from now, and we have number of issues to be solved that has come to the surface, however, I am looking forward to its future development and have high expectations to it.

Prof. Seishi Ninomiya
Institute for Sustainable Agro-ecosystem Services
The University of Tokyo

Posted by: ayako | 4. Pangaea Ring | Permalink