learn from the world and return to the community, Manufacturing and environmental technology education

ESD practice at the Toyama National College of Technology


Introducing ESD to engineer training

The knowledge and methods deepened through overseas visits, seminars and symposia are to be fed back into the college.

1. Efforts toward eco-school activities

Developing new ESD programs for engineer training that integrates the humanities and the sciences, combining the characteristics of International programs at the Imizu campus and those of the Ecodesign Engineering programs at the Hongo campus in accordance with the consolidation of technical colleges.

2. Introducing ESD to subjects in the humanities (civics, Japanese literature, English)

Upgrading practical English proficiency, which is an essential skill for international interaction, as well as deepening understanding of ethics and Japanese culture.

3. Introducing ESD to specialized subjects (experiments and practical training)

Incorporating the efforts toward sustainable development as topics of specialized subject classes that focus on experiments and practical training, allowing students to learn environmental technology and skills in consensus building.

4. ESD practice using PBL at the Advanced Course

At the Advanced Course, where PBL (Problem/Project-Based Learning) is adopted, human resources who can identify and solve problems by themselves from ESD perspectives are developed.

ESD Seminars

Seminars are held to provide opportunities to think about SD (Sustainable Development).

Significance of international collaboration in education

James Martin (Ballyclare Secondary School, Northern Ireland, UK)

Knowing the importance of continuing exchanges where the “faces are visible” by means of ICT or other such tools

Difference in culture between Korea and Japan, and significance of exchange

Kyung Sook Kang (Toyama Municipal Office Tourism Promotion Division)

Making a network for learning, starting with understanding and respecting the culture of each country

Energy technology and environmental education in Denmark

Hiroyuki Uesaka (Faculty of Child Development and Education, Toyama University of International Studies)

Learning from Denmark’s future-oriented energy technology that allows people to coexist with nature, and environmental education there

Efforts to be a company that develops along with the community

Tatsuo Kawahara (YKK Corporation)

Thinking about the human resources necessary for a global company to develop along with the community

Nuclear power and sustainability

Shinya Nagasaki (Department of Nuclear Engineering and Management, School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo)

Studying nuclear power generation and giving thought to future energy

On palm oil – what does earth-friendly mean exactly? (Held twice on both campuses)

Tomoo Arakawa (My Ticket Inc.)

Developing a critical point of view using industrial products familiar to the public, and thinking about future-directed “monozukuri” (making things)

ICT and society – setting out on a journey to the future

George Glass (British Telecom)

Thinking of the global society in the future brought about by the technological development of the means of communication

Educational situation in Northern Ireland, UK

David Farrell (Ballyclare Secondary School, Northern Ireland, UK)

Learning about education in Northern Ireland where natural features and technological innovation are utilized

Seminar on technical writing in English

Koki Tokuda (full-time instructor, Japan Society for Technical Communication)

Learning technical communication in English, an essential skill for engineers who take leading roles in technological innovation on global scenes

ESD practice at the Toyama National College of Technology

Activity report

Eco-tour to think about technology at the frontline of desertification

(Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China)

Background to the setting up of the eco-tour

With the progress of economic globalization, Inner Mongolia (Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China) saw continued “unsustainable development” such as overgrazing, growing of crops inappropriate for the soil, and excessive use of ground water. Consequently, aggravated desertification, causing the yellow sand phenomenon due to dust storms, has been not only threatening the livelihoods of local residents but also exerting global influence. As a matter of fact, such desertification is a global environmental issue that is closely connected to the industrial structure and the way of life of each individual who is living in the global society. Now, the people of Inner Mongolian, who have realized the mistakes of their previous way of “development”, have started to make the change towards “sustainable development” through their efforts to find out alternative ideas and methods. Witnessing such efforts will help the students feel the importance of “sustainable development” from their own standpoint as future professionals. This tour has been incorporated into the education curriculum at the Toyama National College of Technology as an overseas internship program for which credits are granted, with the aim of cultivating young minds that will strive to develop new technologies in collaboration with diverse people in the world, the new technologies helping anyone in the world to live environmentally-friendly lives while preserving traditional cultures – through visits to the frontline of desertification and looking at a societal problem of global dimensions.

Educational effects and evaluation

Over the period of two years, 8 students and 8 teachers participated in the tour, and created presentation slide materials at the follow-up training by compiling what they experienced, felt and learned.

Students reported what they realized and learned as follows: environmental destruction is a complex issue resulting from various problems such as ethnic problems and economic disparities intricately intertwined with each other; social development that respects history, culture, and local people’s pride and dignity would be necessary to solve such a problem, rather than just taking countermeasures; and mutual cultural understanding would be important for technological development.

In addition, they created a poster to organize what they learned during the tour, and exhibited it at such occasions as the Eco-Products Exhibition and the Asian International Symposium on Ecotechnology.

ASET – discussing the future of ESD and echo technology on an international stage

About ASET

ASET stands for the Asian Symposium on EcoTechnology. This international symposium on eco-technology is held annually, organized by the Institute of National Colleges of Technology and managed by one of the colleges, such as the Toyama National College of Technology, each year. It features lectures, presentations and debates by researchers invited from Asian countries, as well as research presentations by students and recognition of awards.

n the ASET, the word Ecotechnology does not simply mean environmental engineering in a narrow sense. This is a coined word, with “E” representing “Environment”, “Energy”, “Economy”, and “Epoch”, and “Co” representing “Consciousness”, “Communication”, and “Consensus”. Future-oriented technologies connoting these are discussed in the symposium.

Every year, many students, including 5th grade students and Advanced Course students of this college, as well as students from other colleges, and students who graduated from this college and entered other universities, participate in the ASET and make research presentations. Through such activities, students deepen exchange with researchers and students from Asian countries, and acquire a sense of mission and responsibility as engineers who will take leading roles in the environmental technology of Asia, and acquire global viewpoints and the professional attitude to collaborate with worldwide researchers.

Activity results

In particular, at the ASET 15 (held in November 2008, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture), a forum entitled “Environmental Education and Human Resources Development at National Colleges of Technology and Science and Technology Colleges – through Activities such as Contemporary GP” was held, where activity reports were given by people from universities and colleges from around Japan. Students of the Toyama National College of Technology made reports on what they learned through ESD, including the results of the exchange with Northern Ireland and what they acquired through the eco-tour to Inner Mongolia. At the ASET 16 (held in October 2009, Dalian, China), lectures on ESD at colleges and universities in Asian countries (Malaysia, South Korea, etc.) were delivered, and ESD sessions were newly organized, where presentations and debates on ESD activities at various educational institutions including the Toyama National College of Technology were conducted.

Thus, with the advent of the Contemporary GP, the ASET has been developing from a symposium that creates innovations in environmental technology to a symposium that also promotes ESD research for the fostering of engineers who play active roles in Asia and around the world. The ASET is aiming to develop further as an international symposium where researchers and students learn together beyond nationality and culture, and where ESD for engineers is built, familiarized and improved.

Exchange-based learning with Northern Ireland, UK, through environmental problems

Purpose and description of activity

Twelve students from three classes on the Imizu campus and two classes on the Hongo campus participated in videoconferences and joint meetings of technical colleges. At the joint meetings of technical colleges, they discussed and determined the Japan-UK consciousness survey items. Furthermore, they discussed the details with the students in Northern Ireland, UK, through videoconferences between the two countries. They conducted a questionnaire survey about environmental issues at both schools in the UK and Japan. They created graphs based on the questionnaire results at the joint meeting of the colleges, and gave a mini presentation to the students at Ballyclare Secondary School through a videoconference.

Activity results

After the videoconference, 17 environmental posters created by the students were sent from Ballyclare Secondary School. On the Imizu campus, the posters were displayed in the corridor and a campaign was carried out to raise awareness among the students towards the environment.

Comments from the students who attended the joint meetings revealed their eagerness about the next learning sessions. After the videoconference, seven students and three teachers from Ballyclare Secondary School came to Japan and conducted a joint presentation with the College of Technology based on the activity results.

From the students’ comments

Through the videoconference and interaction with students of Northern Ireland, I realized how difficult it was to communicate. Simply expressing our opinion or asking a question in English involves a lot of work such as looking the word up and practicing pronunciation. And asking questions and listening to the opinions of the students in the other country through the actual videoconference made me recognize my lack of English ability and desire to improve my ability.

Development of ESD materials for engineer training

Classwork in a specialized subject (Advanced Course) using a robot car

For the purpose of prompting the students to think about radical decision making in the operations research class of the Advanced Course, we prototyped an automated guided vehicle (hereafter, “robot car”) that can measure and display its energy consumption, running time and travel distance. Furthermore, we used the robot car as a teaching tool in class to prompt the students to think about the optimum running state. Questionnaire results revealed that this way of teaching made the students feel that they acquired correct knowledge about optimization and decision making, and the ability to study and learn by themselves.

Also, it was found that using a robot car to conduct a class was significantly effective because it helped the students understand the utility value of operations research. Classwork using a robot car can be applied to any level of teaching, from elementary school to university levels, by changing the content.

Using a robot car to teach elementary and junior high school students

With the aim of providing opportunities to build thinking power necessary for sustainable development using a topic related to the effective utilization of energy, we conducted classes for elementary school and junior high school students using the “robot car”, which uses energy effectively, as a hands-on training tool.

We provided a visiting class for Tomei Elementary School, Imizu City, and conducted an “Eco-Run” contest in which the participants competed on how far they could run the robot car.

In a satellite program for junior high school students, we provided a “Basic Robot Workshop with the Robot Car” and conducted hands-on training in eco-drive programming.

Such a process of thinking, trying, and discussing repeatedly helps the students develop the “eyes to make better selections” and the “attitude to use things in better ways” as individuals constituting contemporary and future society, as well as providing the starting point to foster engineers who can “produce better products”.

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