‘Your smartphone is your classroom!’
A hikikomori is a person who lives in voluntary seclusion from the public and society, According to official 2010 statistics there were 700,000 hikikomori in Japan.
Image from DannyChoo.com
In Japan, almost 120,000 pupils refuse to attend school for psychological reasons. Long term seclusion means teenagers fail to learn how to foster and develop human relationships and as such resort to an anonymous, online virtual reality life.
Hikikomori culture has been addressed in a number of anime series.
Addressing this concern Japan is said to be opening the world’s first virtual school to cater to the country’s growing population of internet addicted teens who feel that they cannot function in the real world. The Virtual School’s motto is: ‘Your smartphone is your classroom!’ I know wouldn’t have minded the option to complete high school from the comfort of my bedroom, but school is so much more than just attending classes and handing in homework right? According to The Times, the school will be launched in April 2015, having received more than 1,000 inquiries for its 300 places.
The online platform will allow students to create avatars which will be displayed when they attend virtual classes, interact with others and have the option to befriend classmates via their avatars and have homework marked by a teacher’s avatar. Classes will be made up of pre-recorded lectures streamed online and pupils will collect ‘study points’ if you get enough ‘points’ you graduate after three years.
Could this be a good strategy for other countries to follow? Think about how much quieter the roads would be with fewer ‘school runs’.
If you enjoyed reading this post please follow me on Twitter @Nihontastic