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Next-generation Educational Project
Utilizing Astronaut Training Methods(J-SPARC)
Moving toward full-scale rollout of project using DiscoveRe Method non-cognitive skill diagnosis program

December 18, 2020 (JST)

Space BD Inc.
Zoshinkai Holdings Inc.
National Research & Development Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Space BD Inc. (Masatoshi Nagasaki, Co-founder & CEO; hereinafter, “Space BD”), Zoshinkai Holdings Inc. (Takaaki Fujii, CEO; hereinafter, “Z-kai Group”), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Hiroshi Yamakawa, President; hereinafter, “JAXA”) have teamed up with 15 schools nationwide (having more than 5000 students in total) to ascertain and improve educational effectiveness in school venues using the DiscoveRe Method (trademark pending)(*1), the first systematic non-cognitive skill(*2) diagnosis program in Japan to adopt astronauts as role models, and to move toward a full-scale rollout of this project.

■ Development process for DiscoveRe Method non-cognitive skill diagnosis program
Space BD and Z-kai Group, via the J-SPARC(*3) concept co-creation activities started in November 2018, prepared a prototype non-cognitive skill diagnosis program compatible with the three “character and skill” pillars in the Ministry of Education’s new curriculum guidelines(*4), and undertook program verification in conjunction with experiential learning activities at Kaijo Junior & Senior High School (Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo). A transition was made in April 2020 to J-SPARC joint project verification and the DiscoveRe Method was developed around the two diagnostic tools of subjective assessment-based “Self-checks” and objective assessment-based “Skill-checks”. JAXA provided development advice and know-how stemming from astronaut training conducted heretofore and will be pursuing research on methodologies utilizing this diagnosis program to measure effectiveness in the Space Education Center’s school classroom collaboration. In addition, a consortium comprising the Z-kai Group company Z-kai Solutions Inc. (Soichi Amino, President and Representative Director) and Space BD proposed a verification project utilizing this program in August 2020 that was selected as an advanced educational software introduction verification project by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) (EdTech Introduction Subsidies(*5)).

Space BD, Z-kai Group and JAXA will look from next fiscal year onward to implement this project in earnest at even more schools, pursue research on methods for measuring its effectiveness in improving non-cognitive skills, and help create human resources who will exercise their own potential and become the builders of a better society as our era undergoes rapid and unpredictable change.

A DiscoveRe Method briefing/trial session was held online from 13:30 to 14:30 on Tuesday, December 22. Applications and inquiries should be sent to the Space BD and Z-kai Solutions contacts indicated at the end of this release.

■ “DiscoveRe Method Astronaut Training-based Non-cognitive Skill Diagnosis Program” website:
			(Japanese only)

“DiscoveRe Method Astronaut Training-based Non-cognitive Skill Diagnosis Program” website:
(Japanese only) Link

■ Commercialization efforts for Next-generation Educational Project Utilizing Astronaut Training Methods

Commercialization efforts for Next-generation Educational Project Utilizing Astronaut Training Methods

■Joint project verification for J-SPARC Next-generation Educational Project Utilizing Astronaut Training Methods

Joint project verification for J-SPARC Next-generation Educational Project Utilizing Astronaut Training Methods

*1 A neologism combining “Discover” and “Reflection” that also derives from the Space Shuttle Discovery on which project advisor Naoko Yamazaki flew as an astronaut

*2 A collective term for those abilities deemed difficult to measure or teach, including self-control and communication skills, as opposed to cognitive skills such as academic proficiency

*3 JAXA Space Innovation through Partnership and Co-Creation (J-SPARC) is a program that begins with dialogue between JAXA and private business operators seeking to enter the space business and then endeavors to create new businesses by establishing commitments by both parties to commercialization and jointly considering business concepts and exit-oriented technological development and verification. Launched in May 2018, this program now has about 20 projects underway. Joint concept creation projects might entail conducting market surveys and studying concepts for business, while joint verification projects involve such efforts as joint feasibility studies and joint technological development/verification prior to commercialization.

“Verification” for the purposes of this release refers to verification of J-SPARC project activities overall, and not verification of content already provided by the DiscoveRe Method. (Japanese Only)

*4 A foundation for product development was established by analyzing and structuring “behavioral markers” that define qualities and abilities (competencies) required of astronauts. Astronaut qualities/skills comprise a three-tier structure of skills, knowledge and attitude that conforms to the three pillars of competencies listed in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s new curriculum guidelines.

*5 The Advanced Educational Software Introduction Verification Program (EdTech Introduction Subsidies) partially subsidizes project expenses and other costs incurred in introducing educational services that utilize EdTech software and IT into schools in order to encourage the nationwide dissemination of educational innovations in cooperation with schools, school founders (local boards of education, educational corporations, etc.) and the educational industry.
(From METI’S “EdTech Introduction Subsidies”: Link


[Space BD Inc.] Masatoshi Nagasaki, Co-founder & CEO

[Space BD Inc.] Masatoshi Nagasaki, Co-founder & CEO

“The skills genuinely required by society constitute an indefinable ‘something’ that goes beyond academic ability. If we can neither evaluate nor measure it, then we cannot verbalize its importance nor teach it.”

I am extremely pleased that we have made great strides forward in addressing this long-standing issue in partnership with JAXA and the Z-kai Group and with the help of former astronaut Ms. Naoko Yamasaki and Mr. Tatsuo Kitagawa. We will be introducing individual students in their own classrooms to the frame of mind that astronauts deem crucial and thereby providing them with opportunities to raise their awareness and with catalysts for self-transformation. We hope through this project to help foster human resources capable of taking on active roles in an unpredictable future.

[Zoshinkai Holdings Inc.] Takaaki Fujii, CEO

[Zoshinkai Holdings Inc.] Takaaki Fujii, CEO

I am very happy indeed that we are able to announce a revolutionary educational program based on astronaut training developed through a three-way partnership. As a private-sector educational service provider, we regard the ability to cope with rapid and unpredictable changes, the ability to create new value and the desire and ability to tackle unfamiliar issues as qualities of significant value that the children of the next generation should acquire. We hope the numerous students who will use this program will find it helpful in tapping their own potential and creating a better society. The Z-kai Group will be doing its part in this three-way partnership to cultivate personnel able to boldly open the way to the future regardless of the changes confronting them.

[Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency] Kaori Sasaki, Director, Space Education Center

[Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency] Kaori Sasaki, Director, Space Education Center

Space is a field that easily excites interest among children. The feeling of excitement engendered by space fosters in them the willingness to take on challenges for themselves. With a motto of “Space ignites the hearts of children,” we are supporting a variety of educational fields with space education utilizing a wide range of knowledge obtained through space-related activities. Given the need to survive today’s rapid social changes, growing importance of the “21st century skills” is being attached to skills, knowledge and the ability to think for oneself, as embodied in creative thinking and social intelligence that are irreplaceable by the AI. I’m aware of that the educational front have been actively seeking out effective educational methods for fostering these skills, and we expect that this program will be utilized as one such method.