Did you know that different countries use different colors and tones for their news programs? Almost all countries have a basic newscaster with captions running behind them and subtitles down the bottom of the screen, but for example in Africa they use drab colors and white stands out. Europe use of bright colors like blues and black is very prominent. I want to make my work from this variance. As I originally studied visual arts at an arts university, I always found it interesting that the way people look at colors or screens, and parts they focus on are different from country to country.

“I wondered how I could make it possible to bring education to even more people.”

Realizing that the way people see things is different

The same can be said about web sites. And if this is the case, then we can begin to realize that what we consider common knowledge when we look at a web site may not actually be. For example, the shape of the “Home” button. We generally see a button shaped like a house with a triangular roof and we can recognize this as the button that will take us to the home page. However, how many countries around the world actually think of this triangular shape as a “home”. Houses have many different shapes around the world. A “house” in Japan will not necessarily be recognized in other parts of the world. It is important to make the discovery that common knowledge in Japan is not necessarily the same as that in the rest of the world. The importance of “discovery” is the most important thing I learned in class.

I was determined to learn about ICT when I looked out on the world

From my experience of living in Senegal as a volunteer in the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, I was able to experience the fact that there are many children around the world in developing countries that are unable to get an education. I wondered how I could make it possible to bring education to even more people. It was just as I was thinking on this that I learned about the new innovator course being set up at the Kobe Institute of Computing. In an environment where students come from around the world to learn, I could have a focus on “ICT4D(Information and Communication Technology for Development)” along with technical skills like programming. I wondered as I looked out on the world whether ICT would be able to provide the solutions to the myriad of issues that people face. I was so excited and determined to enter this graduate school without hesitation.

Increasing the use of e-learning in developing countries

The subject of my research is “Eye tracking in e-learning”. “Eye tracking” is used to study the movement of eyes. It was introduced to me by a professor who I approached for advice about my desire to research the use of ICT in e-learning for education. Using experiments with eye tracking, I was able to see how people from different countries focus on different parts of the screen, on different letters and on different colors. My next goal is how to use the results of these experiments to build an e-learning environment that will make it easier for students. My current struggle is to bring this concept to reality.

Toshiro Takahara