Using Epson's remote printing in combination with individualized print materials, achieved an 85% entrance exam success rate under the coronavirus outbreak!
Cram school preparation for junior high school entrance exams is not suited to full digitalization
Idea spot is a micro-school that aims to provide individualized and optimized learning through technology and small group instruction. Since its establishment, the school has developed various ICT-based learning methods, including online English conversation and robot programming classes. On the other hand, it does present a challenge in that junior high school entrance exams are a 3-legged race for students and their parents, and it can be difficult to accept a learning style where parents may be left behind. Also, the reality is that the entrance examinations still rely on paper question and answer sheets. In this context, we have been focusing on using our own printouts to reinforce weak points. That's why last year we received an inquiry from Epson through Eisyunsha Co., Ltd, the company producing the Red Book and the KAWASEMI Lite teaching materials preparation support system. They asked whether we would be interested in a service that would allow us to print teaching materials directly from the school's PC to a printer distributed to each family and to receive scanned answer data from each family via the cloud. We felt that this was a solution that perfectly fit the needs of our own educational style.
Epson Connect remote printing improved the quality of students' learning during the coronavirus crisis as well as making online mock exams a reality.
Before the system was introduced, we were more interested in the Scan to Cloud function than in the email remote printing function. In the past, teaching prior to entrance examinations, I used to ask the students to submit their notes at the end of one class, and I would return the corrected ones in the next. I also thought that it would optimize the problems students could attempt (not only in terms of quantity but also tailoring the types of problems to each child).
As we were discussing the details with Epson, the first state of emergency regarding the new coronavirus was announced, and students were not allowed to come to class. Our competitors, who were using the same printed materials as we were, were forced to respond by rushing to post large quantities of printed materials to each family. At this point, we realized it would make a huge difference if we could make remote printing available, so we asked Epson to speed up the introduction process, which they kindly agreed to, and we were able to start full-scale operation in just ten days. Especially given the limited time available, Epson was very helpful in creating a manual that was easy to understand, not only for the students and their parents but also for the school's teachers. The service was well-received, and word of mouth soon brought new applicants to the school. Even after the state of emergency was cancelled, we continued to offer high quality teaching while still maintaining as little actual contact as possible, which also helped alleviate parents' anxiety. We're very happy that the quality of learning has not deteriorated during the coronavirus crisis, and thanks to the Scan to Cloud function, we were able to conduct mock exams online. During the special training sessions right before the entrance examinations at the end of the year and the beginning of the new year, we were even more sensitive to the risk of infection but were able to print out the paper question and answer sheets remotely using the Mail de Remote printing function so the mock examinations could happen at home in the same way as they would in the classroom. Many parents commented on the tests to say it's not often they get the chance to see their child taking a test and how excited they were to see their child trying so hard to answer the difficult questions. This was only possible because of our approach to the challenges presented by the coronavirus, but thanks to Epson Connect, we could provide this satisfaction.
Analysis of printer logs improves the resolution of information essential to exam guidance
Another thing that we've found useful with the introduction of this service is the possibility of using learning logs to optimize individual learning. At idea spot, the teachers have been using Excel to organize the results of their grading and other data to create individual print materials for each student. Now that we have the various logs collected from the printers though, the resolution of the information has improved dramatically. For example, we can now clearly visualize which subjects the students are working hard on and at what times, and we now have some level of control over when their performance peaks. This year, with the coronavirus crisis, we wanted to give students and their parents as much peace of mind as possible, so we decided to bring their academic ability to a peak in November, a little earlier than usual, and then maintain that. I feel that doing that has also expanded our range of future strategies a lot.
I'd also say that during the New Year holidays, when we would usually be getting ready for battle, the lecturers, including myself, were able to do most of our work at home - from distributing the printed materials to correcting them, thanks to the Mail de Remote printing and scan to cloud functions. Thanks to this, we could get more rest than in previous years, and none of us fell ill. It's difficult to verify the exact results because of the exceptional circumstances, but we're thrilled we could achieve a success rate of 85% for the students we directly supervised, which is comparable to the previous year.
*For more about Epson Connect: http://www.epsonconnect.com/
Interview: February 2021
Written interview content and names of organization, affiliations, and titles, etc. are as of the time of the interview.