(BPT) - What will be the world's next big innovation? Whether it's a cure for a disease that has plagued the world for generations or a new tool that makes life easier, one thing is for sure: science and technology will play a role in its creation.
To encourage high school students and passionate teachers to step up to the plate and take on the challenge of transforming the world for the better, Toshiba Corporation, a world-leading diversified manufacturer, solutions provider and marketer of advanced electronic and electrical products and systems, has teamed up with the nonprofit U.S.-Japan Council to create the TOMODACHI Toshiba Science & Technology Leadership Academy.
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy made the official announcement in mid December 2013. "We are delighted to hear that the Toshiba Corporation has partnered with the TOMODACHI Initiative," said Kennedy. "Toshiba's generous funding to TOMODACHI will connect young Japanese and American people through leadership education in science and technology, building a strong, enduring U.S.-Japan relationship. I thank them for their generosity and support."
The new academy's mission will be to nurture a strong sense of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) literacy, and to inspire students to use engineering design process to come up with an idea that addresses some of the world's most complex issues.
The academy links the TOMODACHI Initiative's roots in disaster recovery and Toshiba's founding commitment to technological innovation, as well as the company's passion for science and technology education. During the week-long, cross-cultural academy, which will take place each year in August in Tokyo, 16 high school students and eight teachers from Japan and the U.S. will work together to address global issues. Participants will work in teams to develop proposed solutions to secure a sustainable future for the planet while using learning experiences that are central to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
The U.S. high school students invited to enroll in the academy will be selected from among the participants in the 2013 and 2014 Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition, which is the world's largest K-12 science competition. Invitations will be offered based on an essay in which participants are asked to describe their vision for a resilient, smarter community enabled by technology. High school teachers who are also National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) members are invited to apply to join the academy by developing an innovative hands-on STEM lesson plan. Their Japanese counterparts will be selected from students and teachers at high schools in Japan that promote strong initiatives and achievements in science and mathematics education and international student exchanges.
'The National Science Teachers Association is proud of be part of the TOMODACHI Toshiba Science & Technology Leadership Academy,' said David Evans, executive director of the NSTA. 'We look forward to fostering a vibrant relationship between talented U.S. and Japanese students and teachers who will not only be learning from each other, but also working together to share ideas and design a smarter planet for us all.'
Approximately 55,000 members strong, the Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association is the largest professional organization in the world, promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.
'As a strategic partner of the TOMODACHI initiative, we are pleased to contribute to reinforcing the already strong ties between the United States and Japan,' said Atsutoshi Nishida, chairman of Toshiba Corporation. 'We are deeply committed to promoting innovation, and we want our program to help to cultivate a love of science among future leaders in the United States and Japan and to encourage friendship.'
For more information about the TOMODACHI Toshiba Science & Technology Leadership Academy, visit www.exploravision.org and www.toshiba.com/csr/education_tomodachi_stem.jsp and www.usjapantomodachi.org.