Note Anytime Blog: Note Anytime is the note-taking app of choice for famous Japanese elementary school

Kamikatsu township recovers from terrible winter disaster by introducing iPads to their school’s curriculum – and use the Note Anytime app to teach the children the fundamentals of calligraphy and recycling.

Note Anytime is the Note Taking App of Choice for Famous Elementary School

A small Japanese town located closed to Osaka called Kamikatsu has been making international news as a pioneer in green, local and sustainable living. With less than 2000 inhabitants (making it the smallest town on the island) and 47% of the population over the age of 65, this tiny town is a rare case of innovation and technology adoption.
Following a terrible winter freeze in 1981, the town lost of all of its orange trees, which used to be the town’s main income. Necessity often being the mother of invention, new ideas started to circulate. Some of the elderly women in the town decided to grow and sell leaves which are used in traditional Japanese cuisine and to decorate dishes, as well as flowers to be used in ikebana flower arrangements. 
The mountains of leaves blocking streets around town transformed from a nuisance to “treasure trees” gracing gardens, fields and mountains. These leaves and flowers soon became and the town’s salvation and rebirth. In fact, business grew so quickly that they had to start using personal computers for order processing, shipping etc. This made news all over Japan and these elderly entrepreneurs became overnight celebrities on Japanese television, magazines etc. Soon, they evolved from PCs to adopting the lighter Samsung Galaxy tablets (aptly renamed “Granny Tablets”).

In 2012, the town’s Board of Education expanded its IT infrastructure and introduced iPads to Kamikatsu elementary school and to a Junior high school for teachers and students.  Associate Professor Koutatsu Lin of Tokushima Bunri University was sent as a lecturer “practical business uses of digital content”. Among the many choices of handwriting and note taking software, Mr. Lin chose Note Anytime to conduct classes.  Mr. Lin said that one of the reasons he selected Note Anytime over other apps was that it intuitive for teachers and students alike. Children were able to easily see what they could achieve with it and were encouraged to pursue their ideas. 

Projects ranged from making elaborate flyers, writing recipe sheets, drafting notebooks on rice cultivation and creating newsletters etc. Interestingly enough, some of the children’s parents already had an iPad at home, but they had only used it to play games. Once the children started to play and discover the possibilities of Note Anytime, they ended up teaching their teachers a thing or two!

During a visit to the school, MetaMoJi co-founder and Executive VP, Hatsuko Ukigawa met with professor Lin and the children in some of his classes. She was interested to see how they interacted with the calligraphy pen feature, practicing writing simulation for good penmanship with Note Anytime. Students in a sixth grade class working on a newspaper project even asked that shadows, colors and gradients available in calligraphy mode be extended to text frame so that text characters can be decorated too. Children will create beauty even in plain typed text!
Kamikatsu’s pioneering spirit didn’t stop with reinventing its economy and joining the 21st century with the adoption of computers. Once that was in place, the town decided to take on its next major initiative: Zero waste by 2020! Pretty ambitious even for a small town! 
Not wanting to build an incinerator, the town’s inhabitants now sorts its garbage in 34 different categories making it the first city in Japan to do so. Children in the elementary school created flyers using Note Anytime (see photo) about the recycling program. 
MetaMoji would like to extend sincere thanks to professor Koutatsu Lin for his time, to the Kamikatsu’s Elementary school faculty and the children of Kamikatsu for embracing Note Anytime as their favorite note taking software and for providing us with valuable feedback.

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