San Diego Business Journal

Sony Electronics Inc., has partnered with UC San Diego Education Studies Department to launch of KOOV Academy, a program that will enable educators to teach STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math — in the classroom.

The partnership aims to help more college students become well-rounded, creative problem solvers and foster 21st-century skills.

“Sony is proud to support and encourage student innovators with KOOV Academy,” said Michiko Araki, vice president of marketing and new business at Sony Electronics. “Our teachers and students are of utmost importance, and we will continue to prepare them well to drive innovation — they are where it all begins.”

Sony Electronics is a leader in electronics for the consumer and professional markets with its headquarters in Scripps Ranch San Diego.

Over the last three years, Sony has been focused on the global education business line and launched its KOOV, its first EdTech hardware product in 2018.

An all-in-one coding, robotics and design kit, KOOV combines digital coding with physical building to teach the next generation of innovators. Initially launched in Japan and China, the team is now expanding into the U.S. market, starting in San Diego.

Partnering with UC San Diego

In partnership with UC San Diego, Sony will select a handful of educators who are interested in teaching KOOV Robotics in the classroom. The STEAM program help them design lesson plans, offer trainings, and provide classroom support for the kickoff of their programs.

“UC San Diego is committed to promoting diversity in STEAM fields. KOOV Academy will help us reach and excite our diverse student population with fun hands-on activities through project-based approaches,” said Carolyn Hofstetter, chair of the education studies department at UC San Diego. “We hope to engage more students in integrated STREAM (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Art and Math) learning. KOOV is a perfect robotics learning tool that can attract many students in STREAM learning.”

“We are excited about this opportunity to make computer science education accessible for more kids, schools and communities. We appreciate Sony’s partnership in this important endeavor,” she added. 

Donating Kits

A KOOV kit contains blocks, motors and sensors kids can put together to create robots and small machines they can program. It can make classes a lot more fun and ignite kids’ interest in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) subjects.

Priced at $520, the KOOV can be used by four to five children at a time, ages 7 and older. Sony also launched a more affordable version of its robot coding kit, a KOOV Trial Kit priced at $250.

More recently, Sony has donated its KOOV robotics and coding kits to classrooms to serve underprivileged students across San Diego, enabling them to start their programs.

“We recently worked with San Diego County Office of Education to donated kits to teachers are interested in learning about the KOOV Robotics Education,” said Araki. “We not only provided the kits, but also the training as well.”

Goal to Expand Beyond San Diego

As of now, it’s too soon to state whether Sony’s education business unit will become as significant as its other verticals.

Looking forward, Sony’s executives are betting the investment will be important for attracting future employees, helping underserved students, as well as improving the technology ecosystem altogether.

“This is about future careers — UC San Diego is a critical partner and a pillar in the community,” said Cheryl Goodman, head of corporate communications and corporate social responsibility at Sony Electronics. “We’re making sure not only that Sony has a healthy pipeline to choose from but also that our peers in technology do too. UC San Diego will be a big part of this solution for us.”

After a successful rollout in San Diego, the goal is to increase access to its KOOV kits into other regions as well as expand nation-wide.

For those interested in KOOV Academy participation or seek to hear about opportunities in the community, you can submit an interest form here.


SONY CORP.

FOUNDED: 1946

CEO: Kenichiro Yoshida

HEADQUARTERS: Rancho Bernardo

BUSINESS: Global company focused on electronics, gaming, and entertainment.

STOCK: SNE on Nasdaq

REVENUE: $3.54 billion in Q3 2020

EMPLOYEES: Over 3,000 in San Diego

WEBSITE: www.sony.net

NOTABLE: In 2018, Sony launched KOOV, its first education hardware product.

CONTACT: (858) 942-2400