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Transforming design education for Japan’s K-12 students

As design skills become more critical for jobs in every field, educators in Japan can now apply to access Figma through its partnership with Google for Education.

Today, we’re expanding our partnership with Google for Education to bring Figma and FigJam directly to K-12 schools across Japan through Chromebook, the country’s most popular personal computing device for students, and Google Workspace for Education. Districts can now apply to bring Figma to their classrooms.

While over 90% of households have internet access in Japan, many students still face the challenge of limited access to digital design tools, with software being available only in a computer lab or classroom setting. Figma’s partnership with Google will allow school districts in Japan to deploy and manage Figma Enterprise licenses with Google’s admin console for free, giving millions of students the opportunity to brainstorm, collaborate, and design with industry-standard tools on their personal school devices. As hardware and software become even more integral to daily life, access to this technology only becomes more critical for students.

Japanese students collaborating through FigJam on their ChromebooksJapanese students collaborating through FigJam on their Chromebooks
A Japanese student uses FigJamA Japanese student uses FigJam

Fostering more engaged, future-ready students

Our partnership with Google for Education began last year in the United States, where students and educators wholeheartedly embraced Figma's products, using them to unlock the full potential of their powerful Chromebooks. This journey began with a closed beta program that saw enthusiastic applications pouring in from all 50 US states.

Our partnership with Google for Education began last year with a closed beta program in the US. Students and educators from across all 50 states began using Figma’s products on their school-issued Chromebook devices, envisioning everything from design concepts to support nonprofit causes, to crafting app prototypes aimed at improving local government services. FigJam, our whiteboarding and collaboration tool, also became critical for educators to reinvent their classrooms and curriculums, fostering interactivity and engagement in unprecedented ways. From lesson plans to group projects and study guides, FigJam has become a place where teachers and students can co-create their unique learning experiences together.

“Now it’s more important than ever for students to develop skills around design and visual communication,” says Figma Chief Executive Officer Dylan Field. “Design helps students with complex problem solving, collaboration, and creative expression, skills every student will need to thrive in the future. We either can live in a world where people with fancy degrees have access to opportunities to do more work in design and in software, or we can live in a world where everyone has access to those opportunities. Figma is dedicated to the latter.”

A student and teacher works together in FigJamA student and teacher works together in FigJam

Helping more students develop core design and collaboration skills will be critical to preparing them for the jobs of the future. As McKinsey reports, design-driven companies “increased their revenues and total returns to shareholders (TRS) substantially faster than their industry counterparts did over a five-year period—32 percentage points higher revenue growth and 56 percentage points higher TRS growth for the period as a whole.” Similarly, McKinsey reports that non-designers are now more likely to have “intrinsic design literacy,” showing many types of employees are more conscious of design.

Supporting the next generation of Japanese design talent

From pioneering mass-produced laptops to portable music players and the iconic bullet train, Japanese technology has not only transformed daily life around the world, it has also led the way in global technological advancements. Japan’s education system has demonstrated a commitment to access and equity, and boasts one of the world’s highest national high school graduation rates, exceeding 95%. Funding at the national level ensures equal opportunities for all schools, and a unique approach to teacher hiring at the prefectural level allows for more strategic teacher distribution based on specific needs.

While Japan surged ahead in these educational benchmarks, it has been slower in adopting computers in its classrooms. In 2019, in order to better prepare students for the demands of a modernized workforce, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology launched the Global Information Gateway for All (GIGA) school program to provide a device for each student with a high-speed network in schools.

By bringing Figma’s web-based design tools to the classroom, we are helping to fuel creativity, collaboration, and opportunity for a new generation.
Andy Russell, Group Product Manager, Google for ChromeOS EDU and Family

Millions of students in Japan now use Chromebooks through the Google for Education program. Google for Education Head of Government Relations Seiko Nakano says, “About half of Japan’s local governments and boards of education have decided to adopt Google for Education, because it best fits the ideal learning environment outlined in the GIGA School Plan.” While Chromebooks helped advance the hardware goals of GIGA, Figma’s software tools can make a similar impact by offering educators and students a powerful platform for collaboration, design, and innovation. “Design is a foundational skill for today’s increasingly digital world,” says Andy Russell, a Group Product Manager at Google for ChromeOS EDU and Family. “By bringing Figma’s web-based design tools to the classroom, we are helping to fuel creativity, collaboration, and opportunity for a new generation. Figma is powerful, but approachable for the whole class, and we are thrilled to expand our program and put it in the hands of Japanese students on Chromebooks in schools and at home.”

What’s more, with robust office presences and large local teams to support Japanese customers, both Figma and Google are prepared to meet the demand in the Japanese market. At Figma, we see Japan as a core part of our product, community, and company; Japan was the first place where Figma localized its user interface—making it even easier for students and educators to use the product in their local language. “Chromebooks and Figma together provide students with the tools they need to operate and succeed in an increasingly digital world,” says Figma Japan Country Manager Hiroaki Kawanobe. “We believe by expanding this program to Japan, we can teach important digital and design skills to students at an earlier age—and empower this future generation to usher in digital transformation in Japan.”

A student and teacher works together in FigmaA student and teacher works together in Figma

As we expand this exciting journey with Japan’s educators and students, we invite school leaders to bring Figma to their schools. “Figma is a very suitable tool for children to create new ideas and values by organizing insights and hints from their surroundings, getting inspiration from others, and creating ideas and concepts through trial and error,” says Mr. Matsumoto, Headmaster at Harayama Elementary School, which is piloting the Chromebooks and Google Workspace for Education Program. “The teachers in our school find Figma makes it easier to collect opinions and learning outcomes and to deepen and broaden dialogue, and allows us to grasp students’ thinking—adding breadth and depth to the lessons.”

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