How can I provide students with more opportunities to use the language they learn in an authentic communicative setting?
How can I provide students with a long-term opportunity to communicate with the user of the target language?
Would the students’ motivation and level of engagement be lifted by increased opportunities to use the language in authentic contexts?
What did I do?
Skype Conference with a Japanese High School, Kokura Higashi High School.
Establish Wiki Space as a long- term communication place between students in both schools.
Skype Conference Between Catholic College Wodonga Y10 class and Kokura Higashi High School Y10 class
We have carried out our first Skype conference on 16 July. This was a trial of exchange - getting to know each other. In a short 30 minutes we had a few items exchanged between the two schools.
- Teachers introduced each other.
- Japanese students sang their school song.
- Brass band students performed a Japanese popular song.
- Australian students introduced themselves individually.
- Australian students sang ‘Home among the gum tree’.
- Question and answer time about students and schools.
Response - Skype
Students enjoyed a short exchange with Japanese students despite some technical difficulties.
Students believe that regular use of the Skype conference will be beneficial for their learning.
They like more individual interaction time with students, almost one to one talk situation.
The possibility of future Skype lessons - survey, discussion, debating, presentation etc.
With the text book we are currently using (Hai Ima) it is possible to use Skype conference opportunity to survey Japanese students - how much allowance (pocket money) students receive from parents each month, what they usually do in their spare time, what kind of high-tech products the Japanese students own. We can also discuss about animal horoscope, about school rules etc.
Wiki Space http://ccwlote.wikispaces.com
Students and teachers from both schools were given a page on this Wiki to create their own page.
My students completed one’s page both in English and Japanese. This page aims not only to introduce oneself but also to inform Japanese students a little bit about Australia, Australian people and its culture.
This task was set as an assessment task. 30~50% of the content has to appear in Japanese. They need to include some photos on their page. Their work was assessed on the content, the language use, presentation and their effort.
The first page on ccwlote wiki
Keiko Sensei’s page
Response - Wiki
Students enjoyed writing the profile on the Wiki. It was different, personal, involving, creative and students felt ownership of their own pages with a personal touch and customised layout.
As a writing task they also enjoyed being able to use Japanese typing system on a computer and they learnt to use other learning aid such as online dictionary.
Their written mistakes were corrected by me online. The students went back to the Wiki and they checked and wrote out their mistakes in their books. Individually I made some suggestion to change photos or a part of the content to better suit the purpose of the task.
Some student are strongly hoping to make friends with Japanese students through Wiki.
Active use of ccwlote.wikispaces
As we do not have enough Japanese students signed up for the Wiki yet we have not seen active exchange between Australian students and Japanese students.
However, the potential of using Wiki space is HUGE!
Participants can go into an individual’s page and make a comment or ask questions about the content.
Photos, video clips and audios can be easily uploaded onto the page so that participants can share their ideas and initiate discussion or raise an issue/awareness of a particular topic.
Share their favourite music, movie, useful expressions etc.
Students work - poster, movie, writing piece can be posted to the site on students’ permission to share.
Music - Japanese
What did I learn?
Overall students showed strong interest to continue with both tasks to make the most of the opportunities to use the language in authentic settings.
Through the implementation of the tasks I have witnessed that students’ motivation and level of engagement lifted in general. It catered especially well for those who dislike text book learning.
Through the investigation I have learnt the importance of receiving written feedback (survey) from students. Some good suggestions were made for future usage of Skype Conference and Wiki page. It has been a very constructive process, working with students to implement something useful and meaningful for their learning. It also created opportunities to discuss language learning skills in the class.
Wiki space has a great potential to use in education setting.
Where to now?
I would work with the Japanese school to plan the next Skype conference and provide support for the process of Japanese students signing up for Wiki.
I encourage regular use of ccwlote Wiki and monitor the progress, including regular update of the content.
I provide students with ongoing support for those who wish to take this opportunity further to extend their learning experience.
Implement regular use of Wiki space for other year levels where the need is identified.