Japanese Teachers Association of Michigan

Posted by Betsy on May 8, 2015 in InstructionalDesign, Language, Web2.0 |

Short link to this post: v.gd/jtamws

Japanese Teachers Association of Michigan

MSU Workshop for Teachers of Japanese

I am honored to be the invited presenter at this year’s Japanese Language Teacher Workshop of the Japanese Teachers Association of Michigan on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at Michigan State University.

The workshop is titled Technology Resources for Teaching Japanese: Assessment, Self-study, and Authentic Materials.

The following links are to the main materials for the presentation:

Slides – Google Drive

Today’s Meet (backchannel)

If you are planning to attend this workshop, please read about the tools and resources below. If any of them sound useful to you, please click the links and explore them in more detail. Particularly helpful will be creating accounts and downloading mobile apps in advance of the workshop. Please come with questions! This will help you get the most out of the workshop. I’m looking forward to working with you!

Tools Presented

Part 1. Assessment: Gathering data through response systems/in-class technology

  • Today’s Meet
  • Plickers
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad, or Android (only 1 needed per classroom)
    • Description: Students respond to multiple-choice and true-false questions using specially designed paper that they hold up. The teacher scans the room using a smart phone or tablet. The results can be instantly displayed.
  • Socrative
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Instructor creates multiple-choice, true-false, or short answer questions. Students respond using laptops or mobile devices. The instructor can display the results as they come in. You can let students respond anonymously or require students to enter their names. You can also use this system for in-class quizzes.
    • Student login page (use to respond to questions during this workshop)
  • J-CAT
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (not mobile)
    • Description: Proficiency test for Japanese learners that assesses listening, vocabulary, grammar, and reading. This could be used as a placement test or exit test.
  • CLEAR Rich Internet Applications
  • YouTube – video recording & editing
  • VoiceThread – digital storytelling
  • IZI.travel
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone
    • Description: Using the web interface, create an audio tour of a location. Using the mobile app, experience the audio tour. It automatically begins to play when you get close to a location with tour information.
    • More: Ideas for using IZI.travel for language classes

Part 2. Study resources: Self-study and test preparation

  • Dr. Moku
    • Cost: Free to try; full version is $2.85 to $4.99, depending on the platform/app
    • Platform: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: This is actually several different apps for learning hiragana, katakana, and kanji, based on mnemonics. The pictures that are associated with the hiragana and katakana characters are quite memorable and may be especially helpful for younger learners.
    • More: Try out the web version of the hiragana app for free.
  • HelloTalk
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Language exchange via text or voice. Includes tools for correction, sending images and drawings, and timing your exchange.
    • More: HelloTalk from a teacher’s perspective
  • Voice Dream
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad
    • Description: Text-to-speech app. Reads Japanese text aloud. Free version reads 50 characters aloud before pausing – which I consider an advantage for learners!
  • VReader
    • Cost: Free to try, $3.99 upgrade to get full books
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad
    • Description: Text-to-speech app. Reads Japanese books aloud, one sentence at a time. Also links some words to dictionary definitions. Free trial contains short excerpts of Japanese books. Paid upgrade contain entire books, including Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, Soseki Natsumi’s Kokoro, and various classic tales. Note that although the reading is generally accurate, the app does make mistakes, e.g., reading 行った as おこなった in every case.
    • More: Betsy’s review of VReader
  • Kanji LS Touch
    • Cost: $11.99
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Study writing kanji, including correct stroke order. Study based on JLPT levels, school year, or Joyo kanji. Write using your finger.
  • Jisho
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Any web browser, including mobile
    • Description: Japanese-English bilingual dictionary with advanced features such as handwriting and voice input.
  • Eijiro
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Bilingual dictionary. The strength of this dictionary is its great collection of bilingual examples. You need to create a free account and log in to get more examples.
  • Kanji Alive
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (not mobile)
    • Description: Kanji dictionary for learners. Provides details about 1235 kanji, including animated stroke order, audio pronunciations of examples, mnemonics, and historical derivation of radical. Also shows you the kanji written in four popular fonts.
  • Quizlet
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Create flashcards that include images and automatically generated audio. Play games and take tests with the words.
  • Kanjibox
    • Cost: Free (web), $4.99 (iOS app)
    • Platform: Web, iPhone, iPad
    • Description: Study kanji in isolation, as part of words, and embedded in sentences. As in-app purchases, you can access handwriting practice for kana ($0.99) and kanji ($0.99). The app itself judges whether you wrote the character correctly. There are also grammar lessons ($0.99 each).

Part 3. Authentic materials and resources

  • Rikaichan/Rikaikun
  • Yomiwa
    • Cost: $3.99
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad
    • Description: View Japanese text through this app and see the reading and meaning on the screen. You can also take a photo and process it through the app in the same way. It does not work well if you try to view a computer screen via the app.
  • Add ruby text to your documents
    • Platform: Word (search Help for “phonetic guide”), Open Office, Pages
    • Cost: Free (included in price of word processing application)
    • Description: In these three word processing applications, you can add phonetic guides (in hiragana by default) to any characters that you choose. Used strategically, this can help students access authentic materials that would otherwise be too difficult for them to read.
  • Matcha
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Japanese travel magazine available in multiple languages, including EnglishJapanese and simplified Japanese. You can find the same article in all three versions–although you will probably have to search, rather than finding them all on the respective homepages.
  • DramaFever
    • Cost: Free (ad supported); $9.99/month
    • Platform: Web (mobile apps available on paid plan)
    • Description: Watch Japanese (and other) dramas with or without English subtitles. Shows currently airing in Japan are available, as well as other recent shows.
  • 20Q
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Play 20 Questions in Japanese. Proper names cannot be used.
  • Akinator
    • Cost: Free (web, including mobile); $1.99 (mobile app)
    • Platform: Web (including mobile), iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Play 20 Questions in Japanese. Use names of real or fictional people.
  • Speech to text
    • TalkTyper
    • Dictation.io
    • Mobile devices (e.g., Siri on iPhone)
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web, mobile
    • Description: Students use these tools to check their pronunciation. If they pronounce words clearly, the resulting text will be what they intended. With mobile assistants like Siri, they will also get the intended response. Keep in mind that the tools are not perfect, though! Hilarity may result instead.
  • Text to speech
    • Vocalware
    • Acapela
    • Sitepal (requires Flash)
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: These sites read text in a variety of languages, including Japanese. The voices are robotic, but not bad. Students can use this to check their pronunciation. It can also serve as a confirmation that they have written what they intended.
  • Language exchange
    • Open Language Exchange
    • My Language Exchange
    • Shared Talk
    • The Mixxer
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web
    • Description: Students can use any of these sites to find a language exchange partner. Keep in mind that this is an exchange, so they would need to speak English for half of the exchange time and Japanese for the other half. The Mixxer has tools for teachers to teachers to collaborate with and tools for students to request confirmation that they participated in an exchange.
    • More: Book chapter about The Mixxer
  • Gacco: The Japan MOOC
    • Platform: Web
    • Cost: Free
    • Description: This site offers MOOCs (massive open online courses) in Japanese. Courses are available on topics including manga, anime, and games; haikuequality and freedom in the middle ages in Japan;  culture, scenery, and traditional crafts in Kyoto. Course videos include transcripts.
    • Limitations: You have to enrolling in these courses on the schedule that they are being taught, which may not sync up with your school schedule. However, if you enroll in advance of when you want to use the materials, you may be able to download the videos, transcripts, and other materials for later use.
  • MangaBox (Japanese and English)
    • Platform: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Cost: Free
    • Description: Free manga, originally written in Japanese. English translations are also available. Within the app settings, you can change the language of the manga from Japanese to English and back.
    • Limitations: You may not be able to use this site/app with young students because there are quite a few manga that are inappropriate for them. In addition, there is not a good way to search for manga, so it can be difficult to find the corresponding Japanese/English versions.

List of free web resources for language learning and teaching

List of free mobile apps for language learning and teaching


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