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Taranganba and Emu Park State Schools QLD

Using ICT to engage students with Asia capability

Taranganba State School and Emu Park State School in Queensland joined forces to improve and strengthen their Japanese LOTE programs. This collaboration resulted in a joint grant application to enable the purchase of iPads and other related resources to support Japanese language learning.

An audit of resources found that many existing Japanese language resources were out of date and not suitable for the range of language learners in each class. In addition, students were interested in using better resources to support their language learning.

The use of iPads created a virtual classroom for Years 6 and 7 Japanese students. Other resources acquired were language apps and a wide variety of cultural and language resources to furnish new LOTE sections in the libraries of both schools.

“The new LOTE libraries have enabled younger students to commence their language learning at their own pace prior to commencing formal Japanese classes in Year 6,” says Tracy Thompson, Japanese Teacher

Through use of online learning, the vision is for staff and students to increase their Japanese fluency to communicate more effectively with their Japanese peers.

Independent language learning

While students have developed new knowledge about Japanese culture and language, a noticeable change is that students are more in control of their own learning and spend more time learning independently.

Students can work at their own level using iPad apps. In addition, the extensive LOTE library resources enable students to choose which cultural topics that engage their interest.

Having engaging, high quality resources which suit the needs of a variety of learners, has been one of the main benefits.

The new resources have resulted in students having a much more rounded and real view of Japan, rather than being limited by the amount of information a LOTE teacher can impart during busy lessons.

Thompson adds, 'Some students have been so inspired by the new resources that they spend more time on language learning outside of school time, which is terrific.'

One student, for example, was disappointed with his result after an in-class hiragana quiz. He purchased his own Hiragana app and practised at home. Before long, he was regularly achieving 86% on his Hiragana quiz app. He asked to be tested in class again and achieved a significantly higher score.

Achievements

A significant outcome is the increased student demand for Japanese across year levels through having many new and engaging resources.

'Younger students have been extremely excited about our new resources and have been asking when they will get to start learning Japanese,' says Thompson.

Another major benefit has been the engagement of staff. While benefits for Years 6 and 7 Japanese students have been the main focus of the iPads and improved resources, the LOTE staff at both schools have also benefited.

'We've been able to purchase a lot of resources that would take a long time to gather otherwise. It has saved us a great deal of time and taken a lot of financial strain off our budget. New networking opportunities have come up with staff members and local schools who are using similar technology. Staff morale is enhanced across the department as a result of knowing the quality of our LOTE program has substantially improved,' says Thompson.

Whole curriculum influence

While the focus has been on LOTE, the influence of the new resources and technology is starting to be felt throughout the whole school curriculum.

'Our new resources ensure more students enjoy learning about another language and another culture. Now students at all levels can achieve success learning Japanese and learn to respect and celebrate other cultures.

Some of these initiatives were supported through funding from the Federal Government's Becoming Asia Literate Grants Programme.

Acknowledgements

Images: AEF

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