In Japan, they have a gadget for everything, says Michael. Most students and young people have mobile phones.
In 2006, 37% of all blog posts were in Japanese. 36% were in English.
You would expect Japanese people to be digital natives. Yes and no! At the University of Tsukuba, where Michael has been teaching since September, students are limited in digital literacy, but this phenomenon spreads to all Japanese students, he says.
Part of the research he presented was supported by a Grant-in- Aid for Scientific Research (23520696) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Mari Yamauchi (@m_yam) is the senior researcher on the project.
Most of his experiences in his talk were from his previous university, Toyo Gakuen University.
Michael has had a teacher blog for seven years now, as a learning management system. At first, Michael write alongside with them – he wrote about a topic he liked and then the students added their own projects and Michael showed them to the rest of the students and also made models for the next year as well. Then he started using it to assign homework.
He mentioned Web 2.0 applications and tools such as:
– Voicethread: http://www.voicethread.com
– Blogger: http://www.blogger.org
– Quizlet (an online flashcard application but social network as well): http://www.quizlet.com
– Fotobabble (a text-to-speech application): http://www.fotobabble.com
– Posterous http://www.posterous.com
– Animoto (professional looking music videos you can make) http://www.animoto.com
– English Central http://www.englishcentral.com
– Google Docs to make quizzes
– Twitter: it wasn’t compulsory. Michael showed us a pair of students who exchanged a number of tweets in English about shopping.
Note: Michael kindly sent us some of the bibliogra[hy he used in his research:
– McLean and Elwood. (2009). Digital natives, learner perceptions and the use of ICT.
– Handbook on research on Web 2.0 and second language learning (pp. 156-179). Thomas, M. (Ed). New York: Information Science Reference.
– A survey of Japanese university students’ computer literacy levels. JALTCALL Journal, 7(3), 307-318.
Vicky Loras, Roving Reporter for Yıldız University, Istanbul