Videoconference for Japanese
Language and Culture
Curriculum
Akemi Morioka
In collaboration with Judi Franz
University of California, Irvine
Overview of the Presentation
 Background
 Pedagogical Groundings
 Practice of Videoconferencing (Fall2002-Spring2008)
 Survey in Spring 2008
 Integration into Curriculum in Fall 2008
 Content
 Assessment and Grades
 Findings from the Survey & Observations
 Discussion
2
Background
 How can we language instructors provide
students with…?
 First-hand information on culture
 Opportunity for authentic communication
 How can we help students…?
 Build a community of learners
 Become autonomous learners
 Be motivated
One of the solutions=videoconference???
3
Pedagogical Groundings
 The role of CALL in sociocognitive
frameworks is to provide alternative
contexts for social interaction and to
facilitate access existing discourse
communities and the creation of new ones
(Kern &Warschauer, 2000).
 Computer-assisted classroom discussion,
compared to face-to-face discussion, has
been shown to feature more equal and
democratic participation (Warschauer,
1997).
4

Mechanics of
Videoconferencing
Participants on Japan side: students who are enrolled in Shimizu-sensei’s English
class
 Fall 2002- Winter 2003: with Namerikawa High School in Toyama Prefecture
 Spring 2003- Winter 2009: with Toyama College of Foreign Languages
 Spring 2009- Present: with Toyama National College of Maritime Technology
 Number of participants ranged
between 20 and 33

Participants at UCI
 Students who are enrolled in
1st-Year through 4th year Japanese classes, but primarily 2nd-Year students
(voluntary participation for extra credit)
 Number of participants ranged between 20 and 35
5
Mechanics of Videoconferencing
Friday 9:00 am
(No Time Change)
Thursday 5:00pm
(Daylight Savings Time)
6
Mechanics of
Videoconferencing
(continued)
 Where?
 Both take place at a language lab
7
Mechanics of
Videoconferencing
(continued)
 How?
 Use Skype for individual interaction
 iMacs using built-in iSight cameras in Irvine
 PCs running Windows XP and external web cams in
Toyama
 Both sides make 25-30 generic accounts. E.g. uci01-- tcfl01
 Matching is random.
 Additional interaction via
online message board
8
One-on-one communication (Japan side)
9
Mechanics of
Videoconferencing
(continued)
 How?
 Use Polycom for group discussion
Group discussion at UCI
10
Group Discussion through PolyCom
The U.S. side
Screen shot of the U.S.
side viewed in Japan
11
Content of the Discussion
Teaching Materials (Spring 2002-Spring 2008):
 Materials/activities were developed basically by Shimizu-sensei
based on his curriculum.
 Sample Activities: New Year’s traditions, a new school year in
Japan, education system, how to treat others, blood type
 It was uploaded on individual computers for the students, which
included links to graphics and short movies.
 The same content on a hard copy was provided for group
discussion.
 The activities required the students not only to seek information
but also to express one’s own opinion on the topic.
12
Content of the Discussion
(continued)
Languages:
 The Japanese learners at UCI spoke mostly in Japanese,
and the English learners in Japan spoke mostly in English.
However, frequent code-switching between Japanese and
English was observed.
13
Student Survey (Spring 2008) Results
Q1:Was the topic appropriate? Q2:Was the material on the web useful?
Yes, very much
Yes, very much
Almost always
Almost always
Sometimes
Sometimes
Not at all
Not at all
No opinion
No opinion
14
Student Survey (Spring 2008) Results
Q3:Did you like the one-on-one communication?
Q4:Did you like the group discussion?
Yes, very much
Yes, very much
Almost always
Almost always
Sometimes
Sometimes
Not at all
Not at all
No opinion
No opinion
15
Student Survey (Spring 2008) Results
Q7: Your Japanese enhanced?
Q8: Your understanding of J culture
enhanced?
Strongly agree
Strongly agree
Agree
Agree
Disagree
Disagree
Strongly disagree
Strongly disagree
No opinion
No opinion
16
Student Survey (Spring 2008) Results
Comments
 Split opinion on one-on-one conversation vs. group discussion
 I feel more comfortable when I speak one-on- one.
 Group discussion is much easier to communicate through, while it
is more difficult with one-on-one.
 Handout makes communication hard because it becomes more like
reading and less like a real conversation.
 I was able to help them with their English, while they helped me with
my Japanese. It allowed practice with Japanese that I knew, and also it
exposed me to many new words and kanji symbols for the first time.
 Having a Japanese student help you practice reading, and even asking
questions or having a conversation with was a great experience
culturally and personally.
 Complaints about connection difficulty
17
Experiment:
Integration to Curriculum
 In Fall 2008, JVC was integrated into the 2nd- Year Japanese curriculum
for the 5:00 pm section only.
・4 sections of 2nd Year Japanese were offered in Fall 2008.
・Met 5 days (50 minutes each day) a week.
・4 sections were taught by three different instructors.
・All 4 sections used the same textbook (Chapters 1-3 in
Yookoso! Vol 2) and took the same midterm and final exams.
 Concern expressed by the instructor
 Can I really afford to spend on the entire class time (50 minutes) on JVC
every Thursday?
 How can I include the JVC activity in the assessment of the students
during and at the end of the term?
18
Experiment:
Integration to Curriculum
(continued)


Teaching materials used for these meetings were developed by the
Japanese instructor at UCI based on the topic covered in the textbook.
Since there were only 24 students on the Japan side, as opposed to
28 here at UCI, 24 students spoke one-on-one through Skype on the
desk top computer, and the rest participated in a group discussion
seated in front of a TV.
19
One-to-one communication (U.S. side)
20
Content of the Discussion
 Material
 Prepared by the instructor at UCI based on her
teaching curriculum.
 Over-arching Theme: Journey/Travel




Topic 1: Images of Japan, Nature and Geography
Topic 2: Things to do in Japan
Topic 3: Staying in Japan −Living Accommodations
Topic 4: Cultural Difference ‘Enryo - hesitation/reservation due to
consideration for others’
 Topic 5: President Obama
 Language:
 UCI students used Japanese and Japanese
students in Japan used English a majority of the
time. (They code-switched quite often as well.)21
Assessment and Grades
(%)
Midter
m
Exam
Final
Exam
Listening
(multiple
choice
Q’s)
Reading
(multiple
choice
Q’s)
Speaking
(instructor’s
evaluation)
Writing
(instructor’s
evaluation)
Listening
(multiple
choice
Q’s)
Reading
(multiple
choice
Q’s)
Speaking
(instructor’s
evaluation)
Writing
(instructor’s
evaluation)
9:00
class
78.6%
91.6%
79%
87.3%
79.2%
81%
91%
92.3%
11:00
class
75.6%
93.6%
82%
91.3%
77.7%
77.7%
94%
94.3%
3:00
class
79.2%
90.4%
81.7%
86%
83.5%
79.2%
88.1%
85.8%
5:00
class
78.2%
94.2%
79.7%
92%
82.5%
80.2%
95.3%
88%
Weekly quizzes included a question about the content covered during the JVC meetings.
22
Comments from UCI Students
 “When we were first told that we would have to
participate in JVC meetings, I was rather
intimidated and nervous since I lacked
confidence in my Japanese. But when we finally
started and I saw a friendly, smiling face from
the other side of the camera, I felt immediately
reassured. Talking to everyone these last couple
of weeks has been incredibly fun and being able
to meet and make new friends has made me
very happy.”
23
Comments from UCI Students
(continued)
 “I think that the JVC Conferences have been very
valuable to my learning Japanese. This is because I
am getting a "genuine" experience of sorts by
speaking to native Japanese speakers in their own
country. I was very surprised and amazed at how
good at English they are! It was also good to have
them help me on my own Japanese when I didn't
know how to express something. I also think it's lots
of fun learning about the Japanese people on a
personal level by talking to them one-on-one and
getting to now them and what they enjoy in life.
Overall, it is a very good experience and I am glad
that I have been able to be a part of it so far!”
24
Comments from UCI Students
(continued)
 “I think JVC is a very helpful exercise for us. We
learn vocab and grammar in the classroom, but
we lack in practicing these words and phrases in
conversation. That is where JVC steps in and
allows us to really practice and use all that we
have learned with a native speaker. We discuss
interesting topics with our partner, and we both
get to learn different perspectives about each
other. そして、私たちは日本語をれんしゅうしながら、
楽しみます! 私はJVCにさんかできて、とてもうれし
いです。”
25
Comments from UCI Students
(continued)
 “The first time I did JVC, I was kind of nervous if not
irritated,especially because I feel that my Japanese
speaking is not very good compared to my class mates.
However, as time went on, I began to get used to initiate
a conversation in Japanese and enjoy it overtime.
Although learning and being competent in the language
is still a long way to go, and I am sure I will run into
more obstacles; nonetheless, I will continue to do so
with confidence. JVC has provided such kind of
confidence to me. In addition, JVC also provides a 1
hour "escape" from the ordinary Irvine life style that I am
living in everyday. I was able to get a glimpse of the
Japanese life style that my conversation partners have.
26
Comments from UCI Students
(continued)
 “the the jvc meetings are very good. …sometimes there
are pauses during the conversation, when we should be
talking about the topic we were assigned. sometimes our
conversation goes off topic and we don't have time to ask
our questions. it would be good if they initiated questions
for us to answer as well.i usually am the one to ask
questions first about something about our topic.when i
ask questions they are good to answer in english, and
they are helpful in answering my questions. i have many
questions about japan, so I am glad to have their help.i
think the one-to-one conversations work well for our
learning.”
27
Comments from UCI Students
(continued)
 “I’ve found JVC to be very interesting and fun. It's an
interactive and different way for us to learn to
communicate with people who speak the language we're
trying to learn. We also get a sense that we are helping
them out, as well. I feel like everyone benefits from it.
Having a targeting (sic) discussion also helps us to learn
more about each other’s culture, and we can therefore
lose any stereotypes we may have about one
another. Also, we get to learn to be patient with one
another. If my partner stumbles in English, we can work
together to find the right word. And if I stumble in
Japanese (which is more likely), we can find a meeting
ground to discover what it was I was going to say. All in all,
JVC is a very innovative way to make learning about
28
Japanese culture and language really stick in one’s mind.”
Comments from UCI Students
(continued)
 “I really enjoy JVC and I feel that it is helping me
speak quickly in Japanese. I think one of the
most important things is to converse in
Japanese quickly and without translating from
English. I also enjoy meeting new people and
listening to what they have to say about the
topics we've had. Lastly JVC also helps the
TCFL students speak English. I think JVC is
awesome!”
29
Comments from UCI Students
(continued)
 “I really enjoy the JVC meeting sessions. I took
AP Japanese in high school, and the listening
prompts were always make pretend chats with
Japanese students via prerecorded messages.
Those were static and pretty mechanical. But
the JVC meetings are the real thing: it enriches
my learning of Japanese by letting me speak to
real Japanese speakers.Meeting people in
Japanese is also an amazing experience
because I get to learn about people my age in
Japan. It's my first time interacting with
Japanese students, so it is very helpful and fun.”
30
Comments from UCI Students
(continued)
 “JVC JVC meetings are a great way to enhance our
speaking abilities! The people we Speak to are
always friendly and sociable, so it’s not difficult to
get along. It really tests our knowledge of the
Japanese language and is similar to a simulation of
what might happen if we were to tour Japan and
had to get through with whatever we know at that
point. It’s intimidating though because the students
there are extremely skilled in the English language,
but it encourages us to get better and to study more.
Personally, the sessions go on a little too long and
learning in class seems like it should be more of a
priority, but they’re fun nevertheless.
31
Findings from Comments
 Only one negative comment among 28 students
 Obtaining first-hand information
 Experiencing authentic conversation as opposed to
schemed conversation.
 Feeling a sense of self-efficacy
 Building friendship and a community of learners
 Having increased motivation for learning culture and
language
 Learning to initiate conversation (a first step for
autonomous learning?)
32
Findings from Observation











Almost no absentees
Smiles on faces during the entire session
Many students exchanging e-mail addresses
Praising partner’s English
Looking confident when talking in English
Asking the partner (not the instructor) “how do you say this in
Japanese” or looking up the words in the dictionary
Rephrasing or using gestures in order to get the message cross
One-on-one communication prompted some formerly shy students to
participate and be more outgoing
Chat about the Japanese students among UCI classmates
Communication among the classmates facilitated by chatting about
the videoconference
Talking something completely different from the assigned topic
33
Discussion
 Role of Technology in the Language
classroom
 … new technologies do not only serve the new
teaching/learning paradigms, they also help shape the
new paradigms. …A pedagogy of networked
computers must therefore take a broad view,
examining not only the role of information technology
in language learning but also the role of language
learning in an information technology society (Kern
and Warschauer, 2000).
34
Discussion
(continued)
 Rethinking “Language Learning”
 Language learners are not just communicators
and problem-solvers, but whole persons with
hearts, bodies, and minds, with memories,
fantasies, but embodied experiences, emotional
resonances, and moral imaginings. (Kramsch,
2006: 251)
 → Our argument=Examine not only the role
of culture in language learning but also the role of
language learning in the culture and environment
that we live.
 Integrating this videoconference into
language classes on a regular basis
35
Discussion
(continued)
Considerations:
 Differences between US and Japan
 Language level of students on both ends
 Number of students on each side
 Time zones (morning vs. evening)
 Time change in the middle of Quarter
 Technical issues: how to troubleshoot,
having tech support on both sides, set up
generic accounts with easy
login/passwords
 Cost
36
References
 Kern, R. & Warschauer, M. (2000). Theory
and practice of network-based language
teaching. In Warschauer, M. & Kern, R.
(Eds.), Network-based language teaching:
Concepts and Practice. Cambridge
 Warschauer, M. (1999). Electronic literacies
- Language, culture, and power in online
education. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates,
Publishers.
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Videoconference for Japanese Language and Culture …