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Clinton Lane
C.S. Porter Internship
Prof. Yuka Tachibana
The University of Montana
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New Technologies For Teaching Japanese

Using Microsoft Word as a tool.

.... As a senior in my fourth year of studying Japanese at the University of Montana, I have to do a lot of translations from Japanese to English. If the material I need to translate is not too long, I often type it first in MS Word before I begin working on the translation. MS Word 97-2000© has a comment (annotation) feature that is very beneficial during my translations. Using this comment feature, I can insert comments such as definitions or partial translations of words and sentences within the Japanese document. For this dictionary software is very useful, allowing one to copy and paste definitions complete with example sentences right out of the dictionary. There are a number of online dictionaries that can be very useful for this purpose, but by far the most useful is Jim Breen's WWWJdic project. Opening both the Japanese document and the English document within Word, one can look at both documents at the same time and work on the translation.  With Word 97/98 you can open the documents within one instance of Word and then have them line up horizontally so that you can easily work on one document while referring to the other. [fig 1] However, for some reason, Microsoft removed this wonderful feature from Word 2000.  With Word 2000 then, perhaps the best method is to have your translation and the original text in the same document.  Then you can SPLIT the window and work on it in the same way as you would with two documents in Word 97/98.

.....To understand the benefits of this see figure 1 below. The yellow highlighted sections are where comments have been inserted. The yellow box, which looks very much like a sticky note, is one of the comments. Comments appear automatically upon mouse rollover. In this way a teacher can prepare material for students to use in a computer lab or language lab. Figure 1 shows the Japanese version of Microsoft Word 97 running on the Japanese version of Windows 98. One can accomplish the same with Japanese support installed for the English version of Word 97/98 for reading the file and NJStar Communicator ©, or some other Japanese language enabler, to go along with the English version of Word 97 to view the Japanese within the comments.  The Japanese support software for Microsoft Office 97 can be found in the Valupak folder on MS Word 97/98 or Office 97 CDs and enables Word to read documents with Japanese text.  The  Japanese file bellow was originally made on a Japanese Windows 98 machine with Japanese MS Word 97. MS Word 2000  and Windows 2000 and later now has more complete Japanese support and extra software like NJStar is no longer needed.  Word 2000, and all MS Office 2000 applications and MS Internet Explorer and Outlook Express support the Global IME and support multi-lingual document editing.  Therefore I recommend you use Word 2000 or later if you do not have a Japanese OS. Once you have Word 2000 installed you'll need to enable Japanese support.  From the start menu go to Microsoft Office Tools and select Microsoft Office Language Settings and make sure Japanese shows up in the Enabled Languages pane.  Don't worry about the "Installed Version of Microsoft Office" drop-down list.  After installing the MS Global IME for Japanese, you will be able to type in Japanese and insert and view comments in Japanese.

(Figure 1)

What's So Great About This?

     If a teacher were to use digital materials like this, students could progress through the material at a greatly accelerated pace. For the students and the class as a whole, using this method would cut down on the amount of time usually spent on looking up unknown words in one or more conventional paper dictionaries. The initial preparation time for the teacher may increase if the material needs to be typed but those materials could be saved and used again for future classes. And since no two people will translate an article or literary piece exactly the same, there is little chance for students to copy one another's work. The work to be studied or translated could be made read-only so that the students could view it but could not alter the contents. I have also found that it is easy to make a numbered list of all of the inserted comments from a document to use as a vocabulary list. This list would be organized based on the order in which the comments were inserted into the document. [example1] With the ease that this can be done, a teacher can prepare vocabulary lists to go along with an article or piece to be translated as hard-copy handouts.

A Faster Way

    Typing all of the text into Word first and then adding definitions is a time consuming process and not so practical.  Have no fear, there are faster ways to create your digital materials.  One is by finding the materials that you want on the web and then pasting that text into Word.  Now you have the text, how do you quickly get the definitions into the text?  Use Jim Breen's online dictionary!!  You can paste an entire article, story, or URL into this wonderful dictionary and it will look up all of the Kanji in it and give you a page with most of the words translated for you.  You can then copy this text and add it to the end of your document.  You can also use Japanese OCR software to quickly transform hard copies into digital copies and then use the obove methods to make study materials.

 Using the Internet
.....The Internet is a great resource for researching any topic one could think off. It is particularly useful for education. There are myriad different sites dedicated to education and language acquisition. The majority of these are very simple sites that only cover a basic introduction to Japanese. Some use video and sound to teach the stroke order and pronunciation of the kana and kanji scripts. Some even offer quizzes and feedback via e-mail. These are all good examples of how people are trying to use this new technology for education. However, these are all directed towards the individual who is interested in studying the language.

How can educators use the Internet or HTML (1) for education?
.....Educators are already using the Internet and HTML for education in many ways, like having students do research or conduct treasure hunts. These types of activities are good in that the use of computers and the Internet 1) help to build essential skills that may be needed for the future and 2) help to maintain student interest. As a teaching tool, the content that is available online can help students learn a topic deeply and three dimensionally through the use of text, graphics, video, sound and conversing with other teachers and students from around the world.
Teachers can also build their own web pages specifically designed to teach a specific topic. Kenji Otsuka at Date Middle School uses HTML in a Language Lab where the students can see the web pages on TV screens as an aid in teaching English grammar points. (To Otsuka's site.) While his work is still quite simple, it shows how web pages can be set up in a way that can utilize question and answer type teaching along with a visually stimulating environment. More ambitious teachers can include sound, video and pictures to enhance the effectiveness of their material.

Virtual Classrooms? MOO.
.....A virtual text based world where people could come together from anywhere in the world and interact with one another was originally developed as a Multi-User Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game (MUD). It was not that difficult for educators to see the possibilities of the MUD and to transform the dungeons and caves into seminar rooms using what is now called a MOO (Multi-User Domain, Object-Oriented). "The conferencing features are powerful in bringing together people from over a distance; they are no substitute for the real classroom -- or are they? Suppose you wanted to experiment with a class discussion that didn't have a visible authority figure in it? You could set up a MOO so that you logged in yourself invisibly, or under a studently pseudonym. Suppose you wanted to have a place where language students could go and "converse" in the target language, but by typing rather than speaking, and do so at all hours of the day or night? Suppose you wanted on-line "office hours" for you or a TA from ten to midnight the night before a big exam? The possibilities are endless."(2)

Virtual Environments
NTT's Virtual Edo
These virtual environments originally existed only in a text based format. However, now there are several visual virtual environments on the web were individuals can go and interact with others through text, graphical characters on screen and even through voice and video.

**Update** NTT has discontinued its Exploring Edo site. ** 

With NTT's Exploring Edo, along with the Interspace (c) browser, a teacher could hold a class session within the virtual Edo. Each student, including the teacher, would have a headset with a microphone and could even optionally have a digital video camera so that students and teacher could communicate in the target language, here Japanese, in a graphical virtual environment. With virtual Edo, being placed in a Japanese setting, students of Japanese could not only study the language but could learn about Japanese culture as well. This could be done in a language lab with high speed access to the Internet with a class and anyone else who wanted to participate could login from anywhere in the world. Students could interact with native speakers as well as other students and teachers of Japanese from around the world.

.....One advantage of a virtual space like this, especially if it is a text based environment, is that students who would normally be too shy to speak up may, when the fear of performing in front of a group is gone, speak out more than usual. A teacher could login to the world without notifying the students that he/she was indeed the teacher, and help to foster conversation at the same time as the student's progress is monitored.

Electronic Mail

Many teachers, particularly at colleges and universities, are taking advantage of e-mail to keep in touch with friends, family, colleagues and students. Teachers shouldn't overlook the benefits of using e-mail to keep an open dialog with their students. E-mail lists can be setup to serve as a forum for discussion of particular projects or topics.

Technological Barriers

Currently there is not a large variety of software readily available to people outside of Japan that can reliably handle Japanese. Microsoft has been the best at breaking down these language barriers that have prevented the active use of computers and the Internet for the serious study of Japanese. Now, computers bought in America do not come with support for any Asian language. However, software to enable web browsers and Microsoft Ourlook to view and even type Japanese is free for download from Microsoft. Microsoft also includes support for Microsoft Office 97 but this only enables the English version of Office 97 to read files produced by Japanese versions of Office 97 components with only limited functionality. However, all this is changing. Microsoft will soon release its newest version of Microsoft Office. With the new version, Office applications will be able to read, edit and create documents in every language that Microsoft has versions for, including Japanese. There will no longer be separate versions of Microsoft Office for specific languages because the one version will not only be able to work with each language, but will also be able to display menus and help in every language as well. This sounds like a lot for one software package to try and accomplish, however even if the first version of this newest version is a failure, the bugs will eventually be worked out, effectively removing any language barriers were software is concerned and opening up new possibilities for using computers for language education and international dialog.

When educators get together and talk about using technology in the classroom they are usually referring to computers and the Internet. However technology can be more than just what we consider high technology such as computers. In the not too distant past, high technology was typewriters, overhead projectors, slide projectors and the amazing electronic calculators. Before that it was television, reel to reel projectors, chalkboards and the abacus.


HTML - Hypertext Markup Language. The programming language that the majority of the World Wide Web is written in. (return)

WWW - World Wide Web. The graphical portion of the Internet.

Supplemental Material

Cultures of the Book by James J. O'Donnell, University of Pennsylvania

New Tools for Teaching by James J. O'Donnell, University of Pennsylvania

Virtual Edo from NTT

National Education Association

Microsoft Corporation

Last updated 5/8/2001