Archive for category Uncategorized

IT or not IT?

If today is not an indicator of the importance of a stable IT infrastructure for classroom use, then I don’t know what is. Four teachers vying for what little equipment we have in order to present video activities to students, and myself running back and forth between them to make sure use of equipment is useable.


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Parent-Teacher conference via Skype

imageEven though we are a Japanese high school, we attract returning students who have grown up outside Japan. In the case of one student this year, her parents live in Australia as she is schooling in Japan.

To allow the home room teachers have a proper parent-teacher conference, we were able to take advantage of our limited Wi-Fi and iPads to make the conference work and connect the two sides with Skype.

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Preparing EFL students for an EFL Model United Nations

Last June, my school completed its 26th Model United Nations project with our 3rd year (Senior) students. Though our curriculum shows our students beginning the preparation process in January (third term of second year), the preparation spreads farther, at least 2 years, from when the students first entered the high school. The first 21 months can be seen as a pre-MUN curriculum, with the next 6 months as the MUN curriculum.

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A much need Google Sites update!

The Totally New Google Sites

We use Google Sites extensively for the Kansai High School Model United Nations (@KHSMUN). For as old as the technology is, it has been a juggernaut in our approach to collaboration between schools on working draft resolutions.

I am quite excited to hear the the service will finally be updated. Expect a review once the update rolls out.


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Government panel supports use of digital textbooks in Japan’s schools from 2020 | The Japan Times

An education ministry panel urges the government to allow schools to use digital textbooks from fiscal 2020.

Source: Government panel supports use of digital textbooks in Japan’s schools from 2020 | The Japan Times

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Six ‘useless’ things foreign language teachers do

Recasts Recasts are the most frequent form of feedback that teachers give students in the course of oral interactions. They consists of utterances by the teacher that repeat the student’s erroneous…

Source: Six ‘useless’ things foreign language teachers do

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Happy Winter


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This week’s iPad use

This past weekend, two of our students participated in a Model United Nations in Tokyo, with their coach accompanying them while using one of our UNESCO iPads to document their achievements, and uploading media to our office DropBox account.

This week and next, students are once again using iPads as video players to learn about the challenges developing countries like India face when denying the right to an education to women. In small groups, tasks are performed and discussions are being held in a peer-to-peer setting to challenge their understanding of the situation.

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Students vote, prefer small groups to whole class in video-watching activities

I started off my 2015 listening workshop class using the traditional approach of a class watching a video on the big screen and completing appropriate work. Last week, I broke them into small groups to watch videos on a group iPad while completing appropriate work.

I then asked in an informal manner which setting they prefer, and all who replied voted for the small groups. I would agree. I find the larger class to be very passive when everyone is sharing a big screen. As is the manner, students face forward, mouths shut, while their teacher lectures. However, when they are broken into smaller groups, interaction occurs, and the work seems to become more enjoyable.

It also allows more teaching moments for individual students as I can walk around and answer questions.

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QuickVoice for voice recording

IMG_0637-1A simple, free app for iPad, QuickVoice, allowed our students to record a short mock-radio infomercial about the effects of Malaria and how to prevent infection. As student groups came up to record, the rest of the class closed their eyes to pretend they were listening to the radio.

The recording I felt pushed the students to perform at a higher level than what they might have done given a slight rise in anxiety, but still doing so in front of classmates made the experience enjoyable.

QuickVoice® Recorder By nFinity Inc.

We also used a rather inexpensive Monaural Microphone from audio-technica.

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