Students learning foreign languages need frequent exposure to the target language. Japanese, as a character based language, requires more hours of study than European languages in order for English background students to master the complex Japanese writing system and acquire vocabulary and expressions. The most efficient way for learners of Japanese to master the writing system is to read as much as possible. Textbooks provide a paper-based means of exposure to Japanese written text but the work for the students often becomes monotonous and tedious, involving the use of several dictionaries. The need to provide reading passages students would find more engaging that are less cumbersome and therefore more likely to be used frequently has been a recognized problem amongst Japanese language teachers. In order to teach students how each character is pronounced, improve pronunciation and encourage students to read larger quantities of Japanese more often, reading passages were recorded, digitized and put onto the Web using an interactive multimedia authoring package. Focus groups were conducted to review student perceptions and experiences of using the Japanese reading and listening interactive passages and exercises. This paper analyses student responses to which recommendations for computer assisted language instruction and learning are made.
Proceedings of 'Problematic futures: educational research in an era of uncertainty', the Australian Association for Research in Education International Education Research Conference (AARE 2002), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 01-05 December 2002