Language Resource Center
Newsletter Fall - 2010
Story 2 – Japanese Language Exchange via Blog

Fusing Vygotsky’s social constructivism with Web 2.0 technology can create a unique language instruction community.

Professor Takamiya, Assistant Professor of Asian Studies, has been utilizing a Blog for her advanced Japanese classes, which allows her students to conduct language exchange exercises with students at Japanese Universities.

In 2000, Web2.0 emerged as a teaching tool, and applications such as Wiki and Blogs have been developed to promote 2.0 communication and collaboration among students inside and outside of classrooms. Many teachers have been using these applications for a variety of language activities, including connecting native speakers of the target language.

In her classes, Professor Takamiya has her students write two types of blog posts. They post a diary to talk about their life every week. In addition, they pick cultural topics from the textbook, conduct research, and post summaries, opinions, and pose questions in their blog three times per semester. They interact with Japanese students and receive their comments in Japanese. Since it is a language exchange, Japanese students post to the blog in English and Gettysburg students write comments in English. 


Professor Takamiya believes that using a Blog is an effective and efficient way to get students exposed to authentic Japanese language and culture. Otherwise, it would be very difficult for students to interact with Japanese speakers here in Adams County. The blog is accessible to the public, so students need to consider carefully their language use as well as the content in their blog post.

Chris Duff, a student in Professor Takamiya’s class, holds a similar view on the importance of the blog language exchange. He mentioned that writing something scholarly in Japanese at the 300 level extends a student’s learning beyond classroom. He also emphasized that interacting with native speakers is extremely beneficial at the place like Gettysburg and that looking at his peer’s comments encourages him to notice and reflect on the variety of language usages within multiple contexts


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