Kumumoto is the capital a city of the Kumumoto prefecture, which is in Kyushu, the southernmost of the four main islands of Japan. Its most famous landmark is Kumumoto Castle.
The Western Australia-Kumumoto project was led in Japan by Professor Joseph Tomei from Kumumoto Gakuen University. The project involved exchanging digital multimodal texts between one metropolitan school in Western Australia and two high schools in Kumumoto. Although the project took a while to get off the ground because of logistical issues concerning different school timetables and calendars, students at both partner schools enjoyed hearing from their peers in the other country. By all accounts, the process of creating digital multimodal texts encouraged them to extend their use of the target language and practise their pronunciation so that their story narrations were comprehensible. Students used tablets, laptops and mobile phones to take pictures and record videos for their digital texts, with the students in Kumumoto mainly using iPads in class and around the school grounds, and students in Australia using their laptops alongside mobile phones for taking photos and recording videos.
The school in Kumumoto mainly used Comic Life to create comic strip texts, which they then turned into videos using iMovie. Using iMovie, they also added voiceovers to their comic strips. The Kumumoto students quickly learned how to use the technology and were able to produce digital texts on six different topics for their Australian counterparts. A password protected Google Drive was used to share the videos between the two schools.
The partner school in Western Australia thoroughly enjoyed the videos produced by the Kumumoto students. They were not able to be quite as productive as Kumumoto because of a different academic school year, but they produced some Manga style comic strip texts using Comic Life and iMovie. They also produced some videos with text captions in Japanese, which they embedded into a password protected blog they created for the partner students. The students in Western Australia said that they had been able to use their existing technology skills to create the digital texts. They reported that the process had encouraged them to practise using Japanese and to learn new vocabulary and grammar. For one of their videos, they even wrote a song in Japanese.
Professor Tomei and colleague Greg Lambert presented a session on the project atthe Sojo University Teaching and Learning Forum.
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