Saga is in Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's four main islands. The Western Australia-Saga partnership was led by Nicole Sonobe, Vice Director of the International Exchange Center, Nishikyushu University, Saga, Japan.
The students in both Western Australia and Saga were primary school students aged between nine and twelve. This partnership was the only one of the four that engaged younger students.
The school in Saga were loaned three tablets (iPads) for the duration of the digital storytelling exchange. The apps used for this project were Puppet Pals and Book Creator. The first project (using Puppet Pals) was a self introductory one page book made by individual students. Students used the target language and introduced their name, grade and something they liked. The page included a profile picture and their name written in Japanese, with a background of their choice.
The second project (using Book Creator) was a combined effort introducing their school and the various aspects of school life they wanted to show their Aussie counterparts. The content included typed script, free-hand drawing and photographs. Written captions were written in both languages and spoken captions started in English and then switched to Japanese. The students in Japan were impressed by their counterparts’ command of Japanese.
The school in Western Australia also used iPads and Book Creator to create multimodal digital texts. The first text was a short introductory text that contained a video of the students talking in the target language. They wrote captions in the target language and also included some photos of their school and some native Australian flowers.
Despite the time lags and scheduling difficulties, both schools enjoyed this project and the instructors believe the students have benefited linguistically, culturally and technically. Both schools plan to continue a similar kind of activity after the Australia-Japan Foundation project finishes.
Nicole Sonobe presented at the 7th ICLEI Conference on May 20, 2017 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She also has been accepted to present at the 43rd Annual International JALT Conference on November 20, 2017.