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2012 iEARN Conference "Crossing Boundaries: Sharing Knowledge in an Online Community for Japanese Children in the U.S. and in Japan"

     2012 iEARN Conference

     Your Name and Title:

     Mie Buskirk, Japanese Teacher

     School, Library, or Organization Name:

     Minato School-Nihongo Shinkokai

     Co-Presenter Name(s):


     Country from Which You Will Present:

     The United States

     Language in Which You Will Present:

     English and Japanese

     Target Audience (such as primary school teachers, high school administrators, students, etc.)

     Primary school teachers

     Short Session Description (one line):

     My action research is to help Japanese children in the U.S. increase motivation and improve their academic performance in an online collaborative learning environment by sharing ideas and knowledge with Japanese children in Japan.

     Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

     Learning technologies have advanced in recent years and they have become accessible to everybody including educational practitioners. Many students and teachers enjoy an effective use of technologies for education. However, Japanese children in the U.S. experience the difficulty of improving academic performance in all aspects of the Japanese language, and do not have the privilege of using technologies for their Japanese learning. These children have a limited learning environment to study in the Japanese language. Now is the time to review the current learning technologies, to provide efficient access to resources and services, to develop the utmost technology-based programs for Japanese children’s education.

     The concept of boundaries can be perceived as borders between two spaces. However, the boundaries discussed here are different from this concept. One boundary in my action research implies that Japan is geographically located away from the United States. This boundary has affected Japanese children in the U.S., in that these children have not received sufficient education available in Japan. The other boundary in my action research is that Japanese children in the U.S. have different academic backgrounds and needs. Some children were born and received education in Japan. They leave Japan while they are still in an elementary school because of their parents’ employment in the U.S. Later, they go back to a school in Japan when their parents’ employment ends in the U.S. Because of this reason, these Japanese children must  the education in Japanese while they are living in the U.S. Their expectation is to avoid declining in academic achievement and to maintain a high level of academic performance when they return to Japan. Others are Japanese children, who were born and raised in the United States. They also receive education in Japanese because parents expect their children to inherit the Japanese culture they pass down to them.

     My action research explored the possibility of overcoming these boundaries by  the latest technology, web 2.0, for Japanese language education. The research recognized the significance of improving academic achievement of Japanese children in the United States and giving them a hope and a joy for learning. The research also gave me the opportunity to study current issues in Japanese education for children living overseas and to improve my teaching strategies to facilitate Japanese children’s learning. This action research may have found the measures to overcome the boundaries that Japanese children in the U.S. have experienced. Until now, Japanese Saturday Schools use only the textbooks and teaching guides from Japan to comply with the Japanese standards and curricula. However, if I provide Japanese children in the U.S. with the opportunity to connect with Japanese children in Japan using the latest technology, I may open the door to a world of more effective and joyful learning for these children. My goals in this action research are to help increase the Japanese children’s motivation and improve their academic performance in online collaborative learning.

     Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session (if any):





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