21st Century Elamr. Becker's Classroom

A survey for measuring 21st century teaching and learning: West Virginia 21st Century Teaching and Learning Survey WVDE-CIS-28 January 2014 DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2246.6647. 21st Century ELA. Becker's Classroom 'If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid' -Epictetus Welcome to Mr. Becker's Classroom Webpage. Welcome to my online classroom. This webpage will be updated throughout the school year to help you keep tabs on missing assignments, due dates, possible extra credit,.

As Australia continues to strengthen its ties to Asia through education (Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, 2012; What works: Using ICT in schools to support the development of Asia-relevant capabilities, 2013) and the big curriculum push towards Asia Education (ACARA Website: Cross curriculum priorities, 2013), Asian languages are receiving funding and encouragement to continue with the goal of every child being offered an Asian language by 2025 (Zhao, 2013). While this goal is in place with the 21 century student in mind, the teaching of languages is still very much 20th century. The Horizon Report 2013 has already highlighted the technologies that will change and shape education in the years to come (Johnson et al., 2013). Japanese teachers in Australia need to embrace this in order to accommodate the leaners in the classroom as well as prepare students for the future.

This essay will argue that innovative technology teaching strategies such as flipped classrooms, gamification, Web 2.0 tools and learning analytics can enable the language classroom to progress from a teacher centred as the ‘expert’ model to an interconnected, authentic and student led classroom. It will look at the current literature and online resources regarding the use of technology in the language classroom and endeavour to put in place some easy starting areas for language teachers to begin levelling up the delivery of Asian Languages in Australia.

21st Century Skills

Current education focus in reports such as The Horizon Report, The Future Skills Report and the Framework for 21 Century Learning are preparing students for the 21st century for jobs that have not been invented. The skills required of students require flexible, interdisciplinary, culturally aware and collaborative (Cutshall, 2009).

The Future Institute’s report, “Future Work Skills 2020” forecasts ten skills that the coming generations will need (Davies, Fidler, & Gorbis, 2011). Pedagogy using innovations such as flipped classrooms, gamification, Web 2.0 tools and learning analytics would target four of the ten skills directly outlined as necessary for the 21st century learning, mainly; novel and adaptive thinking, transdiciplinarity, virtual collaboration and most of all, cross-cultural competency.

As the world shrinks and the web connects people closer together, cross-cultural competency will become essential for everyday communication. Studies have shown that there are social, cultural and economic advantages of multilingual and inter culturally competent students (Oshima & Harvey, 2013), that students gain multicultural awareness from authentic sources such as anime, YouTube (Fukunaga, 2006) and cultural point of view, knowledge and awareness can be changed by student centred tasks, further supporting the idea of a student focused curriculum (Wang, 2005). With this in mind, it is imperative that teachers move on from 20th Century teaching methods, designed for the industrial age to support students living in the digital age.


Japanese students bring more knowledge of language to the classroom than ever before because of the accessibility of Japanese content via the web and an increase in popularity of subcultures such as anime and video games produced in Japan (Fukunaga, 2006). Teachers of Japanese need to vary their instruction from being expert based to facilitator and teaching skills to access authentic knowledge to expand students understandings of the content they already access (Wang, 2005). Many teachers of Japanese still rely heavily on textbooks and make superficial connections to the internet. Sadly, the low attrition rates of students to continue studying a language is mainly focused on finding the teacher ‘boring’ and the skills taught unnecessary for their future careers (Oshima & Harvey, 2013). By using techniques such as flipped classrooms, gamification and learning analytics, teachers would go much further in attrition rates as well as preparing students for 21st century skills.

21st century elmar. becker

Flipped Classrooms

A flipped classroom is teacher led instruction, carried out through a video as homework and class time is spent on learning activities where there is more opportunity for one-on-one discussion (Flipped Learning Network, 2013). The language classroom is a great candidate for flipped learning because it can provide more classroom time for authentic access to the target language. For example, if a teacher set the grammar explanation video as homework, the next lesson students could come in to class and have a conversation in the target language using the grammar form discussed. The classroom time would be focused on use of the language rather than explanation of. Flipped learning takes the focus of the class off the teacher as the time spent in the classroom would be more individually or student based, leading to a more student led classroom. As the content is taught out of the classroom, students have time to access it multiple times and are free to come to class with questions prepared. Various examples of teachers using flipped classrooms are available through many blogs such as spanishflippedclass, myoccasionalramblings and leesensei. A study by Shimazu (2005) showed that having online supplementary material decreased the rate of students dropping out of the course. The Australia in the Asian Century White Paper (2012) also stated that engaging ‘digital natives’ with ICT will foster their skills and motivate them to embrace the Asian Century. Flipped classrooms are but one way the language classroom can be directed away from the teacher as the main focus and centred around the student and their learning needs instead.

Courtesy of The Flipped Network, retrieved from http://www.flippedlearning.org/cms/lib07/VA01923112/Centricity/Domain/41/classroomwindowinfographic7-12.pdf


Gamification has a huge potential in the language classroom. Education Apps are the second most downloaded category of App (Horizon Report). They can introduce new material, revised content covered in class and also make aspects that are difficult to master, achievable and fun. Japanese language includes difficult scripts that students often find difficult to master. Tsai, Kuo, Horng & Chen found that programs that demonstrated, corrected script handwriting and were ‘game like’ were motivating for students (2012).

Language learning uses games already, but the next level games and gamifying the language classroom requires these games digitally based and entrenched in the organisation of the classroom. There are apps that exemplify this; such as DuoLingo and Ninja Words Adventure but they are not integrated into a classroom as such. Using an experience point system, secret missions, clear task objectives and rewards can make the learning system fun, positive and engaging for students (McGonigal, 2011). The New York school Quest 2 Learn is an example of a fully gamified school.

Yet not all games used in education are based on fun as the main focus. There is a category of game called serious games that are being used in education to describe real world problems and ask the students for creative responses in the safe environment of a game (McGonigal, 2011). Games like these, used in the language context can simulate real life experiences students would have learning a language and have enough flexibility in the game to accommodate individual responses. A game called Second Life using language learning to move the player’s avatar around a virtual world (Ishizuka & Akama). The genre of serious games is still new, but has a lot of potential in the education and language learning alike. Games are on the mobile devices students are using, they are fun, interactive and a familiar genre. They are a great tool for teachers to use to liven up their classroom. Beyond the surface though, they are a powerful tool for student motivation, student led pursuit of learning and goals and encourage skills such as novel and adaptive thinking necessary for 21st century students.

Web 2.0 Tools

21st Century Elamr. Becker

Web 2.0 tools are interfaces on the internet that allow for interaction and creation of new texts. These tools have a strong potential in education for building 21st century skills like virtual collaboration, novel and adaptive thinking and even cross-cultural competency. Tools such as blogs, wikis, YouTube, Twitter can be used to find authentic language resources as well as display understandings of knowledge and creation of language output. Wikis,blogs and fan fiction sites allow students in the language context to access authentic material based on their interests. This access to media such as anime gives them an advantage with word recognition, listening and pronunciation skills, awareness of linguistic features and cultural knowledge (Fukunaga, 2006). A German teacher found that 2.0 tools can enhance engagement and authenticity of tasks and that by using a wiki as a central place for students to collaborate on a language task, the role changed from teacher to facilitator (Alm, 2008). Language production can be hampered by feelings of embarrassment and fear of being incorrect but it has been shown that language students are more likely to take language risks online (Cunningham, 2011). Students cannot master a language without cultural understanding. ICT makes authentic connections possible. Skype for the classroom, blogs, wikis, twitter are all sources of authentic connections and opportunities for intercultural skill development (Cutshall, 2009). Web 2.0 tools used effectively in the language classroom can improve 21st century skills as well as place the teacher in the facilitator’s role.

Learning Analytics

(Duval & Verbert, 2012) Duval & Verbert define learning analytics as, “a research area that focuses on collecting traces that learners leave behind and using those traces to improve learning” (2012). Without going into big data, privacy issues or data mining, this discussion will be based on how classroom learning data can be best used by the language teacher. Online, students leave digital trails through mobile devices, LMS (Learning Management Systems, social media and webpage history (Siemens, 2013). They also leave valuable data behind when using education apps and online tools. Learning analysis can be a solution to retention problems as well as learning support (Siemens, 2013). Games such as Sumdog and Language Perfect blend gamification and learning analysis together. In Language Perfect, students play vocabulary matching games online and teachers can gather individual and group data about how the students play, their academic weaknesses and strengths as well as methods of playing the game. This data is fed back to the teacher and displayed in table and graph form. It provides a good platform to discuss game play with the students and how they might improve their vocabulary revision and engagement with the language.

With students and teachers having a clear and visual map of their learning, the path to further improvement will be guided by the teacher rather than the current model where a teacher has all of the information and feeds it to student at their discretion. This teacher as guide role will enable students to take responsibility for their learning, shape it to their own interests and strengths and weaknesses. This therefore changing the dynamics of the classroom structure and hopefully leading to a more collaborative approach.

Learning Analytics 101, retrieved from http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/learning-analytics-infographic/


Language teachers have a very important role to play in 21st Century education. Fostering skills such as cross-cultural competency, novel and adaptive thinking, transdisciplinarity and online collaboration can be enhanced through the use of technology and classroom innovation. As Australia welcomes Year Ones into the language classroom it is important that Japanese teachers have pedagogy suitable for the future to capture, engage, challenge and guide these students on their learning journey. Using authentic resources readily available,using class time to practise skills learned online, a fun, game like atmosphere, tools to collaborate and create, and student derived data, teachers can move away from the teacher focussed curriculum with teacher-as-expert and facilitate the learning with the students to build the language users of the future.


ACARA (2013). Cross-curriculum priorities. Retrieved from http://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum/cross_curriculum_priorities.html.

Alm, Antonie. (2008). Integrating Emerging Technologies in the Foregin Language Classroom: A Case Study. International Journal of Pedagogies & Learning, 4(4), 44-60.

21st Century Elmar. Becker's Classroom Supplies


Asia Education Foundation (2013). What Works 4: Using ICT in schools to support the development of Asia-relevant capabilities. Retrieved from http://www.asiaeducation.edu.au/policy_and_research/what_works_series/what_works_4/what_works_4_landing_page.html

Australian Government. (2012). Australia in the Asian Century White Paper. Retrieved from http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/133850/20130914-0122/asiancentury.dpmc.gov.au/index.html

21st Century Elmar. Becker's Classroom Calendar

Cunningham, Una. (2011). Liminality and Disinhibition in Onlike Language Learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(5), 27-39.

Cutshall, Sandy. (2009). Clicking Across Cultures. Educational Leadership, 67(1), 40-44.

Davies, A., Fidler, D., & Gorbis, M. (2011). Future work skills 2020. California, United States of America: Institute for the Future for the University of Phoenix Research Institute.

Duval, Erik, & Verbert, Katrien. (2012). Learning Analytics. eleed(8).

Flipped Learning Network (2013). The Flipped Learning Model: Executive Summary. Retrieved from http://www.flippedlearning.org/Page/65

Fukunaga, Natsuki. (2006). “Those anime students”: Foreign language literacy development through Japanese popular culture. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 50(3), 206-222.

Ishizuka, Hiroki, & Akama, Kiyoshi. (2011). Language Learning in 3D Virtual World. eleed, 8(1).

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., V., Estrada, Freeman, A., & Ludgate, H. (2013). NMC Horizon Report: 2013 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality Is Broken. Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. London, Jonathan Cape.

Oshima, Ryoko, & Harvey, Sharon. (2013). The concept of learning Japanese: explainging why successful students of Japanese discontinue Japanese at the transition to teriary education. The Language Learning Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09571736.2013.833646

Siemens, George. (2013). Learning Analytics: The Emergence of a Discipline. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(10), 1380-1400.

Tsai, Chen-hui, Kuo, Chin-Hwa, Horng, Wen-Bing, & Chen, Chun-Wen. (2012). Effects On Learning Logographic Character Formation In Computer-Assisted Handwriting Instruction. Language Learning and Technology, 16(1), 110-130.

Wang, Li. (2005). The advantages of using technology in Second Language Education. T.H.E. Journal, 32(10), 38.

Zhao, Christina. (2013). Business calls for greater Asian language skills. ABC News. Retrieved from ABC News website: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-21/business-calls-for-great-asian-language-skills/4772228

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