Going back in time!

Video call snapshot 32

Mariko Eguchi took us on a virtual tour of a Japanese classroom belonging to the class she is going to connect us with in early December.  Japan brings images of high technology use in my mind so it came as a bit of a shock to see a blackboard, chalk, no sign of computers or technology except for Mariko’s equipment, chairs in straight lines, desks individually placed allowing one student per desk etc. Certainly a contrast to our classrooms at Hawkesdale! It took me way back in time and reminded me how far we have actually come with technology.

Mariko had brought mobile polycom equipment, but the school firewall did not allow video to be transferred during our test linkup.  Skype was used instead with the video and audio of high quality.

The year ICT class used Mystery Skype, google maps etc to determine where Mariko was from. She then took us on virtual tour of the classroom explaining that we were to meet the actual class in a couple of week’s time. Students were intrigued to find out that this school canteen only serves curried rice compared to our school which has a wide variety of hot foods and cold foods.

Video call snapshot 31

One of my students then took Mariko on a virtual tour of our school, using their microsoft surface tablets device.



2 responses to “Going back in time!

  1. Hello Anne,

    Having spent a lot of time in Japan, I was interested in this post – as I am with all your posts – but this one especially.

    Secondary classes in Japan are built on the Confucian belief that the teacher is “Sensei” and is to be respected. With that respect is attached considerable cultural expectation. I’v been in classes in Japan where up to 55 students is still seen as acceptable – all desks in rows with some students sleeping and not much student centred learning as we know it. Of course, not all classes are like this – as you can see from Mariko’s classroom. Still, the teacher is the fount of most knowledge and that is why ICT is a very different beast to how we use it – ICT can be dangerous to the concept of the teacher knowing everything….

    The other thing to note is the Japanese Government provides students with hot meals for lunch every day in school. It might mean the food may not have a great variety but what it does do is that it reinforces to students the importance of nutritious meals and sharing food, sitting down and eating at the same time. The love of good food and the respect of sharing a meal with friends is something that Japanese culture leaves Australian culture for dead. If you watch Japanese TV, 70% is based on food shows. Like many things, our drift to food shows on TV here is something that we trail Japan by about 15 years. Kids there grow up with a respect for eating good food and especially fish and vegetables with family and friends. Yes, there are sugary and fatty snack foods there but nothing is comparison to our reliance on that sort of food as a substitute for good nutritious food. That is why Australia is in the middle of an obesity and diabetes epidemic.

    Best wishes

    Phil Callil

    • Hi Phil, thank you so much for taking the time to reply to this post. I have found your comments so very interesting and it certainly helps me understand the nature of the culture that we will be connecting with. We are culturally and geographically isolated where I live and teach. Therefore I have had no dealings with the Japanese culture at all.
      Fortunately, our school canteen is predominantly health conscious and we have home cooked food (vegetables, eggs etc from our school garden) but we are lucky to have variety. Each days menu is different during a one week cycle. The students were surprised that they only got one choice! It is a rural school so that may account for the lack of variety. In the past all my linkups and connections have been spontaneous with little formal planning just testing our connections. When we connect in 2 weeks time, Mariko has ensured a very formal partnership ensuring we both understand our cultures, ensuring that I am happy to do certain things in a certain way. This has fascinated me as Australians are easy going, relaxed, have few cultural expectations and we being a small rural school can be informal in our connections. The details that you have filled in here help me understand that need on their part. Shall write a post after this linkup to let you know how it goes. Thanks again.

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