The 53rd GJS SeminarTraveling to virtual Tokyo: Exploring potential benefits of a 3D virtual world-based Japanese curriculum

Date and time: July 6, 2018 (Fri.), 5:00-6:00PM
Venue: First Conference Room (3F), Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo
Speaker: Kasumi Yamazaki
(Assistant Professor of Japanese, The University of Toledo, US )
Language: English

Abstract:There is an increasing number of contemporary Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) studies that suggest the pedagogical benefits of virtual world-based second/foreign language teaching and learning. These studies continuously suggest a proposed hypothesis that virtual worlds can be effective for language learning as the synchronous 3D/2D environment provides opportunities for immersive, experiential, and interactive nature of language learning. However, despite the increasing number of published studies regarding the use of virtual worlds in world language classrooms, the paucity of empirical evidence is noted as one of the major limitations in the field. Additionally, among the few existing empirical studies examining language learning in virtual worlds, there is a significant death of research that involves a full, long-term integration of virtual worlds particularly in the classrooms of less commonly taught languages such as Japanese as a Foreign Language (JFL). With an attempt to explore the effective use of virtual worlds, this presentation provides the preliminary results of the longitudinal study (2014-2017) examining the effectiveness of a semester-long (15-week) 3D virtual world-based Japanese curriculum in the context of JFL classrooms. Through a mixed-method case study approach, the present study collected eight sources of data from 27 university students to evaluate the participants’ overall learning outcomes, perceptions, and attitudes toward their participation in the 3D virtual world-based Japanese curriculum. Based on the statistical and qualitative analyses of data, the presentation provides an overall evaluation of the curriculum and its effectiveness, as well as identifying the advantages, challenges, and pedagogical implications of the effective use of virtual worlds. The presentation also includes a brief overview of the curriculum, sample tasks and activities for those researchers who wish to replicate the study, as well as those practitioners who wish to integrate CALL instructional methods into their modern language classrooms.

Organizer: The Global Japan Studies Network (GJS)
Co-organizer: Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA)
Contact: gjs[at]