The importance of tablet learning devices for students in Irish secondary schools was clear to see on Monday as 6 students from St. Paul’s Secondary School in Monasterevin picked up top-notch electronic gear from Creative Labs as prizes for top scores in their study of Chinese characters on the new devices.
The importance of tablet learning devices for students in Irish secondary schools was clear to see on Monday as 6 students from St. Paul’s Secondary School in Monasterevin picked up top-notch electronic gear from Creative Labs as prizes for top scores in their study of Chinese characters on the new devices. The 24 students in the Chinese class in St. Paul’s started using the tablets this autumn as an additional aid to their UCD Confucius Institute Chinese culture and language course, practicing writing Chinese characters on the touch screen devices for a short time every day before class.
Their teacher Kim Barrett was very keen and supportive, having seen the importance of using different learning methods through her own study of Mandarin Chinese with UCD CII. This in turn was reflected in her students’ comments on the course: ‘I thing the programme is fun and beneficial’ (Shannon Kelly, TY); ‘It's an interesting and fun programme in school...really helps to understand and learn Chinese culture…very enjoyable' (Dean Murphy, TY).
Andrew Killeen from Creative pointed out the finer features of the devices, saying "The Creative Shenbi (magic pen) product is an Android, 'touch-screen' electronic tablet. It provides simple exercises for students to learn the most commonly used Chinese characters. To adequately read a Chinese newspaper for example, you will need a 2,000-word vocabulary. Under a stress-free setting, students can practice writing the words at their own time and pace. The device illustrates the stroke order allowing the student to trace out the character electronically on the screen using a stylus. The speaker on the device gives the correct pronunciation and the student can repeat the word through the in-built microphone.
Niamh Fahey and Lauren Donnelly, 1st prize winners, show off their fabulous Creative prizes with James Kenny (UCD CII), Andrew Killeen (Creative) and their teacher Kim Barrett.
Also featured is the Creative Shenbi touchscreen tablet the students used at St. Paul’s.
Following the first three months using the Creative Chinese Writing Tablets, the students in St. Paul's completed a survey on the Chinese course and use of the device. This provided some interesting feedback.
Some of the key points from the respondents indicated that learning Chinese requires 'daily practice' and that an understanding of the written Chinese characters is important in learning the Chinese Language. Half of the students surveyed believed that Chinese should be included in the Primary Curriculum."
James Kenny, Assistant Director of the UCD Confucius Institute, was very positive about the pilot scheme, saying “We at the UCD Confucius Institute have always been committed to finding and supporting the best methods for the study of Chinese in Irish schools. We have been delighted to support this pilot scheme and we look forward to its possible expansion in 2013 with new devices and a greater student base. This will establish more concretely the value of this learning aid, especially when combined with our ongoing Chinese courses throughout Ireland. “