Friday, 23 March 2012

Ninja Diaries - a journey for Year 10 Japanese

TakF is off on exchange to Japan. At least he thinks he is. Just before he leaves for Japan his Grandfather gives him a letter - a rather cryptic letter for 15 year old Takeru. It seems his Japanese born grandfather wants him to do something while in Japan; he needs to contact his great uncle. There is some sort of family secret that needs dealing with.

So in late December 2011, Takeru left for Japan and within a few days had forgotten the letter he still kept scanned into his phone. Then one day he finds a note in his pocket and things start to get creepy. Someone wants to meet him and discuss his father - his father who disappeared several years ago.

In early March, Takeru decides it's time to visit his relatives in Izumo and find out a little more. Not long after his host family in Tsukuba lose contact with him. He seems to have gone off on his own, leaving a cryptic video (see below) on his blog asking for help.

Meanwhile, some students in Australia have received an email asking for their help in locating Takeru. It seems they have been reading his blog and may know something.

Now to find his 'secret' blog and find out what he is really doing...

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Rosetta2032 Reflections

"this is getting fun…I keep checking the Edmodo and Docs in my spare time…" (teacher)

"I loved the way that the Rosetta mystery challenged my thinking and my creativity" (student)

Rosetta2032 - a project for languages with Year 7 is now over. Some members of the Resistance were able to locate all the hidden coins, placed in various locations around the school by the mysterious BenK. These students followed the clues left in various places - in online tasks, on websites and in the online profiles of the two main 'characters' - Glen Agua and BenK.

I had planned on writing some more updates as Rosetta2032 unfolded but it wasn't long before all my channels of communication were being monitored. For some reason students thought that I may have been behind the whole 'Glen Agua' scenario (at least I knew someone was reading my blog).

So how did it work?
There were 6 Phases in this journey towards saving the world and it all began with a worksheet...

A worksheet that revealed a website (edmodo) and a code, this was the code which gave you access to your language group. Once in edmodo, there were instructions left on the 'wall' and tasksheets left in the library (on edmodo). This worked well but would have worked really well if I had used it a little more effectively - I found it harder than expected to stay ahead of some of the students. As a result, some students found it a little difficult to locate resources whilst other students did some of the tasks out of the intended order. Furthermore, with time being taken up staying ahead of students, I also neglected the staff a little :(

In the end there were far more positives to come out of it than negatives and there have been lots of lessons for next time, which is the result we were hoping for.

Monday, 10 October 2011

rosetta2032 has begun...

Fake accounts have been created, fake websites are up and running and the Phase 1 task sheet has been sent. The Bunker (edmodo) is also ready. 

Students have just been sent the following:


My name is Glen, aka rosetta2032. My apologies for previous emails that may have confused you but a certain level of secrecy is needed. I have successfully navigated the portal and am contacting you from the Year 2032. The future for you is bleak. It's not a happy place here because there is one amongst you who will one day go on to wreak havoc in the world.
It all changed for the worse in 2018, but sometime in 2011 the man known as BenK hid 5 coins and a code. These were later used somehow to gain the power he now has. We need you to find where he hid them and pass that information on to me. 
Your first step will be to find your way to our Bunker; this is a place we can work together. Please join the resistance with me. The attached document will guide you on your way. I will be working with your language teachers - they too have been contacted.
Be vigilant and be aware.

Tomorrow our year 7 students will be searching for the future ruler of our world, reading through clues in the target languages of French, German and Japanese. They will need to complete profiles and find clues left along the way (working together) - mind you 'the way' is far from complete. Phase 1 and 2 are ready and Phase 3 will be something along the lines of a Google earth tour. From there they will need to navigate some cuiltural etiquette to find clues and at some stage there are plans for a trek into minecraft for a treasure hunt activity. 

At the moment I am not sure how successful this will all be but perfect or not, we expect to learn a lot from it - hopefully the students will learn some language and collaborative skills on the way too. It has been a learning experience trying to create it and I have discovered some cool sites and tools on the way. iSpeech for text-to-speech (in English and other languages) and Wix for creating simple but cool flash sites are my favourites so far.

And so I am off to help The Resistance...


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A Journey into ARG

We are organising our Yr7 programme for languages a little differently this year and this has resulted in a Term 4 where students have already chosen their language for Yr8. Their choices are French, German or Japanese and the most likely scenario for Term 4 has always been that they will work on that language in a class where not everyone is learning the same language, or where the teacher who is in the room is not skilled in that language.

Essentially, we had to come up with a Term 4 'project' that students could work on independently but also be able to receive feedback. When we, as a department, were first discussing the possibility of this new structure for Yr7, I thought it would be a great opportunity to try something new. Now, I'm just hoping it will all work.

Inspired by a conversation with Jess McCulloch earlier in the year and more recently by her fantastic Blackline Mystery, I have been slowly trying to piece together a unit of work for the 3 languages that students will be able to work on semi-independently for about 5-6 weeks. My initial plans were to simply use edmodo: students could then join, complete tasks and use the discussion threads to ask questions. But, the more I read and explored and saw what Jess was doing, the more I realised the potential to go out on a limb and try something completely new. It may not work but hopefully we'll learn from the experience. The challenges were to make it work across all 3 languages and ensure that language learning was actually occuring.

The more I have learnt about and explored the worlds of "Alternate Reality Games", "Interactive Fiction", "Minecraft" and "Transmedia", the more I see the potential that this has, and that this would be an awesome way to learn. I am by no means an expert on the pedagogy of all of this but when I start to worry about those things, I am reminded of a tweet from Steve Collis: "so many sins are compensated for by the level of engagement". For me, engagement is critical. Engagement is the first step in finding a passion for something.

So, as for Term 4, we have: characters, a storyline, a headquarters (The Bunker, more commonly known as Edmodo) which contains our 'Database' (library of links and resources) and accounts across several websites. I will try to blog more of the journey but, for the moment, this is where our Term 4 jorney begins for the students...

Next, they will receive an email.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Corridor Display + QR Codes

QR Codes are something I've had a bit of a play with but have not quite worked out how I would use them in the classroom. Mind you this post from Joe Dale has some great ideas. I have, however, used them as part of the corridor display outside the classroom. The aim is to change the theme of the display a couple of times a term but...

Last term's theme was 'Sakura' (cherry blossoms in Japan). I generally have a flickr image collage and some simple signs or words in Japanese but this time I included some QR codes that directed students to websites or videos that explained more about the images or the Japanese words. One code led to a popular Japanese song with 'sakura' in the title and another led to an explanation of 'sakura zensen', which can somewhat loosley be translated as the 'cherry blossom front'. The results are below, though apologies for the quality of the mages. If you're looking for a site to create the QR codes, I used Kaywa which enables you to link to a URL or shows text.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Champions of quizlet

Quizlet is a great tool for revising vocabulary in a language or for learning definitions in any subject. It allows you to set up class groups and when students are logged in and completing the tests or games their scores are recorded. So, for part of our 8 French lesson today we logged in to quizlet and the whole class jumped on to the recently created set to practice conjugating the verb 'aller' (to go).

Students were given 10 minutes, which was counting down on the board thanks to the Countdown Timer over at At the end of 10 minutes jelly snakes were handed out to those on top of the leader boards for each "Set Champion" - the 'Scatter Champion', 'Space Race Champion' and the champion of the 'Most Right Answers' category. All in all, it was a great way to round off the lesson and all were on task.


Monday, 23 May 2011

From the Classroom - Student Posters

Student created posters promoting Japan and some reasons for learning Japanese: