ScreenChomp for Language Learning

Melvina Kurashige  teaches Japanese language to 6th and 8th graders at Mid-Pacific Institute Middle School in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her students use TechSmith’s recordable whiteboard app ScreenChomp on iPad to improve their skills at speaking and writing Japanese.
Students using ScreenChomp iPad app for language class

Students make two types of videos. In the first, two students draw a picture that evokes a real-life situation—such as sharing an umbrella on a rainy day—and then converse about it. Their drawing and speaking are captured as a video, which can be shared via the web.

In the second type of video, a student draws a colorful picture that creatively incorporates a Japanese character (in black)…which provides a mental hook for remembering how to draw that character later.

“ScreenChomp helps students visualize and remember their Japanese characters,” says Ms. Kurashige. “Their videos become personal flash cards, review lessons for a classmate, and a record of progress over the semester.”

Can’t see the video? Watch it on

What’s the response from students?

Ms. Kurashige reports, “Students LOVE ScreenChomp! Actually the drawing and visualization activity was the top favorite as expressed by my students in their end of year reflections.”

Student reflection on using ScreenChomp for visualization

“Although I used ScreenChomp with both classes, my 8th grade – Japanese 1 classes were the ones that really loved using it to help them visualize their Japanese learning experience.”

For the 2011-2012 school year, Ms. Kurashige’s classes accessed iPad carts for occasional activities. For fall 2012, her school is introducing a 1:1 iPad program, which means more chances to Chomp!

How did Ms. Kurashige get started with this activity?

Graphic facilitator Nick Payne introduced visual thinking and learning to Ms. Kurashige’s language students. Mr. Payne runs a workshop called Scribble School that encourage students to use drawing as an avenue for thinking, reflection, and learning.

“Nick is definitely one of the main reasons we started using ScreenChomp with my classes,” says Ms. Kurashige. “He inspired my students to draw and personalize their own Japanese visual pictures or mnemonics. Their creative Hiragana pictures have helped them create an image in their minds and hence become proficient and enjoy their Japanese lessons!”

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