Real Kana: Hiragana and Katakana Practice is a drill developed by Bryn Dyment to recognize Hiragana and Katakana, the two types of Japanese characters. It features 46 letters, 15 voiced and 5 voiceless consonants, and 36 "glides" combinations, such as "kya", Kyu" in both Hiragana and Katakana.
This module is designed to help users review hiragana and katakana. Users can select specific rows of kana to appear in the review. Upon clicking "Practice," characters from the selected row are presented in random order. The user types (in romaji) the reading for the character on the screen and clicks OK. If correct, a new character appears. If incorrect, a red X appears until the correct reading is typed. While there is no scoring, the module is interactive, requiring input of character readings. Feedback is given by red X's for incorrect responses, or progression through the module for correct responses. There are no special technical requirements. This module could be projected in a classroom setting.
Type of Material:
Drill & Practice
This module could be used in a classroom setting, as an activity introducing or reviewing hiragana or katakana
This module could also be used independently by persons studying hiragana or katakana on their own.
No encoding needs of Japanese fonts.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The learners will be able to memorize, recognize and read letters and their combinations. Review readings for hiragana and katakana characters
Target Student Population:
Beginning Japanese learners, who have started learning hiragana and katakana scripts
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Need to know the rōmaji equivalent of each letter.
Real Kana is well designed to instruct learners to memorize, recognize, and read the letters and their combinations in a very effective manner. It provides seven different type faces, some are similar to various handwritten styles and others are printed styles. This is a useful feature as most of the textbooks tend to show one or few printed style.
The module is of very high quality. All hiragana and katakana are available to be selected and included in the review sequence. One especially interesting and helpful feature is under "Options," where users may select from 7 different typefaces, including several made to look like actual handwritten characters. (This would be very helpful in keeping students from falling into the trap of only being able to recognize the typeface presented in the textbook.)
The language is not presented in context – there are no vocabulary words presented. Also, in the selection of characters for the review, users might miss the "More" button in the lower right which adds other combinations (voiced kana, ya-yu-yo combinations, etc.).
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Real Kana lets users customize the numbers of letters to practice, from as little as 5 to 102. It also engages learner with interactive and immediate feedback. Learner can view the answer when they do not know it by moving the mouse over the letter. This site can be used in a variety of ways, including as a study aid for at home use or as a classroom presentation, by clicking the “OK” button without typing the answer in. The letters can be zoomed in for a larger view.Because of the interactivity, users remain alert so they can type in their responses (thus avoiding a common occurrence where students fall into a trance while clicking on the "forward" button without really seeing the kana presented for review). The module successfully accomplishes the task of reviewing all hiragana and katakana.
The building of assignments using this module might be difficult. It would best be utilized as a review tool.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Real Kana is very easy to navigate. Labels, buttons, menus and layout are consistent and distinct. The “Home” page explains how to use the site well. It is clearly designed with no distracting design elements.
The ability to select specific rows of kana to review is a great strength. Students in introductory classes are usually focused on one or two rows at a time, and review for such limited exams is facilitated by this module.
“Hiragana”, “Katakana” and “Option” pages have the first column checked as a default. It would be beneficial for learners to know to uncheck the defaulted column before entering the “Practice” page.
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