This learning program focuses on providing users with the ability to learn and acquire the stroke order of Chinese characters. It is available in two versions: Chinese and English. The program was developed by the Ministry of Education of Taiwan to help users to learn to write frequently used Chinese characters In the correct stroke order through animation. There is an accompanying audio for the pronunciation of each character. Various options are available for searching target animations, including search by character, radical, stroke number, bopomofo (phonetic symbol), and pinyin (romanized phonetic symbol).
Type of Material:
Animation and tutorial
This program can be used by instructors to demonstrate proper character writing or by learners to improve their writing skills. It can also be used by students for self-improvement.
Speakers or headphones, Flash player 8 or later, Windows Media player 9 or Apple Quick Time player 7.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The goal is to learn how to write characters of one’s choice in the correct stroke order and how to pronounce them correctly.
Target Student Population:
Students can range from beginning to more advanced learners in high school or college.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Although there are no required prerequisite knowledge and/or skills, users who have some knowledge of the Chinese writing system or any Chinese phonetic transcription system will be able to use the program more efficiently.
This program is engaging and useful to a wide audience due to the availability of various input methods. It teaches Chinese character stroke order effectively through animation with accompanying pronunciation. The animated characters are visually distinct, and the animation speed is adjustable. Users can also practice writing the characters using their computer mouse to move an online brush while receiving feedback and tips in the writing process. Each character animation is accompanied by an audio to teach the correct pronunciation and radical of the character. Learners can conveniently choose to view the definition of each character and how it is used in context. Additionally, they can add characters of their choice to a vocabulary workbook, which can be downloaded for practicing writing the characters manually. All the strokes of each character in the workbook are displayed one by one in order to guide learners to practice writing the character six times in empty boxes provided. Such a customized workbook serves as a personal tutorial, which is particularly useful for honing one’s character writing skills.
The strokes of characters displayed in the workbook are quite small in size, which can be difficult to read. Since this program is primarily designed for native speakers of Chinese, the audio that accompanies each character animation is only recorded in Chinese. With proper guidance from instructors, non-native learners should be able to increase their character recognition skills through this program as well as their writing skills through regular online practice or manual practice in their customized workbook.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This program has the potential of saving instructors' time in writing on the board or preparing flash cards of characters in a lesson that they plan to teach. They can simply use this program to show the stroke order of each character, and even replay the animations as many times as needed for students to follow the stroke order. Additionally, the accompanying recorded pronunciation of each character helps to increase students' listening skills. Instructors can also customize a character writing workbook for their students through this program.
This program is probably more suitable for native or heritage speakers of Chinese who wish to increase their character writing skills. Non-native speakers may be content with just learning to recognize the characters. They may prefer to use a phonetic system for writing Chinese.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The website is easy to navigate and user-friendly with clear instructions, menus, and labels. The graphics are attractive and relevant, the animated characters are well designed, and the audios are of high quality. Additionally, keyboards with bopomofo phonetic symbols and pinyin letters are provided for search by these input methods. The User’s Guide contains useful information such as an explanation of stroke order animations, an explanation of search methods, basic rules of stroke order, and a list of frequently asked questions about the contents, technical requirements, and so forth.
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