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Peer Review

Life in New China

by What Kids Can Do Inc


Overall Numeric Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4.25 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 13, 2014 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: This site is created by What Kids Can Do, a non-profit organization, with the support of the Asia Society. It details the Chinese daily life and culture from the perspective of the students at Beijing No. 12 High School. The site includes four main themes: (1) side by side, (2) a Beijing tour, (3) inside our school, and (4) dictionary.
Type of Material: Text, images, slides and audio files.
Recommended Uses: Self-study or instructor-guided learning.
Technical Requirements: Web browser, audio and video players
Identify Major Learning Goals: Listening, speaking, reading, and cultural learning.
Target Student Population: High school and college students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Beginning to intermediate level of Chinese.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: This site is very useful for students outside China to learn about China from peers. Students in this Beijing high school talk about issues ranging from the environment, to sports, and to friendship.Clear audio files. Interesting phrases.
Concerns: The site would be a lot more useful if it had more contents in the Beijing Tour theme. Only the Tiananmen Square, Wangfujing shopping district, Houhai Lake, and migrant neighborhood are presented.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The strength of this site lies in the "side-by-side" theme that compares the old and the new ways of life in China, including buildings, transportation, food, shopping, sports, technology, and so forth. The pictures provide vivid contrasts between the old and the new. The "inside our school" theme consists of Chinese and English recordings of students' thoughts and opinions on issues ranging from their daily schedule, to friendship, to studying English, etc. They provide insight into the lives of Beijing youth. The "dictionary" theme provides an array of simple vocabulary words accompanied by pictures and audios. They can serve as a useful learning tool.
Concerns: None

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The site is well designed with clear objectives and user-friendly navigation tools. The audios are of good quality, and the photos and illustrations are appropriate and attractive.
Concerns: Loading of dictionary items is relatively slow.

Other Issues and Comments: It is a good site for U.S. secondary school students to learn something about Beijing, the students and some basic Chinese.