A. Brasier, S. Cother

Kagoshima University (JAPAN)
Japan is known for its ground breaking technology, and yet the utilisation of that technology in the country's classrooms lags behind most developed countries. In tertiary education, the ICT and technological facilities on university and college campuses may rank highly amongst developed nations however despite this, the traditional lecture style of education is prevalent. The majority of Japanese students entering university generally have also had far less access to computers than their contemporaries in other developed countries, but are quick to embrace, adapt and master computers at an impressive speed.

In its foreign language education, Japan faces many challenges, and while compulsory English language acquisition is identified as a national priority by the Japanese Ministry of Education countless cultural, geographical, and logistical hurdles exist. Thus by the time they reach higher education, students show little interest in studying the language, nor do they have confidence in their skills.

In this paper, we investigate the use of the online e-learning website, English Central (a unique website using speech recognition software to enable students to work on their speaking and pronunciation as well as listening and vocabulary), in mandatory first-year university English classes as means to invigorate students' language learning. Students were surveyed on their enjoyment of using the website, its ease, and their feelings of increased improvement and motivation.