JapaneseJapan UK Live!

*Introductory Lesson Plan

Students of all ages are increasingly familiar with the internet and may regularly spend time online at home. They may even be more at ease with digital technology than you, the teacher. However, it is important at the start of work using Japan UK Live to make sure that they stop to think about the characteristics of an online community. It is a good opportunity to reinforce the importance of safe conduct when using the internet: although Japan UK Live is password protected and carefully moderated, many students frequently use less secure forums and web-based communities.



In the introductory lesson and throughout their participation in Japan UK Live students will:


  • Understand the importance of safe behavior when using the internet
  • Consider the needs and feelings of others in an online community and decide how to develop good relationships with other participants
  • Think about the lives of people in other places and with different values and customs
  • Through investigation of topics relating to their own lives, become more aware of their own cultural beliefs and customs and learn to value them
  • Talk and write about their opinions and explain their views
  • Write for an audience
  • Develop ICT skills



Understand what the Japan UK Live website is and is not:


1)    First discuss with students the various ways they can learn about another country 


·         What is the best way to learn about another country? Books, internet, TV, talking to people etc  What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?  Which methods are most reliable?

·         What if people want to learn about the UK?


2)    Explain that Japan UK Live is a website where students in the UK and Japan can find out about each other’s lives either in a Project Page for use with a partner school or in the Forums, our general communication area.

·         What would you like to find out about Japan?

·         What kind of things would you like Japanese students to know about the UK?


3)    Look at the Forums


a)    Discuss what makes Japan UK Live a safe site.  How can they make sure that this safety is maintained?  What is appropriate on a site like this?  (You may wish to include discussion about the potential dangers of chatrooms etc)

Japan UK Live is password protected, so it is safe to share information and photographs.  However, students should be aware of the danger of doing so on other websites.  Although Japan UK Live is a closed community, students are not allowed to give personal email or postal addresses or phone numbers – this is also something they should never do elsewhere.


b)    Is there anything students have already learned in other classes that they could share with people in Japan?


c)    Discuss what kind of problems might there be in emailing people in Japan?  What do students think the solution might be?  What actually happens on Japan UK Live?


·         Language: all messages are translated by a team of Japanese and English speakers – but be aware some Japanese students

·         like to read the English messages for practice.  Text-message style writing is not appropriate!

·         Time difference (Japan is eight hours ahead of BST and nine hours GMT): there is nothing we can do about the time difference, but messages can be viewed at any time.  The advantage is that because there is no time pressure in writing messages, students have the chance to plan what they are going to write.

·         Not knowing who you’re writing to: you can read all the messages in the Forums, so you can find out who is writing.  

·         Thinking of what to write after the first message: trying to keep the conversation going by sustaining it with questions and new information.

·         Being nervous about writing a message that lots of people will read, or worried that no one will reply to you: although some students spend a lot of time ‘chatting’ to friends online from home, many are still nervous about writing in a more formal situation.  It may be reassuring to know that they are not alone in feeling this way.  Encourage them to be aware of who is active on the site and work out ways to include everyone.  Teachers can also alert other teachers to their students’ messages by posting in the Teachers' Forum.


4)    Emphasise the fact that the Forums are NOT chat rooms:


·         Discuss the difference between Japan UK Live and a chat room.  The members are registered and vetted, the conversation is moderated and it is designed to support exchange between Japan and the UK.  Encourage students to research and plan their messages, rather than just writing one line ‘throw away’ comments.

·         What kind of messages are inappropriate for Japan UK Live?  Chat between members of the same class on unrelated issues, simply requesting information for a project, abusive messages etc.


Try to spend some time discussing these issues with students and making sure they understand how Japan UK Live works before beginning to use the site.


If you have any comments, questions or suggestions about the site, please email education@japansociety.org.uk