Dynamic Japanese Disc 1, Disc 2 (DynEd)

System Requirements:
CD-ROM drive; System 7.0 or above; 2.5 MB free RAM; JLK not required
Price: $350 (two disc set)
Review by Kazuo Tsuda, United Nations International School (NYC, NY)

Dynamic Japanese is a beginning listening based CALL program. The program consists of ten theme units which related to the needs and interests of today's students of Japanese. The themes are Names and Places, Jobs and Family, Numbers and Time, Family Schedule, Seasons, Weather, Times of Day, Likes and Dislikes, Kana Practice, Dictation's and Fill-Ins. There are several main characters in the story, a teacher's family and a doctor's family and a wealthy family in Japan. Learners can listen to personal information about their families in the beginning level.

The sound quality is excellent. Dynamic Japanese is based on spoken Japanese. Students learn a lot of listening comprehension from the program. Although Dynamic Japanese creates an immersion type lesson, students find the short-term phases repeated. The syllabus is based on their ideas: ' Students at the foundation level are in an 'embryonic' stage of learning. They cannot be expected to generate original language before they have internalized the basic vocabulary and key structures necessary to express basic concepts.'( DynED)

The translation( English) is useful for students to understand the lesson. but the teacher asks students not to use this key often. Students use more repeated button to listen to the contents of the lesson. Students also can record their voice and check their pronunciation progress. The program keeps the records of their progress and study times.

The visual quality helps for students to understand the lesson. Students can also check the text of spoken sentences. They can read these texts. The student can control or interrupt a lesson at any time to pause , repeat, record or exit to another lesson. Response time is also fast. Students enjoy controlling the program.

As a teacher, however, I have some concerns. The program is made for two different audiences - high school students and business people. These two audiences have different needs . The difference needs create some conflict in the design of the program. I also find the examples to be poorly chosen. The Spartan life of the teacher in Japan is not a typical example of Japanese life. I would mention a couple of other minor points as well. Questions are formulated for an immersion type of program; however, theses questions may not suitable for other orientation. Moreover, some questions do not give a clear directions for finding the answer.