Technology has made it a totally different experience for a person to read, learn and work with the Chinese language


From Channel News Asia:

Technology has also made it a totally different experience for a person to read, learn and work with the Chinese language.

Mr Lee (Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong) said: “In China now, everybody uses computer inputs one way or other. The young people are working on keyboards so much that when they have to write the characters, they do not remember how to produce them.”

Communication styles too are changing, with more people using email and SMS.

Prime Minister Lee said: “There are all sorts of strange abbreviations. I was exchanging messages with a young person in Chinese and the person typed ‘3488’. So I asked, what on earth is ‘3488’ (‘暂时拜拜’)?

“There are all sorts of other abbreviations and synonyms which have become part of the lingo. If you stick to the traditional formal language teaching, you are not going to teach people that, you are not going to use that, and students are going to learn a very formal language. But that is not what they will often encounter in real life.”

Mr Lee said testing methods will also need to change.

“So, in an exam, you can bring an electronic dictionary along and ideally, everybody should have a keyboard and should type and write on the keyboard rather than have the burden of struggling with the mechanics of memorising and writing characters by hand,” he said.

 

My reflections:

1. Yes. Technology has changed it all. The challenge now is to use technology to teach and learn Chinese language effectively.

2. Email and SMS are two huge communication tools. That brings us to highly debated use of mobile phones/devices for learning in classrooms again. We must not forget the other 2 big communication tools – Instant Messaging (IM) and SNS (Social Networking Sites).

3. Does that mean we can look forward to alternative assessment with the use of computers in Chinese language tests and examinations?

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