Fri, Apr 24, 2009
The Straits Times
Learning Chinese the online way can be fun

[Photo: Seven-year-old Andrew Lau and his schoolmates learning the fun way with the Chinese Language Word Games portal.]

By Goh Yi Han

A NEW online learning portal promises to make learning Chinese fun for Primary 1 to 3 pupils.

Developed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and local company Creative Knowledge, it offers various word games to test the child's grasp of Chinese characters and phrases and how they are pronounced, using hanyu pinyin.

The games are also set up with different degrees of difficulty for pupils of each level, and are based on material covered in the textbooks used by the schools.

The Chinese Language Word Games portal was introduced to primary schools earlier this year after a pilot at schools like Anglo-Chinese Junior School (ACJS).

MOE has given pupils and teachers their personal user names and passwords with which to access the site http://game.iflashbook.com.

Several schools have begun using the portal during classes to give students a revision of what they have learnt.

Students at St Anthony's Primary, for example, play the online games at least once a month during their Chinese lessons.

One game for Primary 1 pupils, called Rolling Dinosaur Egg. tests their word recognition. Another for Primary 2 pupils, called Little Rabbits Dinner, tests their skill at forming Chinese phrases.

Ms Lim Weijun, who teaches Chinese at St Anthony's Primary and coordinates this online learning programme, said the portal is comprehensive in its coverage of the curriculum and tests a wide range of important language skills.

Her colleague, Madam Sim Suat Lee, said the games are not meant to replace classroom work, but are useful in that they get pupils more interested in learning Chinese.

'The portal is not difficult to use, especially since most pupils are Internet-savvy nowadays.'

Some pupils enjoy the games enough to log on to the portal at home over the weekends. Eight-year-old Chai Yi Chen of St Anthony's Primary said: 'The games are quite fun, although some are harder to play.'

Some pupils have already seen their grades improve.

Chinese teacher Yap Kim Hung of pilot school ACJS said two Primary 3 pupils in his class of 15 who were weak in Chinese made it to a better Chinese class for Primary 4 this year after a semester of using the portal.

This article was first published in The Straits Times.

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