Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 17

Accepted Abstracts

EFL in the i-City and ii Learning Community Lab: A Class in a Cyber-Metropolitan City to Address Education Inequality Stemming from Economy and Geography

Akiyoshi Suzuki, Nagasaki University (Japan)

Shin Kurata, Nagasaki University (Japan)

Norio Nakamura, Nagasaki University (Japan)

Kōichi Matsumoto, Nagasaki University (Japan)


The purpose of this research is to present an idea to address education inequality stemming from economy and geography, especially in English education as a foreign language. Schools on small islands in Japan serve very small numbers of students. While they have advantages in English education because of the small teacher-to-student ratio, they have disadvantages given the limited interaction they have with people of various cultures and with various Englishes to improve academic skills in English and to cultivate the ability to understand and respect others. This is true of schools on small islands and in secluded areas in other countries as well [1]. Numerous people in large cities come from rural areas. Therefore, a joint class in a cyber-metropolitan school created by connecting schools on small islands and secluded areas, and in several countries could be beneficial, especially by utilizing Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Such a class in a cyber-metropolitan city, or i-City, could help address the problem of educational inequality [2]. We set up an English class as a project; two elementary schools on two islands in Japan twice [3] and on islands in Japan and in Hawaii once, joined the class with the use of Zoom and large screen displays. Analysis of the answers in the questionnaire conducted after classes showed that students felt stimulated and empowered by each other which led to an increase in their levels of motivation to learn more English and also to learn more about each other’s culture and the people themselves. The English class in the i-City had a big impact on the teachers as well. They wrote in the questionnaire that the English teaching of the teachers in the other schools was very informative and helpful for their own teaching. For the sustainability of the English class in the i-City, we set up the online portal community for teacher’s collaboration between islands and islands (ii Learning Community Lab) where teachers in the world can call for the partner of English class. This community fulfills the i-City project that addresses inequality in EFL stemming from economy and geography.

Keywords: Inequality of Education, Compulsory Education, Islands, Secluded Areas, ICT.

[1] Kariya, T., Shimizu, H., & Kodama, S. comp. and trans. (2012) Education, Globalization, and Social Change 2: Educational Sociology on Culture and Inequality. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press.
[2] Suzuki, A., et al. (2017) Using modern technology to address traditional geographic and economic limitations in education. Proceedings of the 11th International Multi-Conference on Society, Cybernetics and Informatics 1, 50-55.
[3] Kurata, S., et al. (2018) I-City, or a new classroom for EFL in times of change: Its theory and practice. Surviving & Thriving: Education in Times of Change, 445-451.

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