On-line Resources

Tips for Teens – Oversharing: Think Before You Post

I don’t have teens but social media has crept into the vocabulary of my little girls and I know that they anticipate the day that they will have their own social media passwords that they access on their smart phones while they text, tweet, IG, snapchat, etc with their friends. PAASSC will start posting more information about tips to support your youth on social media and safety devices – as I become more knowledgeable in my efforts to protect my own children.

In the meantime I wanted to share this video with clear messages to youth that encourage responsible use of social media.

Made in collaboration with CommonSense Media and Flocabulary,  the experts in educational hip-hop, this animated music video raps about the hazards of oversharing online and emphasizes a thoughtful approach to digital footprints. Tweens, teens, and adults can laugh and learn about the ups and downs of communicating and connecting in the digital world.

Learning Mandarin from birds

Scholars of the Mandarin Chinese language can learn a lot from birds.

That’s the premise of a new language learning game designed by a Michigan State University researcher and an interdisciplinary team of students.

Inspired by the varying tones of bird species, Picky Birds teaches students the four main Mandarin tones by helping them associate each tone with a corresponding colored bird, said Catherine Ryu, associate professor of Japanese literature and culture, who recently received a patent for the technology on which the game is based.

Catherine Ryu, associate professor of Japanese literature and culture, has received a patent for the technology behind her language learning game, Picky Birds. Photo by Kurt Stepnitz

Catherine Ryu, associate professor of Japanese literature and culture, has received a patent for the technology behind her language learning game, Picky Birds. Photo by Kurt Stepnitz

“Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, which means the same word can mean something entirely different depending on the tone used,” Ryu said. “And this is fundamentally different than how we use tonal inflections in English.”

For example, in Mandarin the word “ma” (English sound equivalent) can mean “mother,” “flax,” “horse” or “to yell” depending on the tonal inflection used.

Picky Birds is based on research showing brains are wired to associate high pitches with lighter hues, Ryu said. So the birds in her game are yellow for the high even tone, green for the rising tone, blue for the dipping tone and red for the falling tone.

The app is an outcome of Ryu’s Tone Perception Efficacy Study, which she conducted with Aline Godfroid, assistant professor of second language studies, and Chin-Hsi Lin, assistant professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education. ToPES investigated two related questions regarding language:

• How do people perceive, process and retain tones as a sensory perception, especially when the tones in question are not an integral aspect of their own language backgrounds?
• To what extent can people learn to differentiate tones and retain that information?

Ryu will use Picky Birds next month for a Mandarin tone perception experiment, hoping to recruit 40 students without any prior exposure to Mandarin Chinese to participate.

Once Picky Birds is vetted, Ryu will work with MSU Technologies to market the app to users; they expect to begin commercialization in the fall.

In addition to College of Arts and Letters faculty and students, the Picky Birds team includes media and information majors specializing in game design and development in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and a computer music composer who teaches at Mott Community College in Flint.

Ryu hopes to expand her research team to include neuroscientists, graphic artists, creative writers, game developers, web developers, mechanical engineers and social media specialists.

“It’s a high-energy group of collaborators,” Ryu said. “When we all get together with linguists, truly exciting conversations take place.”

Development of Picky Birds was supported with funding from MSU’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies under the Targeted Support Grant for Technology Development program.

Repost from MSUtoday.com

Pre-Order Disney’s Frozen in Chinese!!

frozen dvd


If you don’t know that Disney is set to release the Frozen DVD on Tuesday then I think you have done an amazing job as a parent keeping your child far removed from all things Disney and detached from mainstream America. But if your child is like mine and the Frozen soundtrack is permalooped as the primary sound coming from your child’s mouth then you already know.

I’m excited to announce that I ran to Yesasia.com (I purchased Brave from them in the past) and they have the Mandarin version of Frozen ready to be released. The girls didn’t absolutely love Brave in Mandarin but I am hoping that their vocabulary has increased enough for them to give Frozen a shot. Check out Yesasia.com if you would like to purchase Frozen in Mandarin/Cantonese/Thai/Korean.


Free Trial of eGlobalreader

ereaderDear Parents,

eGlobalReader would like to invite you to participate in the trial of a new bilingual reading application that is designed to help young students read more books in multiple languages – all by themselves.
We are excited to release the preview version of eGlobalReader.  Take a look at our first set of eight bilingual books in Mandarin/English!  Please note that there are a couple of corrections that we are working on, but we are eager to get your feedback.  The application is free to download to your iPad or you can access it from the web browser on your tablet or computer.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Set up your free account online at http://www.eglobalreader.com/?CID=TryIt
  2. Download the app to your iPad.  Go to iTunes and search for “eGlobalReader”.  The app is free. Or use eGlobalReader from your computer or tablet through the web.
  3. For a brief overview of the product, please see our 40 sec video on how your child can start reading independently today at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCxBrej6M0k.
Everyone who contacts us through this special link will be able to sample our first library free of charge until the end of the year.  Because this product is in early development, eGlobal Reader will be asking you to complete a survey to provide valuable feedback so that we can make this the best bi-lingual learning product possible for our children.   Please feel free to forward the information to others who might be interested in trying out this new offering.
Please contact us at info@eGlobalReader.com with any feedback or questions.

Happy reading!

The team at eGlobalReader

Like PAASSC on Facebook!

PAASSC has been able to provide an array of great media posts via our Facebook page. Additionally, we often provide up to date posts regarding our outings and social events. We hope that you are able to like us on Facebook to receive up to date information regarding additional outings and activities. Click the link below to learn more about what we have to offer on our Facebook page! Be sure to “like” us!


Kids Learn Mandarin Application

learning mandarinFingerprint continues to dismantle the great wall between entertainment and education with its newest learning app, Kids Learn Mandarin, available today exclusively on the Fingerprint network for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Created in partnership with Hong Kong based Digital Learning Company, this immersive and vibrantly animated title improves on the original Kids Learn Mandarin app released in 2012, which was ranked as a Top 10 Education App in six countries. Kids Learn Mandarin for Fingerprint features the network’s acclaimed progress reporting, which provides interactive updates to parents on their child’s achievements, subject mastery and suggested next lesson.

Kids Learn Mandarin takes a progressive and playful approach to teaching kids ages 3-8 a whopping 240 Mandarin words through 12 fully interactive lessons that cover a variety of subjects –numbers, colors, animals, food, sports, transportation and more. Hosted by Pei Pei the Panda,Kids Learn Mandarin includes 96 mini-games, 12 lively music videos, 12 Chinese character writing lessons and a personal playground that kids can decorate with stickers they earn as they learn!

“Learning Mandarin is truly an investment in the future. Educators have linked learning a second language at a young age to higher test scores, greater confidence and enhanced critical thinking skills,” said Nancy MacIntyre, CEO and co-founder of Fingerprint. “For kids, learning a second language opens the window to our great big world. Kids Learn Mandarin is an app gem that delivers premium language lessons in fun app-sized bites for kids.”

Mandarin, the national language of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, is spoken by more than 1 billion people worldwide and is considered one of the most important world languages by the U.S. State Department.1 In fact, more and more U.S elementary schools are teaching Mandarin in the classroom. By making early language learning accessible and appealing, Kids Learn Mandarin reaches kids during critical cognitive development and gives them a boost in life-long learning. 2

“We designed Kids Learn Mandarin around nearly 100 culturally rich, highly relatable interactive games that engage children’s imagination within a high impact language-learning experience,” said Kristy Carr, founder of The Digital Learning Company. “Fingerprint’s sophisticated, family friendly network is the ideal platform for learning to speak and write Mandarin – a language vital to our global growth.”

Read more here: www.sacbee.com

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