What is Englipedia?
It is the slickest website on the internet for ALTs, JTEsand HRTs working in Japan's rigid and English-challenged public education sector. It is not affiliated with any group, organization, prefecture or ALT association. It was started by one ALT who had a simple idea that has effectively erased the prefectural divides between ALTs and their teaching ideas. Every ALT can use this site regardless of what textbook they use.
What is the goal?
The over-arching goal of Englipedia is to be a resource where teachers can come when they are looking for activities/ideas for their classroom. However, the site was not designed to be a 'stop-point' to get ideas but rather a place where ideas are sparked and then improved upon.
- ES: Besides providing an array of fun and exciting games, the primary goal is to bridge the communication barrier. Every ES game is, or is in the process of being translated into Japanese.
JHS: There are two ways you can search for an activity - textbook or grammar point. There are only seven MEXT-okayed English textbooks being used in Japan's public junior high schools. Englipedia took those textbooks and linked them together, which made it irrelevant which textbook is being used at school...everyone can use the site!
HS: This is the newest of the projects and is currently being built.
History of Englipedia?
The site was established in February of 2007 with its main purpose being to create an online library of teaching ideas/activities, which could be used to awaken students’ desire to learn English. Similar to the Wikipedia website, the idea of Englipedia is about people contributing a few of their own ideas, and in turn gain a valuable resource. Currently, the site has over 1,500 pages that are divided into three main categories: Elementary School (ES), Junior High School (JHS) and High School (HS).
In the early stages of Englipedia, the owner of Englipedia actually approached his local Board of Education (BoE)and told them about the Englipedia project.Unfortunately, great ideas aren’t always seen clearly by others. The BoE instructed him to stop working on the site during working hours. They said, "The Englipedia project is not work-related, so it can't be worked on at school." Granted, building a teaching resource website is not specifically in an ALT's contract, but it would definitely fall into the 'Other Duties as Assigned' category.The ironic thing about the whole situation was that during the first year Englipedia was being built, the ALT who started Englipedia had more than 80 English classes cancelled (yes, every cancelled class was logged). The BoE's decision sent the message that they preferred him to mind-numbingly surf the internet and pick his nose rather than spend his downtime working on something constructive.So, stepping out on a leap of faith, he decided to leave Joetsu city in Niigata prefecture after his contract was completed and venture out into Japan in search of a better working environment and a more supportive BoE...and, so far so good.
How is Englipedia unique?
ADVERTS: Many websites have so many ads you can't distinguish the website's information from their advertisements. However, there are few ADs here at Englipedia!
NO MEMBERSHIP: A lot of sites force you to become a member before you are allowed to view or use the majority of the materials on the site. However, Englipedia was designed to allow everyone to view, use and even contribute ideas without ever having to sign-up or become a member.
NO LOGOS: One thing that always irks people about using free website materials is the website's logo is smeared all over every worksheet/flashcard on the site. I think it's tacky and takes away from the ethos of the teacher. As a teacher, I think it's embarassing to use classroom materials that have a website logo and/or their website address. Here at Englipedia, all supplemental resources are "logo-free".
FAST SITE: The snazziest thing about this website is its speedy navigation through the entire site. ALTs working in Japan's public schools are usually forced to use computers that rival the speed of a typewriter. It's insulting and blatantly pathetic that ALTs who have degrees from universities that required them to use computers in order to graduate are then often forced to use the oldest and slowest computers at their schools, especially when other teachers who can't even find the power button have access to their very own new-fangled laptop. This website was designed specifically for those ALTs. It was extremely laborious and time consuming but every activity/game here at Englipedia has its own page. Most pages on this site are under 10kbs, which to you non-techie peeps, means a fast-surfing website via any typewriter you find yourself working on at school. Do you remember the sluggishly slow speed of the internet 16 years ago? Well, Englipedia was designed to open most of its pages instantaneously using that 16 year old technology.
JHS TEXTBOOK SPECIFIC: Have you ever wanted to find JHS activities which were specifically designed for your textbook? Well, Englipedia has linked together Japan's JHS public school English textbooks so you can see all JHS activities on the site while surfing the site via the English textbook at your JHS.
COMMENT BOXES: There are comment boxes virtually on every page of the site. Our goal is to allow you, the user, as much input into every page on Englipedia. Even this one!
SCROLLING: Many websites have long scrolling pages, kind of like blogs. However, here at Englipedia every activity has its own page, which translates into short-scrolling webpages.
POPUPS: Ever click on a button and a popup window suddenly pops up? I hate that! With the exception of opening worksheets and surfing to a site located outside Englipedia, there are no popups. And, I've taken it one step further...all of the external links have also been checked for popups.
EASY TO USE: Extensive care has gone into designing Englipedia's layout. My goal was to provide you with a tremendously useful resource BUT present it in the most user-friendly way possible.
BECAUSE ESID:Because we are most certainly aware that every teacher's classroom experience is different, most of the worksheets/handouts on the site open using Microsoft Word. This allows you to easily edit documents.
DUMBED-DOWN GRAMMAR: Let's be honest, chances are the common ALT couldn't tell you the difference between a relative clause and a reduced relative clause, so Englipedia has included simple grammar explanations for us more non-English types.
VOLUNTEER PAGES: From your very first submission, your name, country and number of submissions are tracked. After 10 submissions have been reached, a volunteer page is created to track your progress.
NOT PREFECTURE SPECIFIC: Englipedia doesn't promote one prefecture over another. This site wasn't created to segregate ALTs, rather bring us together. It's nice to have prefecture-specific websites for local issues, but when it comes to doing our job, there is nothing 'prefectural' about it. Englipedia was built to bridge the gap between prefectural lines and get us starting to work together to build a common resource.
- WHO IS BUILDING THE SITE: The people building and helping out with Englipedia are not professionals. We are just ordinary individuals hailing from all around the world who thought giving a little bit of our free time might benefit Japan's English teaching community and hopefully the quality of teaching on the whole. We volunteer because we care. If you would like to help out, contact us HERE. We are looking for all kinds of volunteers, despite whether you have website experience or not.
So yeah, that's Englipedia!