Prime Minister KEVIN RUDD visits school in Japan! Sends message using Palaygo!

In June 2008, the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his wife Ms Therese Rein visited Akabane Primary School in Minato-ku, Tokyo where he observed the Palaygo system operating between Japanese and a number of Australian schools. The visit was organised by AEI, Australian Education International at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo. After being greeted by all the students at the school waving Australian and Japanese flags, the Prime Minister observed the Japanese students constructing messages and replying to Australian students using Palaygo. One of the messages came from Gruyere Primary School in Victoria. An article about the school in the Herald Sun newspaper on 12 June 2008 included the Prime Minister’s following comment. “A tiny primary school on Melbourne’s eastern fringe is a model for the way Australia could become the highest Japanese-speaking nation in the West”.

Former pm kevin rudd observing japanese students reading messages received from australian schools.PM Kevin Rudd observing Japanese students reading messages received from Australian schools. (From left: Dr Kenneth Ho Deputy Director, Australian Education International, Frank Noda President, Language Discovery (Palaygo System), Australian Prime Minster Kevin Rudd, Murray McLean, Australian Ambassador to Japan, Michelle Allan, Counsellor of Education Australian Embassy, Japan)

Fomer pm kevin rudd composing a message using language discovery online with japanese students.PM Kevin Rudd composing a message using Palaygo with Japanese students.

After observing classroom activities, the Prime Minister sat down in front of a computer and started constructing messages in Palaygo. The screen was in Japanese, but the Mandarin fluent PM was able to recognise topics displayed in Kanji and he chose 天気 (weather). He used the palette and constructed a message and this was sent collectively to nearly 2000 active Australian users on the system. The visit was broadcast on Australian Television Channels ABC-2, 7, 9 and 10 as well as in newspapers in Australia and Japan.