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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



In 2020, technology is generally accepted, and we can see many people using their digital devices such as smartphones everywhere. It is easy to see how dependent we are on technology, anytime and anywhere. Mobile apps are one of the time-effective tools for our daily lives. College students in the United States are always busy with their classes and assignments, and for them, apps are not only for having fun but are also convenient, reliable, and essential supporting tools for their academic and daily lives.

This paper examines the students’ preferences in learning the Japanese writing system “Hiragana” with mobile apps and paper worksheets. The study had 14 participants who joined a 4-day-a-week class. The participants were asked to use both the app “Ganbatte kana” and copies of the worksheet “Purinto Kizzu” to practice Hiragana in and out of class. After all four classes over 1 week, the participants answered a questionnaire about the class and what they thought of using the paper and the app to study Hiragana based on their experience.

The results of this study showed that most students preferred the paper to the app. While most of them use their smartphones every day, they have an attachment to paper. Some of them preferred physical experiences more than digital experiences for writing. However, most of them appreciate the app’s multifunctionality and convenience, and half of them want to use both apps and paper for their future learning. If we can use both in each strong area effectively, we can expect new technology and traditional materials to become more satisfying and useful learning tools.


First Advisor

Yuki Yoshimura

Second Advisor

Bruce Baird