Thanks to Jennifer for making me think about this!
In her comments on an earlier post about what teachers have learned about using Anki, she describes how she gives her students a hangout explaining the science and principles behind Anki. In that way, her students understand what they are supposed to do and why.
I had tried to explain this to my students, but I suspect that between their English listening and my limited Japanese skills, they did not really understand why I was asking them to do this new thing. Yet another crazy foreign teacher, I guess...
So, I looked on the Anki website and found some Japanese language support information, mentioned in an earlier post. From that information, I cut and pasted a handout that summarized the important parts of Anki..
In three classes today, I gave the students the handout and asked them to quietly read it. Then I tried to explain why I am trying to teach them how to use Anki, not only for my class, but so they can use it in other classes. Finally, I had them do their partner Anki study activity. I can only hope that they did it with a better understanding and perhaps appreciation of the process.
Next year, I will definitely have to do this at the beginning of the semester!