Presentation on theme: "LANGUAGE LEARNING AND THE INTERNET. The communicative possibilities of the internet have been seized by those who deal in the teaching of languages."— Presentation transcript:
The communicative possibilities of the internet have been seized by those who deal in the teaching of languages and communication. Including language teachers. There are now huge numbers of language learners engaged in e-mail exchanges with learners in other countries, while teachers around the world organize discussion activities between geographically distanced classes. The pedagogical use of learning opportunities offered by public internet discussion is at present limited, but may grow.
Valuable forms of situated learning are provided by computer mediated communication’s potential for spontaneous, purposeful written communication exchange, in which the teacher is not the primary audience or agent, even though she may have access to what the learner is doing. Two widely used types of computer mediated communication are tandem learning and telecollaboration by e-mail.
Of course there are other opportunities for online learning, but they may be less frequently used than those set up by teachers. Internet activities that may connect learners with an authentic audience include participation in discussion forums, chat sites, games, the creation of web pages and electronic newspapers, responses to surveys and opinion polls,.. These are all internet resources which may be used for learning, but it is not their primary purpose, as is the case with tandem and telecollaboration
Public internet discussion (i.e. forms in The Guardian and other newspapers based on news or other topics…also fond on T.V. websites) is, for many people, an accepted and vibrant cultural practice, attracting wide numbers of participants. Although the general interest sites may have their core of prolific members, who often take part with long entries, participation is also open to others less dedicated or who have other interests.
Authentic communication with native speakers. * Extensive language practice. * Intercultural learning. * Development of learner autonomy. * Integration of expert feedback (implicit and explicit) * Reflection on form and content.
Immediate availability of interlocutors already engaged in the activity. No co-ordination necessary. No language protocol (which language to use) necessary. Not restricted to communication between learners of the language(s). Need to negotiate goals beyond the institutional or pedagogical. Need to communicate in terms of the native speaker community. Beyond the setting of a virtual classroom. Not reliant on the development of a personal relationship.
Whilst exchanges certainly lead learners to interact with native speakers of the target language, it is less certain that they leave behind the ‘simulated classroom-based’ context in order to do so. Sometimes the activities themselves are more pedagogically based than truly communicative (i.e topics or questions or type of language to be used etc framed by the teacher - -- possibly agreed on in advance by the two teachers of the separate classes in order to practice a given form, the past tense…).
There is evidence that friendship between people of from different cultural backgrounds may lead to more positive interpersonal or intergroup attitudes. Activities that promote the development of interpersonal relationships offer strong potential for enhancing intercultural empathy Public internet discussion is not reliant on personal knowledge of one’s interlocutors, and not intended as a path to a relationship or friendship or language learning.
There is a website called WordReference, a professional site for translators, students and language enthusiasts; this site includes possibilities for personalization, such as icons and signatures, although when posts grow too particular or personal, veering away from general cultural discussions of language related issues, they will be removed by the moderator of the site. Chat and personal opinion are discouraged. It may be expected that the primary value of participation in this site to be in the quality of the discussion around professional language concerns
Hanna, B. & de Nooy, J. 2009. Learning Language and Culture via Public Internet Discussion Forums. New York. (online Journals) Language Learning and Technology Journal of Computer Mediated Communication Belz, J.A. & Thorne, S.L. (Eds). 2006. Internet mediated intercultural foreign language education. Boston. Lamy, M.N. & Hampel, R. 2007. Online communication in language learning and teaching. New York. O’Dowd, R. 2007. Online Intercultural Exchange: An Introduction for foreign language teachers. Clevedon. Thurlow, C. et al. 2004. Computer Mediated Communication: Social Interaction and the Internet. London.
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