Social Media and Language Learning: Why Classrooms Move Online


Social Media and Language Learning: Why Classrooms Move Online
The apparent growth of online resources has in many ways transformed traditional classrooms. Teaching and learning methods have significantly changed ever since the Internet has become available to most of the students worldwide. With educational software 
applications and online tools, classrooms have evolved into more modern settings.

Yet, many educators still struggle to figure out the best ways to integrate online tools into their class curricula. Students have, on the other hand, found suitable online resources and started using them to add up to their class contents. Social media has particularly influenced development of online language learning, enabling students to easily connect and communicate with people across the globe and find the available places in online schools or academies.

Homework on Facebook

Though using Facebook in classrooms may still be seen as ‘sacrilegious’ by the biggest conservatives, it may in many ways enhance learning.

With or without their teacher’s recommendations, students tend to enter educational groups where they can get an answer to most of their questions, without having to go through the anxiety of asking it in front of the class. In addition, as all the other group activities appear on a user’s wall, students can easily monitor the most popular discussions about the topic of their interest. Apart from this, closed course groups have also become the major means of communication between teachers and students outside the classroom.

Clearly, Facebook is still predominantly used for entertainment, but its educational potential is by no means small. When it comes to language learning, Facebook is just one of the social networks where students and language enthusiasts can improve their skills.

Despite all the language exercises they’re doing in class, students may still lack conversational skills. The truth is that class activities and discussion topics are not actual real-life situations. They do, however, try to imitate situations most people are likely to experience. Still, when it comes to online socializing, it actually takes much more to maintain a meaningful communication with an unknown person who doesn’t speak your language. On Facebook, you’re practically forced to invest a greater effort to establish informative and smooth conversation and this is where you can actually use your language skills.

Language learning communities

In the era of affluent opportunities for working or studying abroad, demand of ‘at-home’ language learning tools significantly increased. Again, this is due to the development of the Internet and the expansion of online tools.

Both professional and academic possibilities are available through the World Wide Web, in the form of freelance or remote job positions, virtual classrooms or certified online academies. Usually, one of the major requirements for accessing this space is good knowledge of English, which is why a growing number of people turn to improving their English language skills.

This is where online language programs jump in – It is now easier than ever to set up an account and start looking for language partners that are ready to help you learn their native language. Moreover, these programs usually contain individual lessons designed according to a commonly established classroom curriculum, which is why it is a good alternative to brick-and-mortar language classroom. Besides, here you can spend as much time as you want, seriously learning or casually chatting with your language partner of choice.

Just like on Facebook, here you can also participate in discussions and find out about the particular things you were worried about.

Benefits

Obviously, in terms of language learning, online classrooms have a single most important benefit over the traditional ones: native instructors. Though grammatical rules and basic vocabulary can be learnt from a non-native speaker very well, for natural speaking skills, presence of a native instructor is a most valuable thing. When it comes to English and many other languages, there is a deficit of native instructors working abroad, especially in Asian countries. Considering the position the English language currently has as a lingua franca in the global market, it is reasonable that the demand for quality education in English grew.

Unfortunately, not all language enthusiasts have the opportunity to get in touch with native speakers of other languages and travel to their countries. This is where the Internet supplements the real life and offers alternative ways of language learning, communication and, why not, traveling.

As real-life communication is largely different from what students see in books, the online space and real foreign people can actually do much for student’s language proficiency improvement. Constant availability of social and language networks, as well as their general efficiency, drive learners into their simple web interfaces where there’s always somebody waiting to meet a new friend. 

About the Author
Author: JenniferWebsite: http://saundz.com/
ESL teacher, copywriter and curriculum development assistant for English Pronunciation software - Saundz.

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