I challenge you the following topic. What do role do you think new online social media and instant messaging plays in learning a foreign language?
I must say that I was sceptic about their impact until becoming a member of http://www.fluentfuture.com/home, making friends there and chating with them for a while. After spending about 1-2 hrs per day chating with native Arabian speaker for about 2 months I discovered it was more than just fun and that I was starting to put together conversations.
Do you think that new media is the future of foreign language learning or just a complementary tool? It would help a lot to find out your opinions as I am preparing a Phd. thesis on this.
I have always been a fan of total immersion. When I taught English as a foreign language in South Korea, one of the things I required was that the students watch the evening news and/or movies in English (we had a military base which broadcasted in English) and to block the subtitles from view. The more music, movies, news, radio, conversation you have in the language you are trying to learn, the more fluent you become.
Online learning is no different. It is exciting to observe the leaps and bounds being made in technology!
I never really thought about this topic until I opened a Facebook account. As a former high school principal, I receive many friend requests from students I have worked with, a few of whom are foreign students who completed exchange years at my schools. I have noticed on their FB pages that they converse both in English and in their native languages. I think that social networking could be a terrific tool for engaging young American speakers of English in conversation in the target foreign language.
Social networking can be helpful to people of all languages as long as they know what they are doing. One of my friends moved from Taiwan and was a foreign exchange student in 10th grade. He fit in and had a facebook account and it was cool because we were able to stay connected and after he left we still know what he is doing since he writes in english and his native language
Social media does really help expose a foreign language to many people. For me, it made me notice how many people really speak the language and how interesting it was to see them communicate with other native speakers. Obviously, seeing the language will only partially help you learn it, but you can use it as an example of how to write it or say it.
Any exposure to the language is helpful, however it must be comprehensible. The best way to learn another language is by receiving repetitve comprehensible input. If you don't understand what you read or hear it will not be committed to memory. After receiving enough input through listening and reading you will be able to produce output (writing and speaking).