My students and I have truly experimented with every interaction medium we have come across!
From the already extinct googlewave to our learning platform chat, todaysmeet and more.
Nowadays, social interaction has acquired nuances that did not exist previously. Now, besides allowing the exchange of ideas vis-à-vis, social networks and forums represent a different alternative for the activity conventionally known as interaction. For this reason, taking into account the amount of time students spend in such spaces, it would be a waste not to use them as a means for learning.
Being in touch with other individuals through a determined link represents an endless source of information when thinking of it as a way to practice a foreign language. This statement is pronounced due to the fact that through this kind of interaction, not only does one get to know what other people know and think, but also one can notice how life/learning experiences are built. While interacting, reading and writing one brings about abilities involved in the development of one’s language skills. Likewise, the spontaneity factor also contributes to the personalization of information, to the creation of a linguistic channel whereby ideas will navigate comfortable and without prejudice. Thus, the focus in this project does not consider social networks and learning platforms as simple TICs, but also as a source of communication that enhance the learning process.
When contemplating the advantages of a learning platform in order to use them as a pedagogical tool, it is possible to conceive goals in areas such as class work and evaluation. For example, one can aspire to implement a diverse array of tasks to enhance acquisition and development of reading/writing competencies, while also observing, registering and quantifying the progress being made at each stage, and in different criteria. Similarly, if keen observation is conducted, one can establish patterns where interaction, collaboration, and cooperation play key roles in the learning process.
The vast possibility to stay connected and to create links with others via social networks, nowadays, has become a powerful medium to exchange information; to provide guidance and make suggestions; to criticize and express points of view; and to access the social knowledge embodied in others’ interests. In other words, such spaces have generated different means and practices for the usage of language.
Most methods and approaches to teaching foreign languages regard collaboration and interaction as key elements for the acquisition, internalization and execution of the target language. The interaction derived from questions and their responses, from the cooperation that takes place when solving a problem, among others, will always contribute to the enhancement of learning. Thus, considering the high degree of interaction and collaboration that occurs in a learning platform or social network, these most definitely act as an extra resource for all modern methodologies.