Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Guest post

4 Free Online Learning Tools for Language Teachers and Learners
While the Web 2.0 has completely revolutionized the way that we teach and learn, nowhere is this more true than in the realm of language learning. Before, learning foreign languages was confined to rote memorization and conversation in class among learners and teachers. Now, the powerful interactivity that the Internet enables empowers students of foreign languages to connect with native speakers, in the process becoming acquainted with accurate pronunciation of the language in question. What’s more, online language learning tools motivates students who are often frustrated by the fact that they aren’t getting any substantive practice. Here are a few sites online that will be sure to make language learning fun, and can serve to supplement any curriculum.

1. Live Mocha
Live Mocha is very much like Facebook in that it’s a complete social networking site with added language learning modules. Live Mocha functions on a collaborative level. That is to say, when a student completes writing and speaking exercises, a native speaker of that language will make corrections, suggesting ways to improve. In exchange, you are expected to serve as a teacher yourself, correcting others who want to learn your native language. The more you participate in these exchanges, the more points you get, enabling you to unlock additional free language modules and tutorials. It’s a great way to make friends around the world, too!

2. Skype

Skype is one of the best ways to brush up on your conversation skills with native speakers. Using both instant messaging or full video chat, you can interact with native speakers of your target language who are eager to learn your language, too. Very much like Live Mocha, social is the name of the game. The best thing about Skype is that you probably already have the tool downloaded. To see how you can use Skype to learn languages, check out this resource.

3. Babbel

Babbel is a wonderful site for language learners, utilizing more traditional methods with some chat features. The trial period for Babbel is free, as are some additional features, but for full access, a minimal fee is required. Still, it may be worth it considering how many structured lessons, designed to track your progress and push your limits, are offered. Babbel also has voice recognition software that works to improve pronunciation. Another feature unique to Babbel is that it has iPhone and iPod touch applications as well.

4. Digital Dialects
Digital Dialects is one of my personal favorite online language learning tools, because the whole website is just games. For those students who are kinetic learners, this may be the best option, as it combines doing with learning. Younger language learners will be delighted by this site in particular. It also offers a very wide variety of language from Spanish to Russian to Swahili and more.

This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: katherynrivas87@gmail.com.

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