Today, social media plays a tremendous role in enhancing language learning. Social media seeks out attention. There are lots of different types of social media which includes social networking like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, etc., media sharing networks like Instagram, Snapchats, YouTube and writing reviews and online forum includes Quora, Reddit, Blogs and Vlogs.An average person over his life time spends more than five years on social media. Then, why can’t the same be use as language learning tool? And how? The answers to these questions are discussed in below
People always look for ways to connect and communicate with each other. The role of language and social interaction play an important in language learning. There are various social networking tools available that influences language learning.
According to a statistics, Facebook enjoys 1.32 billion daily active users. Facebook is the most widely used platform by the people of the world. Facebook creates an appropriate environment to connect people where language learning happens both directly and indirectly. When it comes to the point of necessity there starts the learning process. People when they have an urge to share their ideas, opinions or to discuss or to appreciate, they start communicating in the common language where the enhancing of the language takes place especially, in terms of writing. Facebook can be used as a reliable learning environment to enhance people’s participation in language learning process. It is a useful mean which plays a prominent role in learning language.
One of the social networking language learning tool that has been so influential among the language learning is WhatAapp. A language is best learnt when there are enough rooms for interaction. Though Whatsapp users can create groups, send each other text messages, images, video and audio clips. Knowning the popularity of WhatsApp, it is used by academics as teaching and learning tool. It has been acknowledged that “informal education plays key role for language learning”.(European Commission,2012,p.16)
LinkedIn is a social media platform or network for professionals. It helps to network and to build professional portfolio. It enables to connect with the people Linked in connections. This professional networking platform has become an invaluable social learning tool for professionals. This tool helps language learners to connect with professionals or experts to learn about a topic with a report or prepare a presentation. It helps a person to develop their language skills. It enhances formal language learning and writing.
Twitter has been identified as a potential language learning (formal and informal) tool. Twitter is a multi-platform Social Networking Site (SNS). It allows users to post short messages (tweet) made up of up to 280 characters. It also supports sharing photos and videos, hyperlinks to online resources and creating short polls. When the character limit is limited to 280 characters, the choice of words, expressions, idioms and grammar are taken into consideration. Introduction of Twitter to people really helped them to develop a sense of community and encourage participation through formal writing. Twitter involves the learners a more sophisticated use of the language as well as error correction. It can also be effectively handled while teaching pronunciation. For example,a set up of series of tweets for participation can be created. Non-native speakers of German language can be grouped. The tweets highlighted the errors that commonly occurs in pronunciations like misplaced lexical stress, silent letters etc. The correct pronunciations can be highlighted either with the text of the tweets or with links to audio and video resources. Users utilize #hashtags to the topics of their tweets more visible and searchable. Language teachers and learners engage in showing of the resources and experiences through #hashtags such as #languagelover, #languagelearning, #langchat etc.
Instagram is the popular picture-based social media that has over 800 million users. When an instagram users wants to develop his flair for a particular language, then the user should post and share his views only in the particular language which he/she wants to improve. The user should really be stern not to translate in his/her own language New friends can be hashtagged and form a language learning community.Their likes and comments on others posts can be done through the language that needs to be improved.
Snapchat has many features that can be used to enhance language learner’s writing, listening and speaking skills. These features include the ability to record videos, click photos, chats, access the posts of popular media sites in English and individual group stories. Snapchat is a great annotation tool. A user can mark up images and videos with stickers and can draw arrows or circle or underline key points and examples with the text tool, the user add labels or captions. The users are enabled to even take snaps of paragraphs from their reading and highlight vocabulary, quotes or main ideas. They can create stories where they can share about what they learned through their snaps or by annotating new stories.
There are channels in YouTube which enable video classes dedicated to help the learners. YouTube is the largest video portal and the second largest search engine. With YouTube a user can learn virtually any language he/she thinks of. There are popular language channels specially meant for language learners. These channels focus on learning grammar rules and vocabulary. They offer material for beginners through advanced learners. There are channels that help to improve speaking skill by speaking along with videos. It offers fun and fast access to instruction, culture-based videos and languages from all over the world.
Writing review, online forum
Quora is a well known social networking where queries and questions are asked and answered, edited and organised by the community of users known as Quorans. Quora uses the ‘followers Principle’ to encourage, motivate and highlight the best authors. The quality of an author’s content is determined by number of followers. It enables the quorans in writing answers to the questions asked which will help the readers to equip themselves with knowledge on a particular subject where they needed more knowledge understanding and clarification
Within the context of learning a language, using blogs has emerged as a language learning tool. It plays an important role in developing interaction among the learners. Blogging provides opportunities for communication in learning a language. Blogging focuses on reading and writing skills. One can write about their interests, ideas, wishes, humor and anything they think about. Blogging helps school children practice writing. Student interest to write more in blogs. The users can enjoy making their own diary in English. They could write a blog or make it public or make it readable to people they choose.
Vlogs are video blogs. It is a recording of one’s thoughts, opinions or experiences that are filmed and published on the interact. The popularity of Vlogs in YouTube community has risen drastically in the last few years. Vlogging is one of the strategies that in used to force the learners to tell their ideas in target language. Vlogs aim to improve learner’s speaking skills.
Social media and technology are the greatest combination for language learning process, because they provide an opportunity to improve learner’s ability to learn a language. A lot of social media can be effectively used to facilitate and enhance learners in learning a language.
- European Commission (2012) Commission staff working document-Language competencies for employability ,mobility and growth http://ec.europa.eu/education/news/rethinking/sw372_en.pdf