Did you know that today’s new technology can help you learn a language? Of course it can! Social media provides all sorts of new outlets for communication, and that includes foreign languages and even international communication. The more you communicate with other people in a language, the more you’ll learn that language.
That used to mean you had to go out and meet people [and some of us are shy], but that’s no longer true. Today you can access people and what they say by taking advantage of the social media that many of us are already using.
Many of the English teaching websites we reviewed offer various opportunities to employ social media technology to assist you in learning English. Here are some of the ways:
RSS stands for really simple syndication and it really is simple. RSS feeds enable you to be notified of any updates to the lessons, materials, or other content. Many websites also publish newsletters and this would let you know of these additions right away.
For those of you who are learning with EnglishPod, lessons can be bookmarked and then brought in through a RSS feed.
On English4today and LiveMocha, you can keep up with the forums by subscribing to their RSS feeds. That means that you won’t have to constantly check back to see what your friends have said. You can be notified each time they make a comment.
Several language learning programs feature .mp3 audio files that you can transfer from iTunes to your iPod (or any number of other mp3 players). This enables you to be learning any time you've got your iPod turned on.
On EnglishPod, to bring podcasts to the iPod, they need to be brought down to iTunes first. And, to get them on iTunes, they must go through RSS. Then all you have to do is to copy the feed and then bring them into iTunes by clicking Subscribe to Podcast. Once you've gotten the files into iTunes, plug in your iPod to your computer and then click the Sync button and the podcasts (.mp3) files will be on your iPod.
English, baby! also has specially-prepared podcasts you can download to your iPod.
For those of you who access the Internet through your phone, there are sections of some websites that are designed specifically for mobile phones.
On EnglishPod, you can access these three areas of the website with your mobile phone:
- Dialogue Vocabulary and Expansion section
- Conversations Section
- Personal vocabulary list and Flashcards
Widgets are small sections of websites that hold certain kinds of information. Some websites offer them for you to add to your personal website.
English, baby! has a flashcard widgets you can download for you and your friends to use.
If you’re a Facebook user, you might be able to bring in your friends from Facebook into Livemocha. Livemocha features the capability of 'friending' within Livemocha and bringing your friends from Facebook into Livemocha. You can also write on your wall via Livemocha.
Learning English online doesn't have to be boring. With new technology and social media, learning any language can be more flexible, social, and fun! Get started learning English now!
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