Approaches to Learning Foreign Languages through Web 2.0 Technology
The educational sector has in the recent years experienced a tremendous increase in the use of new media, video games as part of web 2. 0 technology for the purpose of instruction in a bid to expand and enhance learning. In language pedagogy, the use of web 2. 0 technology has yielded a platform for instructional design. A number of studies have shown that numerous opportunities in the system of education are afforded by interactive media and internet. These forms of web application in learning of a foreign language involve the use of Google earth, social networking as well as the functionality of DVD.
This paper seeks to explore the theoretical paradigms that involve the learning of foreign language through the use of web 2. 0 technology. Introduction Learning foreign language requires a pedagogical approach that uses a concise instructional design encompassing theoretical paradigms such as enculturation, inter-language as well as natural learning models. The twenty first century has devised applications that are web oriented to facilitate the approaches of learning a foreign language.
Many scholars argue that in the age of web 2. 0 technology, learning takes a technological approach where instructors and learners are required to poses technological skills and extensively demonstrate an understanding of employing web 2. 0 tools to efficiently support the pedagogical aspect of learning a foreign as well as a second language (Voss, 2005). Coupled with an elaborate teaching experience, foreign language acquisition builds on the use of technologies in the instructional design.
As such, the interplay between learning and teaching foreign language as well as technology plays an instrumental role. A comparative analysis of language learning between the traditional and digital pedagogical approaches shows that digital approaches can easily help in the realization of a communicative process that is enhanced by the exposure of the student to the foreign language and instructive materials by use of web applications. Largely, internet provides a valuable milestone that facilitates the delivery of appropriate content and communication capabilities.
In this case, technological applications such as video conferencing and other platforms of social networking such as blog sites offers a concise way of bringing the target language and its cultural undertones to the students learning the foreign language. The Use of Web 2. 0 in Learning Foreign Language Research has shown that the pedagogical approach to integrate technology in teaching a foreign language stems from the theoretical framework of combining interlingual skills as well as the foundation of sound pedagogy (O’Relly, 2006).
Wales (2005) further outlines the historical basis of educational technology such that over the years, technology has proven to be an influential tool in the teaching of foreign language. Accordingly, establishing a concise instructional strategies fall within the precincts of incorporating technology which largely leads to the realization of desired learning outcomes. With regard to this, it is plausible to argue that web 2. 0 is an efficient instructional model to learn a foreign language since many applications associated to it are powerful communication as well as socialization tools.
However, some anti technology educators have dismissed the efficiency of web 2. 0 technology in classroom on the basis that some electronic gadgets and web applications reduces the relevance of the teacher in classroom but the outcomes of such technologies have proved them wrong (Lane, 2006). Web 2. 0 has incredible educational potential in learning foreign language as well as the required instruction.
In addition, there is an important relationship between the instructors and the web 2. 0 technology. Barzilai (2003) argues that in some cases, students learning the foreign language have failed to achieve both socialization and communicative benefits of the target language simply because of the widespread belief that these technological tools are not deeply educational. However, Thomas (2009) cites the example of an iPod to show that social and cultural aspects of the target language are learnt even in the use of web applications.
As such, an iPod may have an instructional potential but if the instructor do not take part, the whole approach may not realize the intended purpose of foreign language learning. In essence, instruction must come into arrange the content as well as the structure of the learning events and activities in the iPod learning can take place. Kwam and Chan (2008) articulate that to realize the instructional capability of web 2. 0 technologies, educators and curriculum designers must construct instructional material that can facilitate the technological tool to deliver adequate instruction and practice to the student.
In same vein, it is important that teachers and instructors understand the components of the foreign language and structure a learning process that build the in the web application in a bid to intuitively design web 2. 0 as a tool for teaching foreign language (Klamma et al, 2009). Similarly, the educational sector must structure adequate training for instructor in order to help them prepare the learners in the whole processes of language learning through web 2. 0.
Gwen and Schrum (2007) postulate that the base of language proficiency is inherent in practice and skills. Enhancing teaching as well as learning depends on what is inarguably referred to as technological literacy which will allow both teachers and students to engage in a responsive approach towards technology in the daily practice of language skills. As a result, the instruction of foreign language in the integration of technology facilitates a curriculum that paves way for an all-the-time use of technology in teaching and learning.
An Educational and language program in the transformation of foreign language acquisition thus reflects an appropriate pedagogical base (Lee and Frank, 2009). The role of technology in learning a foreign language transcends web applications such as blogs to demonstrate the structural features of the foreign language such as characters, alphabetical features and any other structural element. In light of this, Merchant and Davies (2009) assert that the current educational use paces technology at the epicenter of practice of the foreign language.
These involves learners coming in contact with the target language through web applications, evaluate their instructional potential and share their experiences with other users; a factor that may not only motivate the students but also help them keep in touch with the learning processes at any time, and anywhere. However, Damiani et al (2009) point out the challenge with this technological approach. Accordingly, many applications within the realms of pedagogy are not designed for instructions hence most of them do not have instructional manuals.
The meaning behind this is that any instructor using these technologies in classroom must have the ability to transmit their intended purpose and at the same time think through ay possible consequences of such move (Yang, 2008). Importance of Web 2. 0 in Learning Foreign Language Web 2. 0 presents language exchange sites that can be utilized by learners in their target language. According to Kumar (2008), such sites are useful since they offers basic vocabulary and basic phrase.
For instance, YouTube can be used by students and learners to elaborate on the lexical, phonological, syntactical as well as morphological features of the foreign language through audio as well as visual dimensions. As a result, learners benefit from gaining abilities of creating relationship with other learners as well as use the new acquired linguistic skills in the foreign language with native speakers of the language on language exchange sites. On this note, Ortega (2008), argue that web 2. 0 in their applications give learners a wide range of functionality through social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.
Accordingly, chatting facilities, featured in these sites, enhances the ability of the learners to gain competence through such sites and in the end attaining access to any useful information as regard the foreign language skills. Significantly, web 2. 0 provides tools to build vocabulary in the target language. Anderson (2008) argues that with thousands of language tutorial software available online, students feel comfortable reading, writing and speaking in the target language at their own convenience.
For example, students can download online CD and listen to the phonological features of the foreign language hence making them enjoy any further assignments that may be given by their teachers such as writing about themselves, their friends, their summer as well as any other personal information in the foreign language. Research continues to show that with the availability of web 2. 0 applications and social networking sites, students spontaneously demonstrate the four skills of language in a lengthy and creative way (Barbara, 2009). In a such platform, learning foreign language through a web 2.
0 evolves a rich pedagogical approach with learners interacting with a rich, multi-participant activity in popular social networking sites. The teacher agency in the learning of foreign language though web 2. 0 technology needs a curriculum designed in a facet that develops language curriculum that is flexible to allow a meaningful teacher student agency. Horner et al (2009) assert that the artificial dichotomy between language practice and theory can help teachers to embrace web 2. 0 in their instructional activities and thus follow the principles of web 2.
0 applications in the pedagogical approach. To succeed in the effective foreign language teaching and learning, Retta (2009) suggests that teachers should encourage students to utilize both classroom activities and out of classroom efforts to positively impact on their learning experiences. This comes with the view that classroom-oriented instructional design confines students and allowing them to make use of other approaches . As students may test their own skills through online test that give feedbacks immediately and hence help them in their own evaluation.
In other words, barber and Zhang (2000) point out that web 2. 0 enhances the learning of foreign language since it presents a scenario where teachers use multiple theories of learning which help in addressing the emerging challenges of teaching language in everyday life. Accordingly, Web 2. 0 provides an intuitive ability as well as experimental knowledge for students to decide what is working for them and what is not working for them. This significant variance in the teaching approaches postulates what teachers must do within the precincts of we 2. 0 technology.
Conclusion From the foregoing discussion, it is evident that education has evolved over the years from the traditional methods to embracing technology in the pedagogical approaches. Web 2. 0 technology and application has enabled students not only to develop interest in learning but also made learning a well facilitated process. Teachers therefore have largely used scaffolding to help students to effectively see and complete their assignments in the foreign language at any time and anywhere. In the present educational society, teaching foreign language through web 2.
0 has utilized target language culture building upon the experiences of rich media to cultivate teaching and learning practices. Curriculum designers should therefore build on the modular foundation on which media and web 2. 0 applications are developed to develop an ideal pedestal for constructing rich curricular materials that are consistent with the acquisition of foreign language theories. In essence, web 2. 0 enhances the teaching and learning of foreign languages by its ability to allow educators to implement principles that address the challenges of communicative and social based practices of teaching.
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