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Language Symposium 2012: Social Media for Language Learning Outside the Classroom

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Presentation by Laurel Schenkoske and Yingfei Chen from University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, at the Language Symposium 2012, hosted at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

Within the scope of the language classroom, learners cannot truly approach real-life application of their skills. So how can we keep our students motivated to practice outside the classroom? As we know, students send text messages, Facebook updates, and Tweets throughout the day. Why not give them the tools to do this in their new language? While social networking sites seem to be taking over our students lives, we as foreign language teachers can use that to our advantage! We will present the case studies of two different forms of social media at play in our own foreign language department: the Chinese programs Facebook , and the German programs Ning. We examine the similarities, differences, and benefits of both for use in L2 learning, and share some statistics that map their respective uses. We also examine whether task-based assignments achieve the best results on both platforms. Both sites allow for discussion postings, blogs, videos, and polls in which students can practice all four language skills, with a special emphasis on the interpersonal mode of communication. When social media is tied to language learning, it encourages students to play with new vocabulary and structures and helps to foster a community atmosphere. Both Facebook and Ning are well suited to accompany any foreign language classroom. Come see how we use each of them in our own foreign language classrooms, and get ideas to implement them in yours!

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Language Symposium 2012: Social Media for Language Learning Outside the Classroom

  1. 1. 1
  2. 2. 2some things to consider •Ease of Use •Cost •Security
  3. 3. 3When did we start?• Fall 2011 Semester
  4. 4. 4Who are our Members?• instructors• students in our programs• former students• study abroad students• members of the community
  5. 5. 5Facebook Presented by Yingfei Chen UW-Milwaukee’s Chinese Program http://www.facebook.com/groups/166255906783640/
  6. 6. 6Facebook:some Facts & Stats Presented by Yingfei Chen UW-Milwaukee’s Chinese Program
  7. 7. 7 Questions:Teacher-dominated or Student-dominated group?What are the topics?What do students “like”?What kind of language(s) do students use?
  8. 8. 8Student-dominated group• Total Post: 247 - current student: 116 - instructors: 90 (among which 51 posts are Chinese Program announcement)
  9. 9. 9Topics of the Posts• Language - Language Learning • Culture - Question and Answer - Music sharing - Others - Video sharing - Picture sharing• Chinese Program - Travel experience sharing - Announcement - Question and answer - Chinese Club Activities - Other resources - Photos sharing - Question and answer
  10. 10. 10Language Learning
  11. 11. 11Topics of the Posts• Language - Language Learning • Culture - Question and Answer - Music sharing - Others - Video sharing - Picture sharing• Chinese Program - Travel experience sharing - Announcement - Question and answer - Chinese Club Activities - Other resources - Photos sharing - Question and answer
  12. 12. 12Announcement
  13. 13. 13Topics of the Posts• Language - Language Learning • Culture - Question and Answer - Music sharing - Others - Video sharing - Picture sharing• Chinese Program - Travel experience sharing - Announcement - Question and answer - Chinese Club Activities - Other resources - Photos sharing - Question and answer
  14. 14. 14Culture
  15. 15. 15What do students “Like”?Total „Like‟ : 520Language: 109Chinese program: 171Culture: 240 Language Chinese Program Culture
  16. 16. 16Language Use in Different Topics
  17. 17. 17
  18. 18. 18 Over what time are students most active: No. of Time Percentage posts T1: before 10:00 AM 45 18.22% TOTAL POST: 247 T2: 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM 36 14.57% T3: 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM 37 14.98% T4: 4:00PM - 8:00 PM 57 23.08% T5: 8:00 PM - 12:00 AM 72 29.15%T5: 8:00PM – 12:00 AM Before 10:00 8:00-12:00 AM 10:00-1:00 PM 4:00-8:00 PM 1:00-4:00 PM
  19. 19. 19What we suggest for Instructors•Post culture- related topics•Effectively use target language in posts(for announcements, add English translation)•Start posts during students’ most active time period
  20. 20. 20ConclusionFB is a great platform for students to learn languageoutside the classroom•Engaging students to learn during their free time with fun•Motivating culture and language learning
  21. 21. 21Ning Presented by Laurel Schenkoske UW-Milwaukee’s German Program http://uwmgerman.ning.com/
  22. 22. 22Ning:some Facts & Stats Presented by Laurel Schenkoske UW-Milwaukee’s German Program http://uwmgerman.ning.com/
  23. 23. 23Research QuestionDoes making use of the Ning site obligatoryfor class grades increase voluntary use?
  24. 24. 24Comparison of 2 groups• Class Ningers (graded class discussions) • 102 & 204• Class non-Ningers (never obligated to visit other than for initial sign-up) • 101 & 203
  25. 25. 25Comparison of 2 groups How often did the two groups voluntarily visit the site? never 1-2 times 3-10 times Class Ningers 21% 51% 28% Class non- 69% 25% 6% Ningers
  26. 26. 26Comparison of 2 groups
  27. 27. 27Comparison of 2 groups Correlation: Those who had to go to Ning for class assignments also voluntarily visited the site more frequently.
  28. 28. 28General Benefits ofDiscussion Forum•Students respond to questions and issues outsideof the classroom.•They react to their classmates’ posts.•Shy, passive students can easily engage.•There is time to consult resources, and reflect onvocabulary and syntax.
  29. 29. 29Benefit’s of Ning Discussionsover D2L Ning D2L• Resembles Social • Looks “schooly” Networking sites • Each section is limited to• Allows students to discuss its own page across sections • you only see other• Visibility of threads: threads if you open them. displayed all on one page
  30. 30. 30General ConclusionsWe found that:1.Posting some assignments may be a good wayto get students involved, as it seemed to motivatethem to use the site in their free time (as shown byNing).2.This additional use of Social Media, in turn,motivates them to use their L2 more creatively (asshown by Facebook).3.Involvement is necessary from the instructors forthis to be successful across sections and classes.
  31. 31. 31Xiexie and Danke! Any questions? Laurel Schenkoske radomsk6@uwm.edu Yingfei Chen yingfei@uwm.edu

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