Say farewell to the classroom!
Learning a language has become easier than ever. People worldwide are starting to learn different languages online, but why is this method so popular? What makes it easier than any other? The answer to all these questions is summarized in just one word: resources.
Many language students consider learning a language online as the perfect choice for them. According to the United States Census Bureau, 71.7% of the whole population in the US had access to the Internet at home in 2011. This fact gives us an idea of how important the use of the internet is at home nowadays, and how students can take advantage of it for learning a language.
As a language teacher, I decided to poll (ask the opinion of several people) my Spanish students about what makes online learning better than learning in the classroom and I found five different reasons. You, too, can improve your Spanish by:
1. Watching Videos
YouTube is the most popular website for finding good teaching videos. Students usually log into YouTube to search for clear and thorough tutorials that help them to develop their listening, pronunciation, reading, grammar and vocabulary skills. Spanish students also look for some popular TV series spoken and subtitled in Spanish so they can relate to a word and its correct pronunciation.
2. Take an Online Spanish Class
There are many websites (for example, italki.com) that offer students one-on-one professional online lessons. These kinds of websites give students the chance to choose a teacher they like and then schedule a session with that teacher at a convenient day and time without having to go anywhere but home. Students can also download any document or worksheet teachers would like them to work on. Then they can keep a copy of it so they can take a look at it as many times as they´d like. Another advantage of these websites is that students can schedule sessions with numerous teachers until finding the one who meets their course expectations and who makes them feel comfortable learning.
3. Look for Materials Online
Another common reason why students prefer to learn Spanish online is because they can access many free materials on the Web. Students often use online dictionaries that translate words either from Spanish to their native language or vice versa immediately. Another material that Spanish students commonly look for on the Web is worksheets. Some students tend to look for worksheets that help them to understand and clarify a topic they've been focusing on in their Spanish course. The third-most popular resource students search for on the web is books. There are plenty of Spanish books (either academic or literary) that students can find and download faster than they can find them at the library.
4. Make Friends Online
I asked my students if social networks contribute to their online learning. Their answer was “yes.” They didn’t hesitate to tell me that social networks like Facebook and Twitter help them to keep in touch with native Spanish speakers who wanted to do a language exchange via Skype. Students also told me this was a good way for them to learn about Spanish culture, and to meet friends to practice their Spanish with.
5. Download Spanish Software and Apps
Using Spanish software or apps was not that common some years ago. Nowadays students can download a program and use it to study and take a look at different topics according to their Spanish level. Even better is downloading an app for their phones and having a Spanish lesson just by running that app whenever they want.
The variety of opportunities that students have to learn a new language has grown. For that reason it’s very important to motivate students to look for the option that works better for them. For most, they can do that by just going online. In conclusion, there are plenty of ways to develop and learn a language online; students just have to turn on their computers.
Edited by: Ilene Springer