Friday, March 6, 2009

Virtual Language Learning.

So I came across this article this morning, describing the need for a higher level of support for immigrants and ELLs, and wondered how technology could aid this process.

I had a friend, back in college, who came over from China.  When he got here, he didn't speak any English at all.  He learned, quickly, from TV, video games, and his friends here.  (Which made for a really interesting lexicon, I might add.)  Another friend of mine, from Puerto Rico, credited much of his success in learning English to TV.  

It seems technology already plays a large role in this process, but what could our newer, advanced technologies do?  

I began to wonder about virtual worlds - if language could be learned through this.  I took over six years of French.  My proficiency in the language is limited to somewhere around "Where is the library?" and "J'ai oubliĆ© (I have forgotten)."  Learning a language in a classroom, for less than an hour a day or even less, is a terrible way to learn a language.  Immersion in the language, the culture, seems the obvious way to learn a second language.  We can't do that in the real world, but what about in the virtual one?

I found some sites on the idea.

Most of them differed slightly from what I had imagined, until I found this - a program that's been used in the military.

So, it's out there.  Can we get it into the mainstream?  Is it already there and I'm missing something?  Let me know.

1 comment:

  1. This is the kind of project that needs an innovative computer program, and the funding to make it happen.