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Smart devices as smart learning tools

In the first post about learning via social media we talked about Facebook, Whatsapp, group study and language exchanges. I hope that since then you have experimented and tried out some of my suggestions!

This post is by Shubham Raut, a keen language learner and internet-resources explorer.

If you thought we have already finished or that you knew everything about online learning, you’re in for a surprise! The time now has come to reveal the other 6 tricks of how to use social media to power up your study.

Let’s pick up the list where we left so…

5. Material Exchange

One of the biggest advantages of having so many people who are learning languages within reach is that you have access to a treasure of resources that so many have found useful. You can discover a really good site a friend on Whatsapp recommended, you can benefit from various notes others make and share, or get your hands on rare books and presentations posted in the groups.

6. Voice messages

The importance of audio in language learning cannot be emphasized enough. Audio learning is said to be one of the “hacks” to learn faster.

Whatsapp has the inbuilt feature of voice messaging. We can put this to good use by making “audio only” groups. No typing, only speaking.

Audio based social networks such as Hubbub can also be used to the same effect.

Listening to native speakers teaches you the real pronunciation of words and entire sentences. You get the hang of speaking the language. You have the advantage of thinking, framing a sentence well and then speaking it in one go without the pressure and speed of an immediate conversation.

7. Video calls

The next step to voice messages is calls. Free internet calls can not only connect you with your relatives and friends around the world, but can also help contact interesting people from whom you can learn. After I had the first conversation with my language exchange partner on Whatsapp, I felt highly motivated to learn more sentences before our next communication.

Video calling does much more. When you see a person speaking, you can see their facial movements, gestures and expressions. It is the next best thing to really meeting with a person.

This is how languages are supposed to be used. Face to face, being as expressive as you can to get your ideas out.

8. YouTube

Ok, we have been studying really hard and we need a break. Maybe some cute video or a song on YouTube? While this might help you unwind, there something you can do to turn it into a language learning experience.

There is plenty of channels on YouTube that are dedicated to language learning in a fun way. You just need to search.

A good starting point can be children’s videos in your target language, or songs with English subtitles.

9. Instagram

This is quite an unusual, but undeniably fun way to learn a language. How do we use Instagram for language learning? Your first thoughts will surely be to follow language users on Instagram and connect with other learners. Good! You are getting the hang of this. While this is definitely what you must do, let’s get more creative.

A blogger named Lindsay (“Lindsay Does Languages”) started an Instagram initiative called the “Instagram Language Challenge” with the tag #iglc. Every month, she posts a prompt—a list of 28 words you need to use in sentences. You are then asked to either post the sentence in a picture format or post a video of yourself saying it, one each day! By the end of the month, you will be able to say 28 complete sentences, and would have definitely grown your vocabulary.

10. Snapchat

This medium is undoubtedly fun to use for learning a language. Think you and your language partner are up for it?

Here is the task: A daily picture of you as a part of a scene or with an object and a caption in your target language. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can even do one video a day.

Your language partner will provide you with feedback on your pronunciation and sentences right away. And you can have a few laughs on your funny poses!

So… what do you think?

These ways to learn can truly be more interesting than the regular book study or classes. Remember you don’t have to stick to the ideas described above! With a bit of creativity of your own, you can have even more fun. Weekly competitions on Facebook? Rapping in your target language and posting on YouTube? Testing your skills on Quizup? A twitter #iglc? Writing stories together on Whatsapp? There is no limit to your imagination!

I must add here that it is very hard to “teach” a language on any of these platforms. So if you join in any of these social groups but don’t do any learning yourself, you will make much less progress.

All these mediums make YOUR language learning process fun, but you’ll still have to put some work into it! New words won’t magically start appearing in your mind the next time you Skype with Carla!

Why these methods work I think is because in every person there is an inner desire to help others. We all have good in us and it gives us pleasure when we are able to help others in whichever way we can. Wikipedia for example, was founded on this very principle. No one got any reward for typing out pages of information… You will be surprised by how much you get just by connecting with people and asking for help. You will learn how friendly the world really is.

Let’s learn languages how humans are meant to: Socially.

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