5 Social Media Tools for Learning Language

In college and high school, I used flash cards, vocabulary lists, and even audio programs on tapes to learn new languages (Spanish in high school, German in college). Each of those tools is helpfflagsul in some capacity, but in the end, the quickest way to learn a language will always be through real conversations in that language. Some new social media websites will allow you to do just that.

Check out these 5 social media tools for learning language:

1. eduFire.com – This web app allows language learners to connect with language teachers for one on one tutoring sessions by webcam. The platform is simple to use, and content on the web page is great. Payment is arranged through PayPal, and each tutor sets an hourly rate based upon their experience. They also have flashcards and videos of lessons in multiple languages.

The video chatting system setup has two spots for streaming video (one for the tutor and one for the student) and a chat room right beside the two video screens. This format is really the best of both worlds. On the one hand it is casual because it is a normal video chat, but the tutor also has the ability to post links and write out full sentences (which helps with grammar) in the chat window.

2. StudiVZ.net and other International Social Networks – After the successful growth of Facebook in the US, entrepreneurs in countries all over the world are creating social networks for college students using Facebook as a model. These entrepreneurs take the best parts of Facebook, then make changes to allow the program to fit in better with local culture. StudiVZ looks and feels very similar to Facebook, but is all in German. The company also has sites in French, Italian, Polish, and Spanish.

Language learners can use social networks like StudiVZ.net, Vostu.com (Spanish), vkontakte.ru (Russian) to meet people in foreign countries (and in their native country) who speak the primary language of the site. Join groups, make friends, and start conversations – even poke (gruschle in German, ha ) in the language you are studying.

3. Lingro – Lingro bills itself as “the coolest dictionary known to hombre!” – I definitely agree. Lingro is an interactive dictionary for use with websites. Enter the URL of a website, enter the language and direction of translation, and click the arrow. Now the page loads, but each word on the page is click-able and attached to a dictionary.

For instance, I entered welt.de (a German news site) and German > English. Then, while reading an article on the German soccer team, I came across a word that I was not familiar with. I clicked on the word, and instantly a small window pops up with the English translations of the word. Also, if the word is in a link, a small window pops up above the word asking if I’d like to follow the link. This interaction is great, but what’s even cooler, is that Lingro will track the words and sentences you look up on other web pages. If you register, you can save this data and create a kind of automatically generated vocabulary list—awesome!

4. Chinesepo – Chinesepo.com bills itself as “not your parents’ language instruction. This is learning on your terms.” Very cool. They center their service around four main activities: Listen, Review, Practice, and Reinforce. A user can listen to ChinesePod lessons on the site, or download them as mp3s to listen on the go. Review activities are centered around a PDF file for each lesson, with vocabulary, conversations, and exercises. Practice activities are live chat sessions with real tutors. Finally, a series of flashcards and vocabulary games are available for reinforcement of learned material.

5. Livemocha – Livemocha offers services similar to eduFire, but with a few more added features. Livemocha offers self-study lessons, professional tutors for one-on-one sessions, and community and chat tools for meeting friends and conversing live. Additionally, the Livemocha system has motivational and goal setting tools, allowing users to compete against each other.

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