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Language Learning Through iEARN International Projects

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Bring the World into Your Classroom Learning a second language can be a challenge for many both for adults and younger students For quite a long time language classes were associated with grammar drilling and vocabulary memorizing. Now, language teaching professionals agree that students should practice speaking and listening in real life situations and read and write for authentic purposes But how can speaking and writing be really authentic if the teacher seems to be the only person around who uses the language? Fortunately, with Internet technology it is now possible to connect students in one country with their peers in another so they can communicate for real. Let's look at some sample projects offered through the International Education and Resource Network. Why Online Collaboration? First, it allows students to join a global community Teddy Bear In the Teddy Bear Project, kids from one class send a teddy bear or another soft toy to their partners in another country When the teddy bear arrives it starts sending back weekly notes about what it has seen and done. Japanese teacher from Seattle Hiromi Pingry in her second and third grade kids exchange teddy bears with their partners from Japan Before I never thought of sending homework writing something in Japanese as homework. But they don't mind to do it at all because they know somebody is reading it and they are responding to them I was so impressed with the second-graders don't mind anything to work hard it takes a long time And they're happy to do it. Second, Online collaboration is motivating In the Side by Side Project students draw their elongated self portraits and possibly include symbols of their past, present and future The portraits can then be displayed in the school gallery or e-mailed to the partner class with short descriptions from the young painters. Boku wa momo ga dai suki desu (I like peaches very much). Third, Online collaboration has a positive impact on students' achievements Brent Copen of Columbia University surveyed 72 teachers who involved their students in at least one iEARN project. He questioned them about the impact of online collaboration on students' attitudes and achievements through the iEARN network He found that 88% said that their students showed improvement in their academic skills and performance either somewhat or very much. 98% said students' improved their knowledge about other cultures, countries or languages. According to Brent Copen's report teachers and students consistently described iEARN as a meaningful learning community. One teacher from Russia said iEARN is not so much about technology as it is about building an online family. What is iEARN? And it is quite a big family! The International Education and Resource Nework supports over 20,000 teachers and more than 2 million students in 115 countries who collaborate through the Internet on projects designed to make a difference in the world. Students and teachers can communicate through the iEARN forums that provide a safe password protected environment. iEARN resources are available in about 30 languages This means the projects are possible in any language from which partner classes are found. To guide you through the process of project implementation iEARN offers a number of online professional development courses that include, of course, the teaching of foreign and second languages During the 9-week course you will learn how to use modern information and communications technologies in language teaching and review some projects that involve students from all over the world. With the iEARN network you can really open up the whole world to your students. Instead of teaching about other cultures you will teach with other cultures. And you can be sure your students will like it. Join us now - iEARN!

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 28 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: iEARN-USA
Views: 197
Posted by: egragert on Feb 25, 2010

Teachers and students around the world are using online collaborative project work as part of courses to learn languages. Students interact with native speakers about local and global issues, writing with authentic peer audiences. Teachers report heightened interest in learning a new language as a result of and to prepare for this interaction.

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