A case study has been carried out in 3 new EU countries (Latvia, Poland and Romania) as part of the activities of the European network “Language learning and social media: 6 key dialogues”.
To help gain a better understanding of the potential of the social web for language pedagogy, the working group carried out a multi-level action including i) a cross-country field study, ii) a live streamed debate (now recorded for consultation), iii) a forum discussion, iv) training sessions for teachers and v) synthesis of results.
Firstly, a study entitled “Social media and language learning: beliefs, attitudes and uses in Latvia, Poland and Romania” was published online in five languages . It was developed on the basis of interviews conducted with people with varying degrees of computer use and familiarity with social media.
Secondly, a webinar (live streamed debate) was held in Riga in February 2011. It served as a platform for exchange around the evolution of practices in teaching and learning with social media.
Thirdly, a forum discussion, involving the expert speakers at the webinar, was an opportunity to expand the exchange between the public and to involve stakeholders who were unable to join the webinar. The originality of the forum discussion was its multilingual dimension: contributions were rich in English but also in Latvian, Polish and Romanian, enabling culturally-rooted discussions. It attracted more than 260 posts around 13 topics of discussion.
Fourthly, results were drawn up in the form of key points and recommendations, based on findings gathered through the study, the webinar and the forum discussion.
Training resources for teachers in English, Latvian, Polish and Romanian are available online, to support the training sessions that were organized in the three countries for language teachers with little or no ICT skills. The materials in the form of freely downloadable Pdf files cover topics such as the integration of digital resources and cloud technologies, the creation of digital presentations and online polls, and the use of digital interaction, mind mapping and social bookmarking tools.