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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Personalized Learning

About 10 years ago, I set up the first Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) in female public schools in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  Within one year, the plan was implemented on a small scale (one school).  While it was a lot of hard work for one person, looking back at it, it was the right project at the right time.  Unfortunately, due to the lack of support from the school administrators at the time, it did not reach the level I had anticipated.  Nowadays, technology and education have evolved.  Learning where education is headed gives me butterflies in my stomach from the excitement!

In Craig Howard's article Web 2.0 sites for collaborative self-access: The learning advisor vs. Google® in the Studies in Self-Access Learning (SiSAL) Journal, Howard discusses collaborative self-access language learning.  While he mentions that it is not quite new, he lists the different names it has appeared under: internet-mediated language learning, long distance CMC, and collaborative exchanges to name a few.  Collaborative language learning seems to be one form of personalized learning.  One can personalize it according to age, level, target language, native language, etc  For instance, if I am a native English speaker and my target language is Arabic, I may need to practice not only grammar and writing, but pronunciation as well.  In Arabic, there are many "initially doubled consonants".  For example, "sh" in Arabic is one letter: ش and so one.

Before, language learning was more about joining a language learning class at a language center or buying software that cost upwards of $100, such as Berlitz and Rosetta Stone.  Now, we have open access to language learning websites, many free of charge.  Having previously visited some of English language learning websites, I have decided to list a few that may be of use to the readers:

1.          BBC Languages:
2.          Babbel:
3.          English Central:
4.          EnglishPod:
5.          iTalkie:
6.          Livemocha:

 Let's hope they may be useful to you!