One thing that I have contemplated learning how to do but never had to the time to persue is to learn how to speak Spanish! I know this a social networking course, yet could I put a slant on this such that I could use social networks to help me accomplish this goal? My interest is created by the large influx of Hispanic people that have become my patients in the hospital. I feel that I can better serve these individuals if a clearer line of communication could be established. So.. what is currently being utlilized to address this issue if communiction or answers are needed immediately or within the next ten minutes? The hospital uses a telephone language line that allows for immediate translation for languages which the health care provider is unfamiliar. You dial the number, tell the operator which language that you need help and a translator is provided. Although somewhat cumbersome it does seem to work.
But that does not help me with my learning of the language. Obviously, the long term goal would to be take structured courses offered by the college and over a period of time try to develop competency. Interestingly, some online course have been created to assist students who cannot attend class.
Where does social networking enter into the picture? With a little research I have discovered several networks that are available to accomplish this goals. Consider these:
- LiveMocha (http://livemocha.com/) – free website offering structured lessons along with socia interaction.
- Italki (http://www.italki.com/) – although not free, this site offers teacher/ student student interaction, extensive social networking and a wiki.
- SharedTalk (http://sharedtalk.com/ – online learning community run by RosettaStone. Shared email and chat rooms.
- Mangolanguages (http://www.mangolanguages.com/) – not free. Couples a social network with language instruction.
I find it interesting that social networking can be used to facilitate learning in such an interesting way!