Using Blogs: authentic material and ranking quality for SLA
Exposure real life language experiences forms an integral part of the acquisition process. Authentic materials – those derived from the culture of the target language rather than specially produced for language learners – increase the relevance of the learning experience by reusing texts taken directly from the target culture. Web 2.0 technologies increase opportunities for bringing authentic materials into formal language learning environments by allowing material to be collected, reused and shared amongst language teachers and learners. This paper aims to look at the role of blogs in facilitating the use of authentic material by English language teachers and learners and the impact of the most authoritative blogs in the wider Web and in Social Media.
To reach this objective, the blog ranking site Technorati was used to select the most popular blogs for English language learners and teachers and each blog was analysed according to the authenticity of the cultural material used for language learning. The analysis reveals that 100% of the material on 56.25% of the blogs selected was authentic material and over 70% of the material on a further 35.3% of blogs was authentic.
Secondly, the impact of these blogs in the wider Web and Social Media was measured in order to draw some conclusions regarding the role of language learning blogs outside the world of blogging and the communities they serve and provide an image of the relationship between blogs and bloggers, the Web and Social Media.
The results show an inherent bias within Web 2.0 technologies towards providing contemporary authentic material for language learning – the technology itself encourages its use – and that sometimes blogs can have an impact beyond their communities through the Web and Social Media.
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