Friday, September 23, 2011

Forget Classrooms - Go Online for New Languages

Two things: the importance of bilingualism is growing and classrooms are going digital. Combined, these two things reveal that more than ever people are migrating to the web to learn another language. Studies show that in the U.S. alone there are increasing demands for interpreters or employees well-versed in Spanish, Arabic or Chinese. And public schools and libraries are more than happy to be the frontrunners in accommodating that demand.

According to KFYR-TV, students in Bismarck grade school are using the online program Rosetta Stone to learn Spanish. The program keeps students immersed by receiving instructions via headset and associating pictures with phrases without an English translation. Rosetta Stone is already available to consumers, but it’s a hint of a trend on the increased accessibility of language learning. Seattle public libraries are going for a different approach with LiveMocha, another online language learning service.

LiveMocha and Seattle public libraries are going to be the testing grounds for a nation-wide launch to provide free-language learning services to library patrons. Already the service is available to all 600,000 Seattle library regulars from at home or 28-hosting libraries.

“Livemocha is like a giant World Atlas filled with people and languages, and we encourage our members to become virtual tourists through language and cultural exploration,” explained Livemocha CEO Michael Schutzler.

Digital accessibility is increasingly becoming the new norm— and so is the demand to speak more than one language. Thankfully, the means for meeting the demand are mounting for those with a computer, internet access and a will.

*Source: KFYR-TV,  Tech Flash

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