As my peer Charlayna McGill learned about a new language for our ECMP 355 project, she came across some interesting resources that can support students in learning a new language.
The first one is a free program called byki that gives the learner flash cards and tests them on their understanding. As assessment, the student must type the word shown on the card in their native language to demonstrate their understanding.
The second resource is called Digital Dialects and provides games in almost every language to support a students learning of basic terminology and essential communicative phrases.
I think that these tools demonstrate just how much someone can learn online — and for the price of free! I would use these tools in my classroom to support EAL learners and also my instruction in French. On a personal level, I think it would be very cool to use these tools in a heritage project for students (I know I would be interested in learning Ukrainian).
Despite all of the positive attributes that these tools have for independent learning, they would still need to be used with the support of learning activities or interactions with someone who spoke the language. How cool would it be to have students skype with someone who speaks the language after they have studied it?!?