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Language Learning and the Internet: What to Look For

Many times my husband and I talk about what we did without technology when we were kids. My answer is always the same: we played with our siblings; we had fights over whose turn it was to ride the bike or play ball (today the fight is about whose turn it is to play a video game, in many cases).  We played a lot and watched very little television, because our parents told us that it was bad for our eyes, and we believed them!  We also read lots of books that we checked out of the library, especially during the summer. I remember fondly the arriving of the mobile library to my neighborhood where I grew up in Spain every week day during the summer.

Things have changed dramatically though, and technology plays a big role of our daily lives, no matter what we do, from buying a piece of clothing to finding an activity for our children. The Internet is a tool that we and our little ones use constantly; even we have internet application in our phones.  So how can we harness the power of the Internet to learn a second language?


girl on macbook computer


As a teacher, I have certain criteria when I am looking for a good website, among the most important being that the page is well written and visually appealing. Educational material on line must be designed to obtain a good learning experience, with lessons and drills.  Each page must be efficient and facilitate achievement of the goal we have in mind.  In order for a page to be efficient, it must be self-explanatory and therefore easy to understand immediately. I believe that most people stop searching when a site is too busy or unorganized; people like going to the point. The quality of its content is also very important.  The reading material offered must be up-to-date and correct.  For instance, any guidance or rules presented should be updated according to the rules and regulations of appropriate governing bodies because, believe it or not, changes in language do occur.  Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of them and end up making grammar mistakes.  One final important criterion to learn how to speak a second language, say Spanish, is that the page should be attractively designed so that it catches people’s attention, especially when it comes to educational material, which can at times be quite boring!

The most important criterion for me is to promote initiative and auto learning, because these provides cognitive tools that students can use to maximize their learning potential, that they can decide which tasks they want to do according to their intellectual needs, and above all, that they can auto control their work. Also, the fact that they can have the possibility to learn from own mistakes.

As adults, though, we need to supervise the WebPages our children will use as a learning tool; as we all know, our children can be exposed to R-rated pages.  We are all a click away to a window of learning opportunities which facilitate communication worldwide, and it enables us to share ideas, and personal creativity. The Internet is surely a source of information and communication that opens the doors to the educational world, so let’s take advantage of that.

About the author

Mar Andres Thomas

Dear readers!
My name is Mar Andres Thomas, and I am a native of Spain. As a young woman I attended school in England, and later, in 1992 I came to the USA to marry my long time love of my life. Together we have a beautiful daughter going to college this Fall.
I have a degree in Liberal Arts, and an MA in Spanish Linguistics. I love teaching Spanish, because it gives me the opportunity to observe how languages are acquired. My other passion is writing, creating teaching material, and traveling all over the world when time permits.

Permanent link to this article: http://growingupbilingual.com/2013/latino-parenting/language-learning-and-the-internet-what-to-look-for/


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  1. Dzovig

    Hi Mar,
    I came across your blog and read it through and I agree with what you have written.
    I want to tell you how I learnt Spanish. I am not a Latina, but my love for the Spanish language and culture drove me to listen to Spanish songs. Songs are a very easy way to learn a language. Then eventually, that love drove me to make songs for children in Spanish. I know I have a heavy accent, but the project was done with all my heart. Well, that’s my story.

    you can check out the songs here:

  2. Adriana- Hogar-Mujer

    Totalmente de acuerdo, no solo hay que buscar sitios de aprendizaje llamativos o divertidos, sino hay que tener en cuenta todos estos puntos que planteaste. Muchas gracias!
    Adriana- Hogar-Mujer recently posted…#MARTESDEDIY {XIV}: LÁMPARA REDECORADAMy Profile

  3. Bohemian Babushka (@BBabushka)

    If it doesn’t capture the eye and imagination, it won’t capture the attention and retention. BB’s in total accordance w/you there Preciosa. Pero one thing… I still say too much TV is bad for the eyes. I know for sure the computer monitor is getting to mine (no way it can be the años) ; ) BB2U
    Bohemian Babushka (@BBabushka) recently posted…Halloween Cash Bash 2013- Gain Followers not pounds!!My Profile

  4. Veronica Cervera

    La verdad que hay mucho de dónde agarrar para aprender en estos días y ojalá sepamos aprovecharlo nosotros con nuestros hijos y vengan mejores generaciones siempre.
    Veronica Cervera recently posted…Salsa criollaMy Profile

  5. Natalia

    A veces me pregunto cómo hubiera sido si en mi época de colegio hubiéramos tenido acceso a Internet! Muy buen post
    Natalia recently posted…Guía para una cena sencillaMy Profile

  6. Reina - Soy Mamá en Casa Blog

    Lo cierto es que hay que convertir Internet en un medio para aprender, no es fácil ya que los sitios no aptos o bien sitios donde lo menos que ofrecen es un aprendizaje son por lo general coloridos y muy atractivos. Gracias por la reflexión, tomaré en cuenta lo que nos apuntas.
    Reina – Soy Mamá en Casa Blog recently posted…Vitaminas para el CabelloMy Profile

  7. Diana Rodriguez

    Me gusta mucho, en casa también usamos el internet con juegos interactivos.
    Diana Rodriguez recently posted…#Sorteo : Gracias por Tu ApoyoMy Profile

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