It is two weeks until the start of a new project I am involved in: The Virtual Tandem Learning French-English Group. It is a long title but the idea is simple: a group of French students from L’Université Blaise Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand, France and a group of English students from LSE will log onto Second Life for an hour every Monday and exchange their languages. Tandem Learning is a programme we have at the LSE Language Centre where we hold language exchange events. One reason we started this Virtual Tandem group is because we normally have problems finding enough native speakers for our students to practise with. The French students from L’Université Blaise Pascal are all advanced learners of English and the English students from LSE are advanced learners of French, studying the language either as part of their degree or as an extra-curricular course. It is a bit nerve wracking as we don’t yet have enough English students signed up; this could be because it is being held on Second Life and not everyone is familiar with this platform. It could also be because we are looking for native English speakers with a high level of French and the majority of our language students are not native English speakers.
If you are interested in independent language learning take a look at this site, developed by myself and colleagues at the LSE Language centre: http://www.pageflakes.com/languages/
Pageflakes is a personal web portal similar to iGoogle and Netvibes. You can use these platforms to gather together your favourite web sites in the form of links and rss feeds. We’ve used Pageflakes to recommend language learning sites to our students.
However, Pageflakes has proved to be rather unstable recently. It worked very well for most of last year and then it started being temporarily unavailable for days on end. So we are currently developing another site on Moodle called “Independent Learning Resources”. Does anyone use Pageflakes, iGoogle or or any other personal web portal?