Language Learning in a Virtual World

By Kristi Hislope.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper reports the perceived benefits and drawbacks of using Second Life (SL), a virtual reality program, as a classroom supplement to promote contact and conversation with native Spanish speakers. Herein, both the professor and students voice their experiences with the program and how they believe it benefits language learning or does not. A questionnaire was administered to fifteen third-semester Spanish students attending a university in the southeastern United States of America. Thirteen of fifteen students reported that SL could help them learn Spanish, specifically in conversational interactions and the creative aspects of learning in a virtual world. The negatives associated with the program focused primarily on the logistical issues of computer hardware and the high learning curve of navigating in SL. In general, the study found that SL may be a beneficial resource that allows students a wider array of conversational opportunities and cultural experiences than provided in a traditional classroom. In addition to questionnaire results, suggestions for classroom implementation of SL are presented.

Keywords: Foreign Language Learning, Spanish, Virtual Reality, Second Life, CALL, Second Language Acquisition

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 11, pp.51-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 588.285KB).

Dr. Kristi Hislope

Associate Professor of Spanish, Department of Modern Languages, North Georgia College & State University, Dahlonega, Georgia, USA

Dr. Kristi Hislope is Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Co-Coordinator of the English-as-a-Second Language Endorsement Program for the School of Education at North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, Georgia. She is also the Modern Language Assessment Coordinator for her department. She has taught beginning and intermediate Spanish language courses, Foreign Language Teaching Methodology, Spanish Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Materials and Methods of ESOL, and Language and Culture. She received her Ph.D. in Spanish Linguistics from Purdue University in 2001 with a specialization in Second Language Acquisition. Her research and teaching interests include heritage speaker education and language development, language attitudes, dialectology, second language writing, and ESOL.

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