Using Skype for second language debates: Ideas for teachers

Two of the trends in language learning I found while researching Global Trends in Language Learning in the 21st Century were using technology for language learning and an increased focus on demonstrating language competence through speech and stories, debates and speaking competitions. How about combining the two?

I’ve been busy preparing my presentation on Using Skype in the Second and Foreign Language Classroom for the Social Media Workshop for language teachers put on by the Language Acquisition Resource Centre (LARC) at San Diego State University.

During my travels I came across Lois Smethurt’s blog. She has an excellent post on how she used Skype for an inter-school debate. She talks about the students’ reaction to the experience, as well as the logistics of putting together an inter-school debate using Skype.

I loved this idea for language learning. We can organize debates not only between schools, but between countries, too. Check out Sue Water’s blog post on how to connect with schools and classrooms in other countries using Skype. She offers an amazing resource list for teachers from around the world to connect using Skype.

Between them, these two insightful, innovative Edubloggers offer us the ingredients to put together inter-classroom, international second language debates using synchronous technology that allows students to use real language in real time.


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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


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