This past academic year, my colleague Dr Leticia Villamediana González and I conducted a project with our students entitled Spanish Linguistic Landscape, using Twitter as a mean for an effective communication.
Our goal was to go beyond the walls of the classroom and make our students aware of the presence of Spanish around us and how this presence is a fantastic opportunity for incidental language and culture learning. To achieve this, we asked our students to post pictures about any input in Spanish found in their everyday lives and to reply to some of these questions:
What is it?
Where did you find it?
Why is it in Spanish?
What did you learn?
Twitter was a great tool for this project, we believe that the 140 characters limitation made students focus on expressing their ideas accurately and precisely in the target language. Also, students were using their Spanish language for real purposes and not only in exercises in a classroom. Likewise, Twitter enabled them to foster a critical analysis of the Hispanic world, to communicate and interact with the world and to get to an unlimited source of Spanish language and culture. Thanks to this social network, students interacted with native speakers, used their language abilities in context and controlled their own learning.
I am now conducting an empirical study about this project that will hopefully give us information about how students perceive Spanish in the UK and its possibilities as an additional source of input for language and culture learning. Stay tuned for the results!
Teaching Fellow in Hispanic Studies. School of Modern Languages and Cultures. University of Warwick