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As a language learner, I have always had a very traditional, pen-and-paper approach to learning a new language (English included). I have played around with websites and apps like Livemocha, Duolingo, and even BBC language pages, as well as many other obscure sources, but those things would never stay with me for more than a few weeks. Soon I would be back to purchasing grammars, dictionaries and lots of pen and paper.

However, lately I've been thinking about the role of technology, and the fact that nowadays, more so than when I was growing up, people are constantly "plugged in", and doing everything from work and study to self-help and dating on a computer. What's also different now is that I've had some experience actually working on digital technology, so I'm eager to see if there is a way to apply my skills and come up with something people would find useful for learning a language.

So my question to you is - do you use technology when studying English? If you do, what do you like and dislike about it? And also, is there some kind of technology you wish existed, but doesn't right now, to help you learn English better?

Many thanks in advance!

  • The best way to learn a language as an adult is to have a trained foreign language teacher teach it to you. The most effective teacher-student ratio is one-on-one teaching. While there are many teaching methodologies, the consensus is that use of language in meaningful contexts and as close to real-world usage is optimal. (Classroom usage is not optimal, but it can be made better by using examples from the real world). There are also many methodogies of learning a language. But again, whether pen & paper, or "technology", programs that incorporate meaningful contexts and r-w usage are best. – user6951 Mar 7 '15 at 10:06
  • @δοῦλος if I understand you correctly, your point is that language education for adults is best carried out by other adults with the necessary expertise. Personally I agree with this, and I believe technology solutions should complement, rather than try to replace, a human tutor. I was curious if you had ideas about such solutions (apps, games, videos, anything) that you would personally use for language study if they were available to you. – RuslanD Mar 9 '15 at 5:26
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An interesting topic. My view is the computer, electronic dictionaries and smart phones with large memory capacities are the optimal things for language learning. But this is just the beginning of a new way of language learning. We are far from using the possibilities of these new developments. Youtube, eg hasn't yet seen the potential of good videos for language learning. But the videos must be provided with the text, otherwise they are useless.

On a smart phone or your computer you can make up your own individual grammar, dictionary, collection of texts etc. But all the same, I appreciate good things in book form, grammars, dictionaries, and reading matter. Very good are forums for questions and forums where one can advance one's writing ability.

  • When talking about the phone or computer, what would you personally use, if it existed, to learn English? It could be apps, games, videos, anything - I'm just curious what you think some ways are to make these devices useful for language study. – RuslanD Mar 9 '15 at 5:23

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