(2013). “We don’t have to always post stuff to help us learn”: informal learning through social networking in a beginners’ Chinese group.
In: Meskill, Carla ed.
Online Teaching and Learning.
Advances in Digital Language Learning and Teaching .
London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
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The notion of exploiting social networking sites for language learning and teaching has invoked Messianic responses from the language education community. However, empirical evidence is often limited to descriptions of conventional online projects, e.g. telecollaborations. Yet to be explored are differences between instructed activities online which are instructor-directed and non-instructed participation for language learning, on social networking sites. The chapter addresses the need to better understand the functioning of ‘adjunct networking for language learning’ practices. To frame the inquiry, two schemes are used: 1) criteria for identifying social networking practices (Musser et al; 2006; Lankshear and Knobel, 2008a); and 2) tools for analyzing social learning in informal settings (Schugurensky; 2000, 2007; Fenwick and Tennant, 2004). This theoretical input underpins the qualitative and quantitative analyses of learner data from one single cohort of adult beginners in Chinese, communicating on 4 informal spaces (two Open University forums and two Facebook groups).
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