I remember almost four years ago when I was last in the USA--my twin sister had just gotten married and when I was at the airport her new husband gave me a web camera. Although I enjoy internet technology and had had a personal blog for a while, I had said that I would NEVER use a web camera. Well, you know what they say--NEVER say NEVER... Anyway, we used the web camera for communicating over MSN and later Skype and I was even able to join my entire family for Christmas although I was sitting in Finland. Eventually, it dawned on me that this type of technology would work great for language training and the more I thought about it, the more I was hooked on the idea of live online language training. Later, when I saw a virtual classroom, I was hooked even more. Anyway, I've been thinking lately about why a student would choose to study live online and here are some of my brainstorms. Please add to this list in the comments if you can think of more. Thanks!
1. This type of learning is a new novel way and some people like to try new things.
2. If a person spends a lot of time on the internet, why not try it?
3. It is difficult to find a native speaker to teach you at the time that you are available i.e. late at night or early in the morning.
4. Not only are you learning a language, you are learning to use the computer in a different way: application & screensharing, uploading pictures, etc.
5. This is a great way to meet new people whether it is your teacher or other students in the classroom.
6. This type of learning makes the world seem much smaller as you can be in Japan and have conversation with a native speaker of English living in Finland.
7. This type of learning is perfect for people on the go. I have taught people in China sitting at a McDonalds...so someone who travels can still meet his/her class from the hotel.
8. Convenience: the student doesn't have to leave home.
9. The student doesn't need to rush to get to class--just turn on the computer.
10. This type of learning makes it easier to communicate with teachers and classmates outside of class.
So, these are my brainstorms (and my colleague Jan's)--how about you? What do you think?