Heartening

I find it heartening that so many people weighed in on the question of children learning a second language through the aid of on-line communities, and related questions.

It’s becoming clear that this is not one question but a web of related questions. For example, experiences for teenagers (like the one John Nordlinger started around W.O.W.) are clearly going to be vastly different from experiences for six year olds, in almost every conceivable way.

Also, as Manooh points out, there might be much opportunity simply in making the right resource available to kids, and letting them build from there, as a community of peers. The wonderful thing about that, if we can get it to work, is that we might be able to achieve a transformative level of change out of an affordable investment in resources.

Personally I find myself drawn to creating the fun exploratory environment that promotes multilingual capability for children who are still in their language acquisition age range (seven and younger). There is something so cool about tapping into that powerful potential. Besides, it gives me more excuses to play with cute little fish characters. :-)

By the way, people I know at Google have told me that they are not actually phasing out the experiments in Google Labs, but rather just reorganizing how they roll them out. As long as these wonderful experiments keep coming, I’m happy!

One Response to “Heartening”

  1. Sharon says:

    I think you’ve proven that adults can be as engaged with cute little fish characters as children could be. So that need not be a deciding factor ;)

    One distinction I noticed in the various comments about people learning second languages online is whether they are learning from one another (perhaps with a multi-player game as incentive), or from a program without interaction with other people. I wonder if one approach would be more effective the other, and if it would vary based on the age of the learner. Also, are children under 7 more likely to learn language from their peers, or from adults, or perhaps from fantasy characters? That might influence how you design the games.

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