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The role of virtual worlds in developing oral proficiency for learners of Arabic as a second language
journal contributionposted on 2018-05-30, 00:00 authored by Hakeem Kasem
This article deals primarily with the role modern technology (both 2D and 3D environments) can play in supporting and enhancing the learning experience of foreign language learners in general and Arabic learners in particular, by creating an environment rich in opportunities, and allowing learners to develop and enhance their language skills in an interactive and authentic leaning environment. One of the main challenges learners face when learning another language (L2) in an academic setting in countries where that language is not actively used – so little L2 exposure – is that it is harder to provide meaningful contexts for learning. This restriction in L2 exposure in the formal academic framework is due to the limited face-to-face learning time and, more significantly, is compounded by lack of exposure to the language’s authentic use settings. Students are often isolated from the target language’s authentic discourse communities and native speakers. This article discusses two innovative approaches, using 2D and 3D environments, designed to enable learners of Arabic at Deakin University to practice their developing skills by listening, practising, and experiencing directly how the language is used outside the classroom boundaries, as well as allow learners to develop their oral and cultural communicative competency by engaging them in simulating and evolving authentic language scenarios with native Arabic speakers of Arabic speaking countries through the Virtual World (VW).