Developed by Margherita Berti, this guide provides language educators with pedagogical strategies and practical suggestions for implementing social networking sites (SNSs) and social media in language courses to promote intercultural competence.­­

Modern technology has enabled the sharing of content with people from around the world, and today it is easier than ever to access digital resources created by speakers of the target language. According to the Pew Research Center (2018), 73% of adults in the United States own a desktop or laptop computer and 53% own tablet devices. Mobile devices have also become increasingly ubiquitous and affordable: another survey by the Pew Research Center (2019) found that 96% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind, meaning that images, texts, and videos are now shared in online spaces more than ever before. SNSs are open to participation and interaction. Yet, despite their great potential their implementation in language courses may be more complicated than expected, and teachers might feel overwhelmed with the too many options available and the technology itself continually changing.

Taking the need for pedagogical models and strategies into consideration, this guide evaluates three specific SNSs, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and offers practical examples of in-class and at-home activities for beginner and intermediate level language learners. The affordances and limitations of SNSs are also discussed to enable teachers to implement meaningful use of technology. In this way,  they can help students develop intercultural competence skills while also teaching them to use SNSs and social media responsibly.

This free guide was developed by Margherita Berti, Ph.D. Candidate in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, at the University of Arizona. It is available in conjunction with a website that hosts resources including step-by-step video tutorials for the many uses of the three SNSs named above, and a webinar recording that further examines the implementations of these platforms in language classes.

➣ Access the guide on the SSN website here.