Livemocha and eduFire: From Languages to Culture

I have always been a firm believer that language and culture are inseparable. If you start teaching or learning a language the culture will play a major role from day one. Often the culture of a certain part of the world is even the reason why we want to learn a new language.

This week Livemocha and eduFire added some nice features to their platforms, both very different from each other but both emphasizing the cultural aspects.

On Livemocha students from across the world can now share stories and pictures from the country or city they live in with the community. It reminds me a bit of Dailybooth, a platform were people from across the globe share one photo per day with the community.

According to the Livemocha Twitter account the community shared over 5000 pictures in less than 20 hours after the launch, pretty impressive.

Today I received an email from Marco at eduFire. He pointed me to an interesting class that will take place on Saturday 19th at 2pm PT / 11pm CET and is called “LIVE FROM Egypt: Learn about the Egyptian Revolution from a Teacher Located in Alexandria, Egypt“. The class is set up by Gihan Elsherif, one of eduFire’s long time Arabic teachers with more than 2250 sessions under her belt.

This class talks about the Egyptian revolution which is the most powerful one in the history of the world. This class talks about:
1-The regime in Egypt, what has led to this revolution.
2-The details of the Egyptian revolution.
3-The tools that the Egyptian regime did to overcome the revolution and how the people dealt with and conquered it.
4-The gains of the revolution and the gradual government concessions and what after the revolution.

Again, culture meets language and vice versa. To hear the story of the Egyptian revolution and being able to interact with Gihan by asking her questions about what she, her family and neighbors feel and have experienced takes citizen journalism to the next level and I think this could be a very interesting niche for eduFire to explore further.

You can still join this class, just follow this link: http://edufire.com/classes/20509

Related Links:

  1. Livemocha Assets
  2. LIVE FROM Egypt: Learn about the Egyptian Revolution from a Teacher Located in Alexandria, Egypt
  • Ryan Busch

    Thanks for writing about this Kirsten! This all just great stuff for people to be a part of and I hope people take advantage of it all.

  • Jeanne Michele

    Livemochas Culture site is a brilliant idea at best. It brings out the best in people as well as the absolute worst. At best the community of members share exquisite photographs depicting their country and its culture. It was a great way to bridge the divides between the ignorant and the uneducated or less travelled. Many of the photographs being shared are truly amazing. The community can click into a particular country, view and comment.  The comments generally speaking show admiration and appreciation often expressing words like, beautiful, wow, etc.  However, there is a very serious underlying problem going on and Livemocha has demonstrated they have little to no control over the submissions of the photographs and the posts that follow.  This problem is inherently problematic technically for livemocha staff. Livemocha staff have said in private responses to complaints from members, that they are forced to dismantle the entire Culture site because they do not have the technical ability to screen out abusive and offensive material as quickly as it is being published and submitted. Livemocha claims to have obtained their listing of countries from the United Nations website quite inappropriately, primarily because Livemocha is a language learning social networking site and not the United Nations which no one can address or criticize directly.  By offering this venue for members to post their photos and comments, Livemocha is inciting violent discourse by listing the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  Mind you they also of course list the country of Israel.  As a result of listing the OPT Livemocha members who claim they are from the OPT take every opportunity they can to offend the Israeli community. As a result there is a war of words ensuing that cannot be stopped. Many of the comments posted are full of propaganda rhetoric and violent discourse including the photographs. They claim cities in Israel as their “Filisteen” and say in English (albeit not fluent English) that Israel will cease to exist if they have their way. This is not a good prognosis. Everyone knows, that area of the world has its own set of unique problems that are ongoing and they have their own difficult time trying to maintain peace and avoid war. Livemocha is not serving that purpose well by creating such a venue in which this can happen.   As an American company they have intervened in a way that makes one think they themselves have ulterior motives.