Monday, February 20, 2006

Bienvenue à Habbo Hotel!

Just back from Paris with my kids where they learnt more French in five days than they did in the first half of their year at school. Why do hundreds of thousands of children go through years of French at school yet can barely order a drink when they go to France? It's clear that the classroom is NOT the way to teach a language. Immersion is clearly the answer (with formal backup). That's why my home town Brighton is packed with foreign students year on year.

Online worlds now give us this immersion. Thousands of kids already hang out in this synthetic world. Go to Habbo Hotel (French version) and you can sign up and chat to real French users, party, meet people in cafes, go swimming, furnish your room, go shopping, get a pet....what better way to immerse yourself in the language than being forced to converse with others. It's a sort of messenger on steroids. This may be the educational answer we've been looking for - it's free and it's packed with real people speaking the real language. We're going to try it over the next few months.


Jane said...

This sounds cool, Donald. As a real francophile I shall feel compelled to visit this site.

helen m said...

Inspired and not having been in an online world recently I registered at the Habbo Hotel - in English. I didn't have my teenage son to guide me through, so what I found was not English as I know it and although I speak English quite well I felt very lost. What was being talked was, what I assumed, cool text talk that I didn't understand. No-one wanted to talk to me, and my "proper" English looked foolish; just like I would look in any real teenager world I guess. Was it my age or is this not really an environment which will help you to communicate in the real world when making friends on a French campsite? Good luck Clark boys, please do tell us how you get on.

Rina Tripathi said...

I'll send this link to my son he loves French and speaks the language well. Thanks