The advantages of realia as a whole have already been extensively explored from a theoretical standpoint (for example see Dlaska, 2003 and Spurr, 1942). The advantages include the development of specific personal interests in exploring, and therefore, acquiring the foreign/second language and culture within a context. The ultimate goal is to turn the student into a life-long learner of the target language and culture. Digital realia have become easily accessible tools for cultural exchange and language acquisition. A variety of such realia can enhance the learning process for students of foreign language and culture, and can improve the quality of the instructor’s teaching. This paper aims to present a practicum. It explores the ease of use of the iPod Touch in foreign language acquisition and the ability of this small high-tech device to potentially turn any place (both in and outside the classroom) rapidly into a persistent, easily available and always accessible language lab. Digital realia, which are in a variety of media in the target language and originate from the target culture, are easily available on the Web. The paper focuses on the advantages of the iPod Touch technology over standard computer and language lab use. The paper will also give a review of the types of digital realia and the specific applications that produce the best results.
|Keywords:||Foreign Language and Culture, Second Language Acquisition, Computer Assisted Instruction, Computer Assisted Language Learning, CALL, iPod, Language Lab, Realia, TESOL|
Associate Professor of Italian / Coordinator, Italian Division, Department of Modern & Classical Languages, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, USA