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 The Emissia.Offline Letters           Электронное научное издание (научно-педагогический интернет-журнал)  

Издается с 7 ноября 1995 г.  Учредитель:  Российский государственный педагогический университет им. А.И.Герцена. ISSN 1997-8588

ART  2332  

Март 2015 г.

Агафонова Лидия Ивановна
кандидат педагогических наук, доцент кафедры современных европейских языков, Российский государственный педагогический университет им А. И. Герцена,  Санкт-Петербург 

Ерёмин  Юрий Владимирович
доктор педагогических наук, профессор, зав. кафедрой современных европейских языков, Российский государственный педагогический университет им А. И. Герцена,  Санкт-Петербург

Использование социальной сети ВКонтакте в смешанных курсах обучения иностранным языкам

В статье описываются преимущества использования социальной сети Вконтакте для обучения английскому языку как иностранному. Исследование началось в 2012 году и показало, что использование социальных сетей для обучения иностранным языкам способствует развитию иноязычной коммуникативной компетенции, а также помогает совершенствовать учебный процесс  с позиции теории управления качеством.

Ключевые слова
Социальная сеть, В
Kонтакте, английский язык как иностранный, смешанное обучения, управление качеством

Рекомендовано к публикации:
А.А.Ахаян, доктор педагогических наук, член Редакционной Коллегии


Lidiia I. Agafonova
Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences, Associate Professor of the Modern European Languages Department, A.l. Herzen  State Pedagogical University of Russia, Saint-Petersburg

Yuri V. Eremin
Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences, Professor, Head of the Modern European Languages Department, A.l. Herzen  State Pedagogical University of Russia, Saint-Petersburg.

Use of Vkontakte  Social Networking Site in Blended Foreign Languages Learning Courses

The article describes advantages of VKontakte social networking site for teaching English as a foreign language.
The research started in 2012 and showed that this social networking site has a lot of potential both for students to enhance their communicative competencies in English and for teachers to manage the learning process and ensure its quality.

Social networking sites, VKontakte, English as a foreign language, blended learning, quality assurance.

Social networking sites have become an integral part of people’s social life. The vast majority of university students in Russia use VKontakte social networking site, which is the most popular social networking site in Russia, having more than 70 million users in January 2015. Vkontakte social networking site allows them to create pages about themselves, make friends, and share information, mainly in their native language, in Russian. It is important for EFL students in Russia to become Vkontakte members, which use can help students develop their communicative competencies in English.

Research about social networking sites use has emerged. However, research on usage of  social networking sites in blended  foreign languages learning courses is new [1-8].To our knowledge, there are no studies about potential of Vkontakte social networking site to develop communicative competencies of students of English.

Language learners in Russia have begun to utilize different social networking sites, which have been extremely popular since their inception in 2004 (Facebook) and in 2006 (Vkontakte). This research with participants of twenty groups of students – future teachers of different subjects studying English in a blended course at A. I. Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia explores the potential of social networking site for developing students’ communicative competencies in English. The EFL students in this study joined VKontakte social network for social and academic reasons. Its use over academic year period showed that they were able to communicate in English with existing friends, and learn about English-speaking countries.

The research was conducted in different English blended courses. More than 200 students participated in the study. The majority was female; their majors were psychology, law, economics, tourism management, sociology, intercultural communication. Students’ initial placement English level was different, mainly pre-intermediate. We started by creating a Vkontakte regular account, which students were able to add to their friends' list. The classes used printed textbooks Face2Face pre-intermediate and intermediate levels, English textbooks on students’ subject matters, as well as worked with EFL online materials. Activities and tasks on Vkontakte were mainly centered on the social aspect of this social networking site, the level of difficulty varied from A1 to B2, according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, and students found these activities the most motivating.

Let us introduce some examples of activities and assignments.

The first example of such an activity was connected with describing pictures. It is obvious that pictures are an essential component of any social networking site. We developed such an activity to allow our students to maximize communicative ability in English. The objective of this activity was to teach students how to share their personal life experience and write in English about it. The task statement is as follows: 1. Share one picture you have taken. You can also attach a picture not taken by you, but please obey copyright. It means you have to copy a picture from a copy-friendly service, such as Flickrhttps://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/, Photo Pin http://photopin.com/. Please mention the author and the source.
2. Write at least 15 sentences about this picture; more sentences are welcome. 3. Make a comment on at least one picture of your group mates.

Another real life activity was connected with songs as songs are ones of the most shared items in any social networking tool. The aim of this activity was developing writing competence, recycling vocabulary on hobbies and music, motivating students and enhancing students’ autonomy of using various English learning online resources. Here is the task statement: I am sure all of us like songs. It is a great way to improve your English.

  1. Open this website http://www.lyricstraining.com

  2. Find a song you like and attach a link to this song 

  3. Find an MP3 file on the Internet and upload it to this discussion 

  4. Find the lyrics of this song on the Internet and upload it to the discussion 

  5. Write at least 5 sentences about this song; more sentences are welcome.

  6. Make a comment on at least one song of your group mates.

The news feed, organized by date, acted as a voice thread and an archive for teacher’s and students’ written activity in the English language. News feed threads were different: introducing the curriculum and explaining the credit policy, posting weekly lessons plans, attaching links to online exercises, games and other free English learning resources, congratulating on holidays and motivating students do some fun activities on, recycling some grammar and vocabulary. The postings were written both at the lessons when it took place in a computer class with each student sitting at a computer, or at homes, or while travelling to and from work or study in a metro as majority of students had mobile devices and often brought them to the lesson.

To sum up, it is important to say that such social networking tools as Vkontakte enable to develop and experiment with many different activities, tasks and assignments in a blended English learning course and substitute real communication with a native speaker, though in a partial way. Social networking sites are additional innovative online tools for motivating digital natives and developing their learner autonomy, supporting teachers to develop new types of curriculum, tasks, activities, exercises and credit policy, to manage, ensure and enhance the quality of learning and teaching foreign languages. The EFL students were successful at communicating with existing friends and the teacher on Vkontakte social networking site, improving their communicative competencies in English ability.


  1. Blattner G., Fiori M., & Roulon, S. (2009). Integrating Facebook in the Language Classroom: Possibilities and Linguistic Benefits. Paper presented at the annual meeting of AAAL, Denver, CO.

  2. Buga R., Cảpeneaţả I.,  Chirasnel, C., Popa, A. (2014). Facebook  in Foreign Language Teaching – a Tool to Improve Communication Competences. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 128, 93 – 98.

  3. Cononelos T., Olivia M. (1993). Using Computer Networks to Enhance Foreign Language/Culture Education. Foreign Language Annals, 26(4), 527-534.

  4. Harrison R., Thomas M. (2009)Identity in online communities: social networking sites and language learning. International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society, 7 (2), 109-124.

  5. Kabilan M., Ahmad N., Abidin M. (2010). Facebook: An online environment for learning of English in institutions of higher education . In: The Internet and Higher Education. 13(4), 179–187.

  6. McBride K. (2009). Social-networking Sites in Foreign Language Classes: Opportunities for Re-creation. In L. Lomicka & G. Lord (Eds.). The next generation: Social networking and online collaboration in foreign language learning. San Marcos, TX: CALICO, 35-58.

  7. Mitchell K. (2012). A Social Tool: Why and How ESOL Students Use. Facebook. CALICO Journal, 29(3), 471 − 493.   

  8. Stevenson M. P., & Liu M. (2010). Learning a Language with Web 2.0: Exploring the Use of Social Networking Features of Foreign Language Learning Websites. CALICO, 27(2), 233 – 259.

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ISSN 1997-8588. Свидетельство о регистрации СМИ Эл № ФС77-33379 (000863) от 02.10.2008 от Федеральной службы по надзору в сфере связи и массовых коммуникаций
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