It must be hard to imagine being a student before the age of the internet for todays students. For those of us who studied before the 1990s, visiting the library was probably a much more regular experience. Today you can usually access most of the study materials you need online. Most colleges have an online system available to – some even deliver your book to you if you need the paper copy.
But the internet doesn’t just stop there for study aids, in fact the limit is usually your own imagination. Take for example studying languages – how many people studying something like French or Italian had to wait for a holiday or a gap year in order to regularly hear and practice with native speakers. Nowadays you can log on to yoru PC or Xbox and hear a variety of languages spoken in groups and online communities. One student I knew studying Italian used to login to an Italian Call of Duty clan on the Xbox and play alongside Italians to practice – study certainly wasn’t that fun thirty years ago.
Imagine the benefits to a student of watching TV shows and films in the language you’re trying to learn. In the past this would have been unfeasible to arrange but now it can usually be achieved very easily. If you’re learning French for example – go and find the M6 Replay site which broadcasts loads of TV shows dubbed in French.
There are some problems in that many of these sites now block access outside their country but there are ways around it. You just need to find access to a proxy or VPN server to bounce your connection through. It sounds more complicated that it is, but basically to watch British TV online for example you just need a proxy in the UK.
You can use any device most use a PC or laptop but the technology can be adapted slightly to use other media devices like tablets and Smartphone. This post from the above site illustrates how to access foreign sites like the BBC Iplayer on an Ipad, all you are doing really is changing your IP address to match the location of the destination site – there’s a page of information on the previous site – www.uktv-online.com.
It’s easy to forget about these resources when you’re studying particularly if you’re college or University doesn’t highlight them. But for most students it enables them to expand their study options and in some cases make if even more fun and effective than traditional learning.