The Babbel Blog

About online language learning

There goes another myth: Children aren’t “sponges”

Posted on October 10, 2008 by

It’s not just the free-market myth that’s crumbling these days: Anne Sodermann, Michigan State University professor emeritus of Family and Child, spent some hundred hours in a bilingual Mandarin-English Kindergarten in Bejing. In a recent study (Powerpoint-presentation here), watching 3 to 6 year old children from 16 nationalities, she came to a surprising conclusion: “There’s a wide-held perception that if children are very young, learning(another) language is extremely easy for them – that they are like sponges – and that is just not true. Their motivations for doing so are very different from those of older children or adults,” says Sodermann.


“Trying to get them to use modal verbs while they’re being chased by a bear”

Posted on October 6, 2008 by


Todd Bryant on language learning within the online game World of Warcraft

Interview with Todd Bryant (mp3- download with right click) Transcript below

Why did you start using World of Warcraft in the classroom in 2006?
I think I started to think about games whenever Sims Online came out ….I don’t know if you remember it or not. It didn’t get released in Europe, because it was such a huge flop. But the idea was to have the Sims game in a virtual environment that anyone in the world could play. And they planned on releasing localized versions for different countries like Germany, France, Spain and so forth. And if they had done that, that would have been my first foray. But unfortunately, since the game bombed in the US, they never released it in Europe.