|I am the creator of Mixxer, www.language-exchanges.org, a free social networking site built on the open source platform Drupal for language learners to find language partners. Users specify their native language and the language(s) they would like to practice when they register. They can then search for partners based on their languages and contact them. The site has many of the same functions as a social networking site, including blogs, friend requests, and a messaging system. Users can find a potential language partner by viewing other learners with a corresponding language profile. For example, a native English speaker studying Spanish would contact a native Spanish speaker learning English. Once they’ve agreed on a day and time, most users then connect via Skype. |
Teachers and instructors can use the site as well to connect their own students with language partner finding another teacher for a class to class partnership on the site, having students find their own partners, or using the ‘event’ feature to connect their students with native speakers during a lab hour.
In addition to being free and built on an open source platform, the Mixxer also has lessons which provide activities combining a language exchange with open materials created by COERLL, Barbara Kuczun Nelson from Colby College, the Cervantes Institute, Voice of America, and the British Council. I used the lessons to offer a MOOC for English speakers learning Spanish and vice-versa in 2013.
I have written about the site and how it is used for FLTMag, Educause Review and Academic Commons. I have also presented or have been accepted to present the site at NITLE workshops, IALLT, and IMFLIT.
The site averages between 30 and 40,000 active users a month. Several hundred accounts have been granted the teacher role on the site allowing them to use the functions mentioned above. Anyone interested in having a teacher account on Mixxer is welcome to contact me at email@example.com.
In addition to Mixxer, I am also a proponent of open education resources in general. I frequently promote openness through social media on Twitter with @bryantt and @MixxerSite in addition to the Mixxer blog (www.language-exchanges.org/bryantt). I have written articles for Educause on MOOCs (https://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/6/bringing-the-social-back-to-moocs) and open data (https://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/1/everything-depends-on-the-data). Finally, I aided students in their creation of freely available mods for the game Civ V and uploaded to Merlot (https://www.merlot.org/merlot/materials.htm?userId=8930).