Cultures and Communities in the Virtual World

Beginning the Exploration


  • Kelsey D. White



Most of today's college students grew up as part of the Net Generation
(Cooke-Plagwitz, 2009), and pedagogues may assume that motivated
students use technologies outside of class to improve their target language
skills. However, little research has been conducted to see how students
actually use technology to engage with foreign cultures and communities
beyond the classroom setting. This exploratory study draws from both
quantitative and qualitative data sets to reveal the ways first-semester
students use technology to learn about German-speaking cultures and
communities, and using Dörnyei's L2 Motivational Self System (2005 &
2009), also shows how students' out-of-class learning via technology
relates to their diverse motivations as language learners. Discussion
includes suggestions for exploring cultures and communities through
digital tools both within and beyond the classroom setting.