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Exploring Academic Use of Online Social Networking Sites (SNS) for Language Learning: Japanese Students Perceptions and Attitudes Towards Facebook

Shugufta Abrahim, Bilal Ahmed Mir, Hayato Suhara and Masahiro Sato

Social networking sites (SNS) have become an integral part of modern society. Among online social networks, Facebook is considered as one of the most popular platforms for online social networking among millions of users including students of all ages. This paper attempts to evaluate whether Japanese students consider Social networking site Facebook as effective online language-learning platform and whether this social learning approach provide students with the opportunity to voluntarily learn English as a second language and gain experiences that help them to better communicate with foreigners using English. A survey was carried out with 88 undergraduates, postgraduate and research students at University of Toyama, Japan to observe learners' perceptions and attitudes towards the usefulness of Facebook for online language learning. Data collected with the use of structured questionnaire from randomly selected students. Most of candidates agreed that Facebook offer great promises to facilitate them learn English and to improve their motivation as well as confidence level in peer- to- peer communication using English. The result of the survey demonstrated that students believed that Facebook could be used as an effective online platform for English learning and related online educational discussions. In conclusion, Facebook may serve as a meaningful and promising teaching tool which can be used not only by English language instructors but also by other educators for fostering quality in online education.