The New Mass Media in Teaching English Language



The aim of this article is to present the using the new mass media in teaching and learning English language through the original English sources. It emphasis on Internet – blogs, RSS feeds and podcasts for electronic devices which can be used both in class and self-dependent work. The corpus includes some of these sources which are contemporary and regularly refreshed. The mentioned tools are appropriate for secondary and higher education.

Keywords: new mass media, Internet, blog, RSS, podcast, English language teaching.


The mass media are diversified media technologies that aims are to reach a large audience by mass communication. The technology through which this communication takes place varies. Broadcast media such as radio, television and Internet transmit their information electronically. Print media use a physical object such as a newspaper, book, pamphlet or comics, to distribute their information. Outdoor media is a form of mass media that comprises billboards, signs or placards placed inside and outside of commercial buildings, sports stadiums, shops and buses. Other outdoor media include flying billboards (signs in tow of airplanes, blimps, and skywriting). Public speaking and event organising can also be considered as forms of mass media. The digital media comprises both Internet and mobile mass communication. Internet media provides many mass media services, such as email, websites, blogs, and Internet based radio and television. Many other mass media outlets have a presence on the web, by such things as having TV advertisements that link to a website, or distributing a Quick Response Code (QR Code) in print or outdoor media to direct a mobile user to a website. In this way, they can utilise the easy accessibility that the Internet has, and the outreach that Internet affords, as information can easily be broadcast to many different regions of the world simultaneously and cost-efficiently. The organizations that control these technologies, such as television stations or publishing companies, are also known as the mass media.



The Internet (also known simply as "the Net" or less precisely as "the Web") is a more interactive medium of mass media, and can be briefly described as "a network of networks". Specifically, it is the worldwide, publicly accessible network of interconnected computer network that transmit date by packet switching using the standard Internet Protocol (IP). It consists of millions of smaller domestic, academic, business, and governmental networks, which together carry various information and services, such as email, online chat, file transfer, and the interlinked web pages and other documents of the World Wide Web.

Mass communications researchers have overlooked the potential of the Internet for several reasons. The Internet was developed in bits and pieces by hobbyists, students, and academics (Rheingold, 1994).

What is new media?

New media is defined as “a generic term for the many different forms of electronic communication that are made possible through the use of computer technology. The term is in relation to "old" media forms, such as print. The term is in relation to "old" media forms, such as print newspapers and magazines that are static representations of text and graphics. Logan (2010) sees new media as a term that will in general refer to those digital media that are interactive, incorporate two-way communication, and involve some form of computing as opposed to “old media” such as the telephone, radio, and TV. Mass media his study therefore focuses more on the Web 2.0 component of the Internet with specific emphasis on social media, mass media plays a crucial role in connecting the world of individuals. The mass media has at least three important roles to play: to inform, educate and influence opinion. According to Mittal and Mittal (2013) mass media can be divided into two main categories: traditional media (Folk, TV, Radio, and Newspaper etc.) and New Media (Internet).

There are several possible reasons for using the Internet in language teaching. One rationale is found in the belief that the linguistic nature of online communication is desirable for promoting language learning. It has been found, for example, that electronic discourse tends to be more lexically and syntactically more complex than oral discourse (Warschauer, 1996a) and features a broad range of linguistic functions beneficial for language learning (Chun, 1994; Kern, 1995; Wang, 1993). Another possible reason for using the Internet is that it creates optimal conditions for learning to write, since it provides an authentic audience for written communication (Janda, 1995). A third possible reason is that it can increase students' motivation (Warschauer, 1996c). A fourth possible reason is the belief that learning computer skills is essential to students' future success; this reason suggests that it is not only a matter of using the Internet to learn English but also of learning English to be able to function well on the Internet.



Blogging has become a pervasive form of media. A blog is a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or interactive media such as images or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order, with most recent posts shown on top. Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images and other graphics, and links to other blogs, web pages, and related media. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting) are part of a wider network of social media. Microblogging is another type of blogging which consists of blogs with very short posts.

Teachers can use blogs as a source of reading material for their classes, create a class blog for their students, or blog themselves. Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. Most blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via gadgets on the blogs and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites, and makes them particularly attractive in teaching and learning.

When a language teacher introduces blogging activities within the language classroom, the opportunities for student interaction and the horizons of that “learning space” (Williams & Jacobs, 2004, p.232) are expanded exponentially, providing student writers with a far greater audience both within and outside the classroom. In his academic blog, Stanley (2006) notes that “(Blogs are) a way of opening up the classroom walls and showing the wider world what is happening... thus creating a small language learning community.” Similarly, while relating the findings of a series of interviews with bloggers in the Stanford University area, Nardi, Schiano, Gumbrecht, & Swartz (2004) relate how a rhetoric instructor/researcher using blogs explained that for students “blogging created a sense of community that would be less likely to emerge in a conventional classroom setting” (p. 41). Murray (2007) notes that a key feature of a “blog community” is the fact that all community members have easy access to each others’ blogs. This can be accomplished with moodle, a class wiki page, or the blog community’s homepage (which might also be called a ‘blog magazine’).

One of the ways to move the students learning English progress in a powerful way is through the use of blogs. Learning English using blogs is a way to enhance every major English skill the students need to learn. These are some blogs which could be used in English language teaching and learning:

  • “ESL Hip Hop” - is a fresh way to get the students learning English on while enjoying hip-hop culture and their passion for music. Using blogs to learn English is fantastic, and using music with a blog is the perfect learning English storm. This site offers vocabulary lists, videos, and plenty of ESL skills like reading, listening, and grammar.

  • “PhraseMix” - puts English phrases into perspective. This is one of the best blogs for finding unusual topics with a focus on detailed explanation of phrases in context. They even feature movie quotes, which are often trending in conversation. Most of the posts on PhraseMix are within 300 words helping the students really focus on learning English through the written word. The site itself is easy to navigate.

  • “Espresso English” - Learning English doesn’t always need to be boring; because “Espresso English” will awaken the students’ senses just like the clever coffee name they chose. Finding blogs with tools to add to the students’ online English classes is important. This site covers a range of topics with great visual usage for any student audience, beginner levels to intermediate.

  • “eCoaches” - offers students of all levels who are learning English to take advantage of their wide array of blogs. They have also a large number of professional online teachers ready to give one-on-one classes. eCoaches is like a one stop English site, and there are many other languages.

  • “ABA English” - is one of those blogs that combines content and videos in a fun and exciting way. The students will find pronunciation tips, slang, and also song lyrics to keep their humming English words all day long. There are even interactive videos letting the students fill in missing words seen on the screen.

  • “English with Jo” – From phrasal verbs to business English, “English with Jo” is a site for informative blogs. The students will certainly stay busy with all the learning English topics covered in their daily posts. They also use videos and add information that is very useful to students of all ages and English levels.

  • “RealLife English” - This comprehensive learning English site has in plenty of blogs. “RealLife English” offers skills for beginner students, all the way to the advanced level. They feature podcasts and videos that also compliment their blog section nicely. The language used is also easy to read, and easy to understand with content separated into sections. The students will also find helpful grammar, slang, and idiom tips too!

  • “Booklady ESL Beat” - offers blogs for news, science, tech, business, etc. with learning English at the core. The students can find almost everything they want while polishing their language skills between online classes with their teacher. The students also boast a wonderful photo and video section to enhance their language learning experience.

  • “Rolls off the Tongue” - is a site offering blogs for students wanting to learn outside of the class. If your students dislike sitting in class for hours on end, this is a great learning English site to excite them about learning again. They feature fun jokes visually with detailed explanations of why they are humorous. It also gives the students a look into the culture of English through a fresh way to learn more.

  • “FluentU” - has a lot of resources for those learning English. Similar to eCoaches, this site doesn’t focus solely on English. They have a large list of languages any student can learn. Their videos are also very informative, letting students focus on vocabulary, listening, reading, and pronunciation.

  • “My English” - interactive blogs that could catch the students’ attention. They offer learning English skills combined with a wide range of content. This site could also enhance nearly all language skills, such as pronunciation, grammar, reading, common phrases, and idioms. It is great for beginners to intermediates with a content that will also interest advanced students for keeping in their practice.


RSS feeds

RSS is a format for syndicating news and the content of news-like sites, including major news sites like Wired, news-oriented community sites like Slashdot, and personal blogs. It is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines, and podcasts. An RSS document (which is called a "feed" or "web feed" or "channel") contains either a summary of content from an associated web site or the full text. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with web sites in an automated manner that can be piped into special programs or filtered displays.

A trait of learning and teaching listening is to use professionally produced newscasts, radio, and/or TV programs. With new computer technologies and Internet resources such as podcasts, audioblogs, i-pods, and two-way synchronous video recording, English language learners are now able to learn and control language through the creation of their own video-and audio-casting projects. English language learners should look for podcasts as such materials provide students with plenty of meaningful language, real-world communication, and access to new information.

  • - Edutopia - The perennial Edutopia proposes practical classroom strategies and tips, lesson ideas, personal stories, and innovative approaches to improving teaching practices.

  • - Free Technology for Teachers – One of the most popular feeds created just for teachers, ‘Free Technology for Teachers’ does exactly what is says on the name.

  • - Mindshift – Created by KQED and NPR, MindShift explores the future of learning in all its dimensions, covering cultural and technology trends, innovations in education, groundbreaking research, education policy, and more.

  • - TED Ed – The education spin-off of the ever popular TED talks, these engaging animated videos can be used for lessons, supplementary material or even just a bit of ‘educational’ fun.

  • - Fractus Learning – With a focus on technology in education, Fractus Learning publishes articles, insights and ideas for educators who are passionate about technology and learning.



A podcast is a series of digital-media files which are distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and computers. The term podcast, like broadcast, can refer either to the series of content itself or to the method by which it is syndicated; the latter is also called podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster.

Research studies on podcasts in language learning have identified its potentiality in developing learners’ language skills (O’Bryan & Hegelheimer, 2007; Li, 2012). Podcast can accelerate language students’ learning not just in listening but also in other language areas such as pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, speaking and related learning activities (Chan et al. 2011; Kaplan-Leiserson, 2005). Ashton-Hayand Brookes (2007) state that podcasting facilitates self-paced learning as well as gives slower learners a platform for remediation. Kaplan-Leiserson (2005) points out that podcasting can provide another medium for material review and can assist students to develop their language skills. DucateandLomicka (2009) state that podcasting can function as a tool for developing students’ pronunciation.

Podcasts come in many forms, but they are basically audio tracks on whatever subject the host wants to talk about. Podcasts are like radio shows that the students can download and listen to anytime. Some of the best podcasts for learners are interview-style. These are great to use because the students can hear and practice real dialogues. Podcasts help the students focus on learning specific grammar and vocabulary that they need. These are some podcasts which could be used for English language learning:

  • – (by This English language learning podcast series focuses on everyday phrases and slang. What the students will hear is the kind of English spoken by real people all the time and will help them to speak more like a native speaker. The podcasts are published weekly, and each one has a bite-sized duration of 3-4 minutes. Examples of common English expressions explored in the series are: “use your loaf”, “skeletons in the closet” and “take the mickey”. The English is spoken at a slightly slower speed than normal. Every syllable is enunciated clearly. The typical format involves two presenters having a conversation with each other. Sound effects are frequently used to give the impression that the teachers are in different locations.

  • (by - Variety is the spice of life and that’s exactly what these podcasts give – spoken English in an assortment of settings. Podcasts in is a comprehensive English language learning podcast series with programmes for beginners, intermediates and upper intermediates. There are also podcasts for those who need to use business English. The short lessons are conducted entirely in English and feature conversations between two English language speakers. They cover a broad range of topics encompassing nearly every facet of life. Some of the subjects the students may hear being discussed are the Winter Olympics, horse riding experiences and Facebook. The podcasts are short, challenging and supported by transcripts, worksheets and vocabulary tasks.

  • - There’s something for everyone here, in a podcast series for all experience levels. The teachers can choose from four levels of learning to match their students needs – absolute beginner, beginner, intermediate and advanced. The podcasts are presented by two hosts who also act out different scenes. Once a scene has been performed it is repeated at a much slower speed. The next section of each podcast provides some culturally relevant information. This is followed by a focus on vocabulary and phrases, and definitions of some of the words the listener has just heard. The concluding section of each podcast covers grammar. These English language podcasts are conducted at a moderate pace.

  • (by - A very helpful series of English language podcasts for the beginner and intermediate learner. Unusually for language learning podcasts these lessons are quite long, at about 25 minutes. The hosts of each edition take the listener through a number of different scenarios. These are acted out in dialogue and are the kind of situations people experience every day. The podcasts also include broader discussions of some of the topics. The presentation is lively, upbeat and engaging, and the English is spoken at near normal speed. There is a lot of good accompanying material, some of which can be read beforehand to help the listener make the most of each lesson.

  • – (by - These podcasts are designed for the advanced language students who can speak reasonably good English. The podcasts offer a fascinating approach to learning the language. Each lesson features interviews and discussions with non-native English language speakers. The recordings also include expert feedback about their performances.

  • (by - Better at English is an eclectic mix of English language podcasts featuring real conversations with native speakers. The topics range from the serious to the silly and light-hearted and are conducted at normal speed. Listening to real, natural-sounding conversations is a superlative supplement to classroom and textbook learning. This familiarizes the student with the pace of the language and some of its idioms and common expressions. Better English is suitable for the intermediate student and above, or for the beginner who really wants to challenge themselves. These English language podcasts are accompanied by transcripts and vocabulary notes.

  • (by - This is a wonderful podcast series that really mixes it up. Voice of America is an English language news and information service that provides a series of multi-genre programmes in English. In the audio section there is 1) a weekly global news programme 2) a science documentary strand 3) programmes about the history of America and American cultural life and 4) a series on American English idioms. All the programmes are narrated in English spoken at a slower speed than normal. Voice of America is a great addition to the language student’s arsenal of learning tools as it adds variety to structured lessons and conversation-based tuition. As with conventional radio programmes, each podcast is divided into segments and uses music and sound effects to provide a rich audio experience.

  • (by - If the students are going to be doing business in English speaking countries then this podcast series is their brilliant primer. Business English Pod is an immersion into the language and conventions of the business world. The series covers the integral language required for every conceivable business situation. The episodes follow a simple structure with the host speaking for a few minutes on a set topic. There are transcripts, quizzes and vocabulary guidance accompanying each podcast. The series assumes the student already has a reasonable working knowledge of English, but it doesn’t assume too much. The English is spoken at about three quarters of normal speed and is therefore quite easy to follow. The diction is perfect. Business English Pod provides a good insight into how business is conducted in English-speaking companies. In addition, the lessons offer valuable listening and comprehension practice.

  • - (by A podcast series for all levels of English language learner. The Culips site is that there are four different podcast styles. The Close Up podcasts feature recurring characters in a variety of situations. During each episode the host focuses on vocabulary, expressions, idioms and slang. There is also a small amount of grammar. Chatterbox podcasts feature real conversations between people, while Catch Word podcasts are centred on one word only and its meanings and uses. Curious Questions is a podcast devoted to answering listeners’ questions.

In addition, the integration of podcasting into the learning process enables students to:

  • Expand and improve class notes;

  • Clarify and enhance their understanding of ambiguous concepts;

  • Study for exams, catch up on missed classes;

  • Improve comprehensibility by controlling the rate of speech (Zhao, 1997);

  • Make field recordings and conduct mock interviews;

  • Record and post audio and video interviews (Aldrich et al., 2006).



Mobile phones were introduced in Japan in 1979 but became a mass media only in 1998 when the first downloadable ringing tones were introduced in Finland. Soon most forms of media content were introduced on mobile phones, tablets and other portable devices, and today the total value of media consumed on mobile vastly exceeds that of Internet content. The mobile media content includes mobile music (ringing tones, ringback tones, truetones, MP3 files, karaoke, music videos, music streaming services etc.); mobile gaming; and various news, entertainment and advertising services. Similar to the Internet, mobile is also an interactive media.

Mobile handheld devices have been improved to function as miniature computers utilized by teachers and students for personal use. In recent years, the technical advancements of mobile devices have garnered educators’ attention for the unique affordances they can offer in a classroom setting. This technology provides a combination of flexibility, accessibility, and interactivity with online resources unlike other typical classroom technologies such as desktop computers. With the accelerated development of mobile technology and its growing popularity, as well as the potential benefits of mobile devices for learning, empirical research his much needed (Prensky, 2010; Traxler, 2011).

These days mobile devices such as PDAs, phones, and other handheld devices, are used everywhere for doing everything ranging from voice calling to making short message, video chat, listening to audio (Mp3, Mp4, Mpeg), web surfing, shopping, and the like.

Klopfer (2002) and his colleagues state the following properties of mobile devices:

  1. portability: such devices can be taken to different places due to small size and weight;

  2. social interactivity: exchanging data and collaboration with other learners is possible through mobile devices;

  3. context sensitivity: the data on the mobile devices can be gathered and responded uniquely to the current location and time;

  4. connectivity: mobile devices can be connected to other devices, data collection devices, or a common network by creating a shared network;

  5. individuality: activities platform can be customized for individual learner.



More and more students use mobile devices to connect to the web. Mobile learning (or m-learning) is the ability to learn anywhere and at any time using a portable electronic device.

There are hundreds of mobile phone apps available. Here are some free apps that teachers could use for extra practice (All of them could be used with Android and iOS):

  • - One of the biggest draws of Duolongo is its gamified learning system: instead of the usual progression through lessons, Duolingo structures the lessons as a skill tree, with "skill points" being awarded for completing lessons, achievements for tracking the students’ progress as well as a lives system that encourages the learners to answer each question correctly. They can then use their knowledge to translate real-world content, which is then rated by other users.

  • - Memrise offers a large variety of courses for a lot of different languages, including English, all for free. These courses are actually constructed by other members of the Memrise community, making Memrise something of a crowd-sourced learning platform. The app integrates with the user’s main account, but also offers an offline mode so that the students can continue learning even when they are without an Internet connection. Memrise, also has some elements of gamified learning, including a points system.

  • - is a language learning and vocabulary tool that tries to turn web content into language-learning opportunities. uses a proprietary language-processing method, based on vocabulary tests and the students’ interests.

  • - LearnEnglish Grammar, developed by the British Council, is an interactive app that’s designed to help improve the students’ grammar, especially their grammar accuracy. Both the UK and US English editions offer four levels of questions, starting at the Beginner level and going all the way up to Advanced level. Each difficulty covers 12 grammar topics, with 20 activities per topic. Both editions also have easy-to-access in-app help so that the students will never get stuck trying to solve any of the interactive tasks.

  • - SpeakingPal English Tutor is a highly interactive app that helps the students improve English by using their device’s voice-recognition technology to simulate a voice call with a native English speaker. This will help improve their spoken English and pronunciation. To this end, SpeakingPal English Tutor provides more than 100 levels and a lot of different dialogues, sentences and vocabulary items. The free version has 16 lessons.

  • - Busuu is actually something like a social network for learning languages, with complementary Android and iOS apps to help the students learn while on the go. Busuu’s lessons are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), so the quality of Busuu’s reading, writing and speaking practice and lessons are guaranteed. Lessons range from beginner to advanced, and Busuu offers more than 150 topics with more than 3,000 words and phrases. The free version, however, only offers 20 units.

  • - Fun Easy Learn English is a vocabulary app with more than 6,000 words in its database. The students can improve their vocabulary through illustrations, recorded pronunciations and native translations, and the app also includes seven different games that should further help their efforts to learn English. The app also has a Spin Categories function that chooses a random topic, subtopic and game for the students. The app doesn’t require an Internet connection.

  • - Pharasalstein is targeted at improving one specific element of English grammar - phrasal verbs. The app is designed like a classic horror movie, and has 100 phrasal verbs that it will teach the students through humorous animations. The app will provide meanings and example sentences, as well as translations in Spanish, German, Italian, Russian and French.



Technology enabled English Language learning tools are available in some schools, it is quite imperative for teachers to use resources which are available to them, including mass media distributed by its new media form. In planning a lesson using Internet, the teacher should take into consideration the length of the article, paragraph, video, the complexity of the language, the density of information, the subject matter and content, the time available and the level of the students (Tafani, 2009).

Innovations in the educational system, connected with the development of the high technology, outline a new  way for learning define media education as a pedagogical field to innovate and innovative practices. In this sense, the teacher is challenged to organize and manage a more flexible and efficient process of training. The teacher has the main role to build social, psychological, common cultural, moral and ethical conditions in adolescents for their successful involvement in media communication. In this sense, the teacher’s information competence for solving training, educational and professional tasks in the context of media education is seen as a part of the professional competence. The teacher’s informational culture is characterized by his ability to form and use informational resources, modern means of informatics and information technology in interest his students and their development. One of the most important roles of the teacher is to mentor and support young people in their activities to successful navigate in the sea of media information to help and solve emerging problems (Neminska, 2015).

Systems of media regulation vary from country to country, and operate with varying degrees of success. Most systems – those supervised by the state and the media industries – include special mention of the vulnerability of children and the need to protect them. Few take a stand on children’s participation in media. Media professionals have a role to play in developing media literacy programmes within schools, as well as a vested interest in ensuring that future generations trust the mass media as a source of reliable information (Jempson, 2013).

This is high time that scholars must work out a strategy on developing a new teaching model about using the English new media as an effective tool to improve English as a language. Hence, the students are expected to be trained in such a manner so that they can be able to use the Internet in the English classes in an organized manner and avail the optimal mileage to hone their English language skills.



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Used Internet addresses. Retrieved on January 2, 2017:


Sevda Mollova
Vocational Secondary School “Alexander Stepanovich Popov”
Devin, Bulgaria




Целта на тази статия е да представи използването на новите мас медии в преподаването на английски език чрез оригинални английски източници. Тя набляга на използването на Интернет – блогове, RSS емисии и  дигитални аудио файлове podcasts за електронни устройства, които могат да бъдат използвани както за работа в клас, така и за самостоятелна работа. Съдържанието на статията включва някои от тези източници, които са съвременни и редовно обновявани. Споменатите средства са подходящи за ученици в среден и горен курс на обучение.

Ключови думи: нови мас медии, Интернет, блог, RSS емисии, дигитални аудио файлове, преподаване на английски език.


Севда Моллова
Старши учител в Професионална гимназия по електротехника „Александър Степанович Попов”
гр. Девин