UC SPARK - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Dr Vera Monika Leier

Global, Cultural and Language Studies; School of Language, Social and Political Sciences



Phone: +64 3 364 2987 ext. 95018

Office: Logie Building (Modern Lang.) 410

Fields of Research

  • Use of social media in language teaching and learning
  • Computer assisted language learning (CALL)

Researcher Summary

I am interested in computer-assisted language learning (CALL), a form of teaching and learning using computers as part of a blended language classroom. I am particularly interested in presenting the students with computer applications which are part of the students’ every day life and provide the students with an authentic learning experience.  My research includes the integration of podcasts into the language curriculum to enhance the listening skills of the students. As early as 2000 I developed my own podcasts and started my own iTunes channel where the students could download the tailor-made German podcasts onto their mp3 devices for learning purposes. I researched the use of podcasts in my classes and presented the outcomes on several international CALL conferences between 2001 and 2010. In 2011 I started using social media - Facebook as integral part of my teaching practices. Social media is particularly useful to create a sociocultural learning environment, it helps to build a very strong link between the on-campus and distance students and can create a social presence unknown to a conventional classroom setting. Social media in a second language learning environment was the topic of my PhD which is titled 'The effect of Facebook-Social Media on the learning and teaching of German at tertiary level in New Zealand'.

Subject Area: Disciplines

  • Languages & Linguistics: German

Future Research

  • I am granted unpaid leave for the period of April to June 2015 where I am planning to finish a first draft of my PhD thesis.
  • I am planning to write a publication reporting about the data outcome of my PhD fieldwork.
  • I am invited to present my research in an one hour long seminar at the German programme of Stockholm University in the end of April 2015.

Key Methodologies

  • participant observation
  • ethnography
  • activity theory

Research/Scholarly/Creative Works

  • Leier V. (2018) Using Instagram as a tool for German language teaching and learning. New Zealand Language Teaching Journal (Journal Articles)
  • Leier V. (2017) Instagram instead of powerpoint. Wellington, New Zealand: Goethe Institut teacher conference, 09 Jul 2017. (Oral Presentations)
  • Leier V. (2017) Instagram: A study of the use of Instagram in a German intermediate class. University of Canterbury: UC Teaching and Learning Week, 06 Jun 2017. (Oral Presentations)
  • Leier V. (2017) Issues in Technology-enhanced language learning (TELL). University of Canterbury: Workshop for professional development, 30 Jan 2017. (Oral Presentations)
  • Leier V. (2017) Social media and social presence in the German language classroom. Stockholm University: Language pedagogy seminar, 31 Aug 2017. (Oral Presentations)
  • Leier V. (2017) "Just Facebook Me" A Study of the Use of Facebook in a German Language Course at a Tertiary Institution in New Zealand. http://hdl.handle.net/10092/13042. University of Canterbury. (Theses / Dissertations)
  • Leier V. (2017) Instagram used in a German language classroom. University of Southampton, UK: EuroCALL 2017, 23-26 Aug 2017 (Conference Contributions - Other)
  • Leier V. (2017) Learning language through Facebook.. International Journal of Computer Assisted Language Learning 7(4) (Journal Articles)
  • Leier V. (2016) "just facebook me". Limassol, Cyprus: EuroCALL conference, 24-27 Aug 2016 (Conference Contributions - Other)
  • Leier V. and Cunningham UM. (2016) "just facebook me" A study on the integration of Facebook into a German language curriculum. Limassol, Cyprus: EuroCALL conference, 24-27 Aug 2016. (Conference Contributions - Published)
  • Leier V. (2015) Not just a social media platform: Facebook use in a German tertiary learning environment. An ethnographic study. University of Stockholm, Sweden: Colloquium. (Oral Presentations)
  • Leier V. (2015) Podcasts in German teaching. College of Education, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. (Oral Presentations)
  • Leier V. (2015) Facebook used in a German language class at tertiary level. (Discussion/Working Papers)
  • Leier V. (2014) Connecting Language Theory and Learning: Activity theory applied to a connectivist environment for second language acquisition in a social networking site. Antwerp, Belgium: XVIth International CALL Research Conference (ANTWERP CALL 2014), 7-9 Jul 2014. In Proceedings: 218-227. (Conference Contributions - Published)
  • Gagnon S., Leier V. and Ogino M. (2013) Enhanced learning communities. Christchurch, New Zealand. (Oral Presentations)
  • Leier V. (2013) The use of new technology for language teaching: Social network sites applied to German language classes. University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. (Oral Presentations)
  • Leier V. (2013) Facebook as a platform for foreign language teaching. Glasgow, UK: WorldCALL Conference, 10-13 Jul 2013 (Conference Contributions - Other)
  • Leier V. (2011) Using Facebook as a Platform in Foreign Language Teaching. Christchurch, New Zealand: UC Teaching Seminar. (Oral Presentations)
  • Leier V. (2011) Using Facebook as a Platform in Foreign Language Teaching. University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. (Oral Presentations)
  • Leier V. (2011) Using Facebook as a platform in foreign language teaching. Nottingham, UK: European Computer Assisted Language Learning Conference 2011, 31 Aug-3 Sep 2011 (Conference Contributions - Other)
  • Leier V. and Alm A. (2011) Deutschlernen mit Sozialen Netzwerken. Goethe Institut, Wellington, New Zealand: Bi-annual German Teachers Conference 2011, 16-19 Jul 2011 (Conference Contributions - Other)
  • Leier V. (2010) Facebook and the Goethe Institut's Film competition. University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand: UC Teaching and Learning Unit: Show case on peripheral technologies. (Oral Presentations)
  • Leier V. (2010) German Language Class Podcast Project. Amherst, CA, USA: Calico Conference: Enhancing Language Teaching: Research, innovation and evaluation in CALL, 10-12 Jun 2010 (Conference Contributions - Other)