The learning tag feature blog posts that mention learning a new language, with useful information on best practices. Some posts talk about apps and online learning, too.


Duolingo Free App Brings Classrooms Online

Language Learning

Duolingo Free App brings online learning to classrooms

Duolingo Free App for Schoolchildren, Teachers

A new app that has been on the market for over two years will help schoolchildren learn a new language, for free!

In developing countries like Malaysia, Ethiopia, and Mozambique, learning a new language such as English is seen as a ticket out of poverty. Well, at least a certain level of proficiency. The need for English language teachers is unquestionable. However, despite the demand, English teachers in these countries cannot speak English either.

For two developers, and co-founders of the popular app, Duolingo, Luis von Ahn and Severin Hacker, believe it could aid language learners where resources are limited.

Duolingo first appeared on the App Store over two and a half years ago and today is holds an estimated 60 million users worldwide. But it’s not just benefiting those where access to good education is a problem; von Ahn sees it as a language educational tool for classrooms the world over.

With this in mind, von Ahn and his colleague Hacker are launching a new platform, ‘Duolingo for Schools’: an app that will enable teachers to track students’ progress and activity, and subsequently tailor lectures and classroom exercises.

“It’s hard to know how many, but we think right now we have a few thousand teachers using Duolingo without this feature. I think this will multiply that by a factor of ten easily,” von Ahn states.

Duolingo’s success is down to an increase in the activity of online learning, and the fact that it’s perceived by many that you can get a quality education for free online; an idea that has gone mainstream as the online learning space swells with newer and better learning apps, and even learning games!

Making money for free!

How does a free app pay the bills? The co-founders developed a business model to help pay for the free service. After a student finishes a lesson in Duolingo, they can test how much they have acquired by translating a piece of text in a news article or the like. With companies like Buzzfeed and CNN who pay Duolingo for these crowdsourced translations, according to von Ahn, it is Duolingo’s millions of students who churn out several hundred articles a day.

With all these advantages, some language academics have cautioned the use of apps like Duolingo, saying it can never replace the teacher, or the textbook, particularly at the university level.

“You can review vocabulary and practice verb forms, but it’s not giving you any cultural context.”

“You can review vocabulary and practice verb forms, but it’s not giving you any cultural context,” says Elise Mueller who’s an academic technology consultant specializing in language teaching and technology at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Whether or not Duolingo was designed for the classroom, teachers started incorporating it into their curriculum and since the original app wasn’t designed for this, teachers have had to make some unconventional workarounds. But ‘Duolingo for Schools’ will change all that.

Do you use Duolingo? If not, would you consider learning a new language through it? Let us know in the comments below.

The STAR Team

Source: Wired

Top 6 tips: Learn a new language

Learn a new language

Speech bubbles / STAR Translation Imaging

Learn a new language with these quick tips

Do you dream of learning Italian, French or another language? You’re really motivated but don’t know where to start. We’ve put together six tips to help you learn a new language.

Organize your time
Make sure you have time set aside to learn your new language. This could be after work, during lunchtime, holidays or at weekends. Establish a schedule for how long you need and reserve your free time. And stick to the plan!
Learn with others
It’s more motivating and friendly. Go and spend time in the country, have regular foreign correspondence with someone or even attend a class to meet new people so you can all learn together. It’s easier to communicate, exchange and learn and laugh at your mistakes.
Learn phrases for everyday life
Local expressions, idioms and phrases like “having craic” in Ireland can enrich your experience and language learning abilities. Talking like a local can make your experience more natural. Simple expressions for communication are very useful and are impregnated faster in our mind. Conversation guides exist, they are fun and simple but learn the basic before diving into complex imperatives, orders and asking for directions.
Focus on vocabulary in topics that you’re passionate about
If you are a sports fan, learn sports vocabulary; use your hobbies as a pretext — a springboard — it’s much easier!
Language and culture
Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and the language will follow. Watch movies in their original version, cook typical recipes, listen to music: it’s very good to learn grammar. Discover and learn, this is a very good way to immerse yourself into any language.
Be brave, dare to talk
Make a fool of yourself; speaking a language is one of the best way to improve it. Just keep talking, again and again. Don’t be afraid to look stupid and make mistakes because they’ll happen eventually. Learning from our mistakes is what helps us to improve. The more you talk the better you become.

Learning a new language? Share your methods with us.

The STAR Team