Did Apple accidentally invent a cool language learning app?

“What is today’s date?”
“It’s now Friday, September 20, 2013.”

Mike S. Boyle is one of the authors of American English FileYou can follow him on Twitter at @heyboyle or join one of his webinars on September 26 and 27. This post originally appeared on Mike’s blog mikesboyle.com.

I’ve just upgraded my iPhone to the new iOS 7 operating system and discovered some amazing improvements to Siri, the virtual assistant that responds to your voice. The old Siri barely understood a word I said, but the all-new Siri understands my English perfectly. Not only that, it even perfectly comprehends my far-from-perfect Mandarin Chinese.

So, what is the potential for the new Siri as a language learning app? How can it help learners of English?

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busuu.com: The State of Language Learning Pt. 1/2

busuu.com  is inconceivably big. It is in fact the largest social network for language learning in the world with over 30,000,000 users from 200 countries. That’s more than the population of Uzbekistan. It’s more than the populations of the Czech Republic, Sweden and Austria combined. It’s more than 800 times the size of Liechtenstein, the homeland … Read more

The Open Education Alliance: A Brave New World

During TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Monday Udacity‘s CEO, Sebastian Thrun, announced the launch of the Open Education Alliance (OEA). The alliance represents the efforts of Google, AT&T and a range of educational organizations (Khan Academy, cloudera, etc.) who are combining forces with a view of developing and providing learning tools to help … Read more

Vocabla: The Words On The Street

The folks over at Polish startup LangApp have come up with something rather special; a heady mix of vocabulary tutor, social network and shareable media library. It’s a potent brew. Vocabla is a powerful demonstration of how addictive language learning can be whilst also being both effective and entirely free. Its premise is a simple … Read more

More news for Knewton

More interesting news from adaptive learning technology provider Knewton today, as they announced their latest publisher partnership, this time with Cambridge University Press, and the opening of a new office in London. The partnership will see the Knewton API integrated with the Cambridge LMS platform, which currently serves over 250,000 students and teachers globally. The move … Read more

Rosetta Stone Buys Up Lexia Learning

It’s appears truer then ever that a rolling stone gathers no moss as Rosetta Stone follows its recent acquisition of Livemocha by taking on the services and systems of Lexia Learning. The $22.5 million deal represents Rosetta Stone’s leading edge strategy of moving towards being an education solutions provider in U.S. schools as opposed to exclusively … Read more

Lost in the crowd? Crowdfunding in ELT

Now that web 2.0 is passé, and we’ve all got used to the concept of crowd-sourcing and the ‘wisdom of the crowd’, one of the hot crowd-related trends of the last couple of years has been crowdfunding. You may have heard tales of people raising huge sums of money in weeks on sites like Kickstarter. So, could crowdfunding have an impact on ELT? Well, why not.

Augmented Reality: The Edtech From Way Out

The closer we get to the year 2015, the less certain I am that I’ll actually be able to purchase a hoverboard with which to zoom around town. Although the tech-laden utopia of Back To The Future Part 2  has been celebrated for its prescient creativity, I’ve come to realise that there comes a time when I have to manage my own sci-fi-fuelled expectations.

The great EdTech disruption in ELT

To some extent, the whole concept of EdTech is based on the possibilities for disruption engendered by online and mobile tech. The belief is that the “education space” (ugh) is ripe for disruption, and the “factory model” of education we currently impose on our youth is rightly about to be swept away by an EdTech revolution. But what does EdTech disruption mean for ELT?

MOOC shmooc?

Image by Flickr user nkcphoto. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Image by Flickr user nkcphoto. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A few weeks ago, Laurie wrote the first of five posts on the Edtech trends of ELT, covering online learning. In his post, he wrote:

it’s only a matter of time before someone is teaching English via a MOOC – either delivering courses through the existing platforms or creating an ELT MOOC (honestly, why has no-one actually done that already?).

Here’s why: there’s a good chance it won’t work.

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Hugh’s Reviews: Lingro

hughsreviews

Hello there –

Welcome to Hugh’s Reviews. This is the first in a series of posts that aim to explore and consider a range of different tech tools and sites aimed at ELT practitioners and at EFL students. As the number of such things seems to increase exponentially week on week, it becomes ever harder to simply keep abreast of what’s out there, let alone to find sufficient time to digest them and critically appraise them. I shall be exploring things I’ve seen touted and praised – and seeing if they merit the hype.

To begin, I’m going to talk about a site I first encountered courtesy of Russell Stannard called Lingro. It modestly proclaims itself as “the coolest dictionary known to hombre“! And Russell himself was almost as enthusiastic, calling “this fabulous tool” “the best website” he found in 2011.

Lingro

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It’s In The Game: Gamification and Language Learning Pt. 2

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Following on from our part 1 post I’m taking up the question that was left hanging in the air: what does gamification really mean for language learning?

The answer, as unsatisfactory and contradictory as it may sound, is: it means what it’s always meant. ‘Good’ language teachers will always instinctively apply such concepts to engage and help their learners. The technology utilised in this approach could range from a piece of paper to a room full of iPads. The tech is the vehicle for delivering the solution, not the solution itself.

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micro-interview: Hugh Dellar

eltjam micro-interview

140char-bio-hugh-dellarHugh DellarTeacher / teacher trainer: University of Westminster. Writer: National Geographic Learning. 60s music nut. Arsenal fan. Father of two!

1. What do you do?

Teach, train, write coursebooks, give teacher development sessions, blog and so on. Also getting involved with apps and YouTube lessons.

2. Why do you do it?

It beats having a real job, doesn’t it! I do it all for the only reason anyone should ever do anything – because I love it!

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