So, things are not always exactly what they seem – I’ll get back to that in a minute…
Imagine learning a language in idle moments in your day, waiting in line, sitting in traffic, typically lost time.
Ian’s App this go around is Duolingo. Duolingo is a neat app that “gamifies” learning a new language. It was Apple’s 2013 App of the Year. The app takes you though mini-games that teaches and tests reading, writing and speaking skills. Languages include Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and English. Mini-games take 5-10 minutes and are powerful learning exercises. You can set goals based on mini-games completed in a day and challenge friends on each other’s progress.
Imagine learning a new language during idle times throughout your day. It’s super easy and really fun. I challenged my family to learn Spanish. If we meet the challenge, I’ll take everyone to Spain!
Back to the “not exactly what it seems” thing. Duolingo is free because while learning a new language you are actually performing a service. You are translating web pages. Part of the “game” assesses your competency while learning – another part then feeds you actual translation tasks, although you’d never know. It’s called “crowdsourced” translation. The hundreds of thousands of folks playing the game are unwittingly collaborating to translate millions of words and phrases.
The app is the brain child of Carnegie Mellon University professor Luis von Ahn. This is not the first multi-purposed internet tool Ahn has developed. You have almost certianly used another Ahn “twofer” tool that does more than you think (More Info).