Get your languages on

DuolingoDuolingo is free and a very popular site with my students:

I like this website because it teaches you French in lots of different ways, like it teaches us with a mixture of pictures, listening, sentences, pronouncing and writing and I like how they’re kind of like games which makes it more fun!

I really liked Duolingo because of its variety. It’s not just asking you to translate words, it makes you translate words along with sentences, phrases, speak given sentences, listen and write down what they’ve said. So I like how every question they ask you to do something different :)

I like Duolingo because it is fun and you get points for completing activities.

I do not like Duolingo. I find it hard to use and I don’t like the heart system it uses where if you get it wrong enough times you have to start over. I also don’t like how picky it is and the way it doesn’t give you a chance if you get something wrong.

Duolingo is a very good website because it helps you learn a variety of words and is fun at the same time. It also is good for learning sentences because you can write them down after they have been said in French.

The student who doesn’t like it has a very specific approach to learning and so prefers other sites for learning languages and has responded particularly well to one in particular. He prefers a fluid, positive approach and I can’t say I blame him. I have used Duolingo myself at the higher level and can say there are some dubious translations and then you seem to get held up a bit and it’s true, you have to start over. There are opportunities in some sections to have another go. At this point in time no language MOOC is going to be perfect. We are still in the learning phases of how to create those sorts of massive and dynamic  crowd sourced learning sites. Users both adolescent and adult love the site and are free with their praise. I sometimes find my students sneaking off to learn another language. I love it when I see that kind of naughtiness in class! Students are motivated to become multilingual when they use a site like this because it just makes it easy and rewarding. It practises detail. it pronounces and translates everything. It really is comprehensive. The adults I know using it have already learnt a language and are using it to learn another. They love it because they can progress quickly and then gain some sound competence. It still needs a teacher to straighten things out a bit. It’s the reason my students love using it in class for a little while. They can ask me things, they can clarify things quickly , they can show off to their friends and encourage their friends. it is all very positive. It forces them to remember too because they are going over material a number of times in different ways. For confidence building and self-sufficiency in learning it is very good. There is an app for it but I find it works better on a computer. The app will improve as they work out how to best set it up. Duolingo is working on getting the Asian languages on board.

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