Duolingo comes up trumps

duolingoDuolingo is an online language learning site which has been very popular globally because it runs across all devices , is easily accessible, is free, is constructed intelligently and has a very positive attitude to promoting languages acquisition skills. It is not perfect but students are successful very quickly on it and so they are motivated to improve and do well. We run a paid language learning site at school to support and supplement our learning and it really is comprehensive. Duolingo , though , was something which made my year 9s very enthusiastic this morning. I got them to try Cram, LingoDingo, Duolingo and Babbel and then write a short review on EdMettle.Edmettle One of the best ways to get new millennium students to learn is to get them to review things or something based on some solid knowledge they have. They use the paid site Education Perfect all the time and love it because it is thorough, customisable, offers local and global competitions and runs across all devices. Not everyone can have a paid app. Even if you love an app, it is good to have alternatives. There were periods of silence, periods of consultation and collaboration with each other or me, periods of silence and intense concentration, laughter and then we broke into a big discussion of the relative merits of different social media platforms. These students love to have access to online learning, videos and then a reliable and trustworthy guide through it all. They like adults to be their sounding board and validators. They were steering towards Duolingo so we talked about why they liked it. One reason was it ran easily on their iPads. They liked winning awards. They liked a site where they could go back and pick up where they left off. They also thought the idea of being able to get accreditation through Duolingo testing was a good idea for global acknowledgement of language learning. Duolingo now has some big , important support like Harvard and LinkedIn and the site runs in so many different languages. We can increasingly share and collaborate globally because we are improving linguistic competence in our students and ourselves.

Teachable Moments – Montreal

One of the advantages and a definite strength of the internet is that we can now share our skills ,knowledge, ideas and practices locally, nationally and globally. What we do can now be available to a much wider audience and has the possibility of gathering a range of further ideas and input from a broad range of people. This is a growth mindset. We are no longer operating in a vacuum and we don’t need to be working in a closed space. Roy Lyster from McGill University is sharing his ideas about teacher collaboration in Montreal and how they are developing discussions and projects between teachers across French, Spanish and English so that they are streamlining the delivery of content and strengthening the linguistic and literacy capabilities of their students. There is plenty of information out there about how languages improve your brain but Montreal is specifically looking at how moving across languages in the curriculum or looking at how different languages are delivering content can improve literacy skills. 2015 and we need to be global communicators. We need to have a way of utilising our language and linguistic resources and ideas to promote thinking and intellectual growth. We need to look at how the skills and concepts learned in one language can be utilised in another and the ways in which second language learning enhances the knowledge of a first language. Given we have an ever changing world population which is moving from place to place for whatever reason then I think it is important we understand these concepts of how we can collaborate as teachers through the use of different language to promote a dynamic learning environment for our students who might be in Canada one year and Australia the next and then maybe onto Vietnam. It would actually be interesting to see the chosen or forced itinerary of some students and their families and their travels across cultures and languages. Getting real data about real people would make these teachable moments come to life.

Change the way you see the world

second languages This infographic was published on the Business Insider Australia site via movehub. If you go to the  Business Insider link you will see which second languages are important and established in each area of the world. The information is astounding and is showing just how much we are moving, how populations are bringing their culture and languages to different nations and how critical it is to be multilingual/plurilingual in our global society. Business is conducted in various languages and there are political implications for this . Politicians ought to be multilingual/plurilingual too so that they can establish good relationships with their citizens, neighbours and international counterparts. Will the language maps stay like this or shall we keep shifting languages around the planet? If that becomes the case, then speaking more than one language will be essential to success and capacity to live, work and study anywhere. The Business Insider site also has a video on the comparative sizes of countries. I was interested to discover that Australia can fit inside Brazil. In a classroom it is important to understand these sorts of things because our students come from everywhere and what we consider big in Australia might be considered enormous somewhere else. We’ll get in a car in Adelaide and drive to Melbourne. In other countries that is unthinkable.We need to look at how the world is changing and build that into our approach and understanding of our students.

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