Using technology to enhance language learning

I’m often asked which are the best apps and websites one can use to learn a language quickly and conveniently. The landscape is rapidly changing, so this is my answer as at July 2014, keeping in mind my answers may change in a few months.

Duolingo – probably number 1 right now. incorporates gamification features, making it fun and addictive. Social media integration adds motivation.  Web-based, iOS and Android apps available.

Memrise – flashcard based. not as fun as Duolingo, but helpful in picking up vocabulary. Web-based, iOS and Android apps available.

Social-based language learning platforms like Livemocha, Fluentify, italki and various others.

Many of the apps on the Apple App Store or Android Marketplace are well-designed and useful for beginner language learners.

However, language learning is inherently a social exercise. Unless you’re learning a language purely as an academic exercise, surely the purpose is to communicate with others. Apps like Duolingo and Memrise are great, but in playing around with them, I quickly realise the most important, and best, part of language learning is missing: talking to real people.

Social-based learning platforms address this issue to some extent. But the quality of tutors are highly variable, and the nature of language exchange is such that everyone wants to speak the language they are learning.

Ultimately, all these technology applications are great, and some people do acquire a basic level of fluency by solely using these applications.

Sometimes people ask me if Euroasia has been affected by the advent of such technologies.

Yes and No.

Yes, because people have come to expect instant results. Often apps and websites promise the world, without having to put much work.  This creates unrealistic expectations.

No, because these applications give people a taste of the language and leaves them wanting more.

Euroasia has started offering  live online language classes, and will be introducing audio clips etc to supplement traditional classes. If you wish to join us for our language courses at our physical locations in Auckland and Wellington, our July intake starts next week.

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Pleasant surprise from National Bank

OK this has nothing to do with language learning, but it's a good story anyway. Today I received an email from Heather, my National Bank manager which started like this:

Just letting you know I have taken the liberty of changing your account charge so that you will get a cheaper offering on your business chq account.

She went on to explain that she will drop our bank account fees and transaction fees, generating some savings.  I can't remember the last time a supplier wrote to let me know they are dropping their fees. You don't expect suppliers to do that, definitely not a bank. So if you're looking for a great bank manager for your business, call Heather.  Her details here:

Heather Samu | Manager Business Banking National Bank of New Zealand |231 Dominion Road Auckland |
P 64-9-252-2307 | F 64-9-632-0027 |M 0274 526 390
Email her at heather.samu@nbnz.co.nz

OK, the second surprise from National Bank this week. I was playing around with my Iphone (I keep discovering new apps) and found this cheap cialis online

189280&mt=8″ target=”_blank”>Iphone app by National Bank.  It's called iBank. It's pretty amazing. You can do all your online banking using this app, and best of all it's free to use.  I have been complaining about National Bank's online banking platform, which is some way behind that of ASB and even Kiwibank, but this one Iphone offering pretty much makes up for some of the deficiencies in the browser-bassed online banking facility.

I took a screenshot here:

National Bank Iphone app
National Bank Iphone app

I don't know why they haven't marketed this widely. I have to say it's pretty good.

On the topic of Iphone apps, I'm seeing more and more language learning offerings out there. I do wonder if we should look at creating an iphone app to supplement our language courses.

p/s: Thanks Sam for showing me how to

take the iphone screenshot.

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