The school year begins and brings the topic of how to educate yourself effectively. Cloud technologies provide a variety of fun ways to learn, for both children and adults.
We will introduce useful educational applications in a series of several articles of Cloud and education:
Learn a foreign language using the cloud
Helping tools for school
Learning in a playful way
Cloud technologies provide a plenty of useful applications that make our lives easier. Have you ever thought of using a smartphone as a help in learning a foreign language? There are many different applications available from your laptop, tablet or smartphone to enrich your vocabulary, improve pronunciation and access native speakers /a person who speaks a language from birth / anytime, anywhere. Aliter Technologies experts have prepared an overview and evaluation of these applications.
Preply is a platform for searching and managing language courses provided via Skype. In the first step, the user enters his / her preferences, such as reasons (education, career, travel, etc.), current level of language skills, preferred time and price of courses. Subsequently, Preply generates a list of recommended trainers, including profile and student evaluation. The reservation of the course as well as the payment is made via Preply, where each trainer sets the price individually.
Similar functionality is provided by applications such as Verbling, Italki, LOI English, MyLingo TRIP and others.
- From the comfort of home, the student can attend an individual language course with a native trainer at the preferred time.
- An extensive database of trainers and languages (more than 20) is available, with over 2000 trainers available for English.
- Intuitive UI accessible via mobile applications.
- The platform provides a simple entry form on which the recommended trainers are given priority. When choosing a trainer, short videos about the trainer are helpful.
- Possibility of completing an online test to assess the current level of language skills.
- Guarantee of refund or change of trainer if the trainer cancels the course.
- Ability to cancel or change 4 hours before training.
- The form of teaching (via Skype) may not be suitable for some students.
- A small number of Slovak trainers are available for complete beginners.
- The company does not guarantee the quality of trainers, there are also students and junior trainers in the databases. It is the student’s responsibility, based on profile and assessment, to choose the appropriate trainer.
Each trainer sets the price individually, trainings are available in the range of 1 – 35 Euros per hour.
Drops offers language learning in a playful way through the mobile app. More than 30 languages are available. In the free version, the user has 5 free minutes per day to use the app. Teaching is realized in a playful form, which requires putting words, assigning pictures to the right words, etc. New words are gradually added to the user to expand their vocabulary. When you purchase the premium version, the app is unlocked indefinitely depending on the subscription version.
- An effective, fun and interactive method for expanding vocabulary.
- Choice of vocabulary by subject (e.g. weather, travel, politics, home, computers, clothing, music, etc.)
- Possibility of teaching from any place (public transport, park, etc.)
- App does not provide grammar, writing and reading in a foreign language.
- High price of a paid version.
Price: Free version is available for 5 min. daily. Unlimited version is paid monthly 9.99 Eur, yearly 69.96 Eur (monthly installment 5.83 Eur) and lifetime license is available for 159.99 Eur.
ELSA is an interesting app focused on improving English pronunciation. It is accessible exclusively through a smartphone and uses artificial intelligence to provide instant pronunciation feedback through over 1,200 courses. At each course, the student reads the words or sentences displayed in the application, then the system evaluates the pronunciation level and displays the correct or incorrect pronunciation of a letter or syllable in the word. Courses are divided into different levels according to the types of pronunciation (eg r, short and long, TH, etc.) In addition to the possibility of teaching through levels, it is possible to choose topics such as. technology, travel, medicine, relationships, etc.
- The application has an entrance test that lasts max. 10 minutes. Based on the results of the test, a study plan is created, based on which the student can focus on the pronunciation of problematic words.
- The student always can listen to the recorded sound of their own pronunciation and compare it to the ideal pronunciation.
- The app also has a dictionary that in addition to the pronunciation of the word will provide videos (especially from TED conferences), in which you can see and hear the pronunciation of words.
- Ability to set up regular daily notifications to practice pronunciation.
- The application, like Drops, focuses on a certain area of language learning, in this case pronunciation. For students, it is necessary to add the area of vocabulary, grammar and writing by other forms of teaching.
- High price paid version.
Price: Limited free edition available. The full version can be tested for 7 days. The price of the full version is 4.29 Eur per month, 9.49 Eur quarterly or 31.99 Eur annually.
FluentU is an application that uses YouTube videos to teach foreign languages. There are over 3000 videos categorized by difficulty (six levels) and themes (eg culture, business, fashion, catering, etc.) for the English language. Some of the videos focus on teaching grammar, phrases, idioms, or the correct use of words (e.g., every time vs. all the time, usually vs. actually, Then vs. Than, and more). When you click on a video, the pronunciation and interpretation keywords are shown first. After the video is played, there are interactive captions available that can be interpreted by simply dragging and dropping words, sometimes with illustrations. Upon completion of the video, the student can verify their knowledge by quiz.
- Support in 9 languages (eg French, Spanish, Italian, German, but also Japanese and others)
- The app allows you to learn grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation through interesting videos.
- Ability to set personal daily destinations.
- The application does not allow you to teach writing in a foreign language.
- High cost paid version (the highest of the apps being compared).
Price: A 14-day free trial is available. The full version is priced at $ 30 per month or $ 240 per year.
Note: This article uses screenshots of applications.