Who knew that one of the best tools for learning a new language could be free? Well, Duolingo isn’t just free: It’s addictive, it’s effective, and it might just be ready for the classroom. Using Duolingo for education is a relatively novel idea for an app which is only three years old but has amassed 60 million users.
Educators remain skeptical of implementing new technology in the classroom. So why should Duolingo be any different?
In the developing world, access to smartphones is rising exponentially as prices continue to fall and devices become more advanced. Because teachers aren’t easy to find in countries like Malaysia, Mozambique, and Ethiopia–and because many of these teachers aren’t fluent in English–technology could become the dominant method of creating a generation of educated workers who can contribute to society and rise out of poverty.
Why Use Duolingo for Education? What Is It?
Here’s a short video description about the app. Duolingo has language support for Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portugese, and many more. Currently, however, the makers of the app are focusing on adding support for the teaching of English from these other languages. Do you think using Duolingo for education is a smart idea?
Teachers will now be able to sign up for the educator’s version of the smartphone app, thereby allowing them to monitor the progress of their students. As always, Duolingo will be watching as well, teaching itself to become a better teacher by figuring out how students learn most efficiently. For example, should adjectives or plurals be introduced first? Experiments like these once took years to run, and now take a few short months. Duolingo for education could mark an interesting turning point in the developing world, but probably won’t change the way we approach learning in the US.
The app remains free by having its users translate parts of the internet after each lesson, and for those that don’t have smartphones, worry not: There is an offline version as well. Have you checked out Duolingo?