Author Archives: Toffler

Have you ever traveled to a country and wished that you had some local friends to help show you around and deal with the language? We’re experimenting with this idea for the China Travel 2.0 tour.

China Travel 2.0 is bringing a number of travel editors for a two-week trip through China in early June. Their trip will look at the changes China is undergoing and how technology plays a role in that, with a specific emphasis on technology’s affect on travel. When traveling internationally knowing another language is incredibly useful,  so when we were asked to help them learn Chinese, we were ready and willing!

While Shanghai and Beijing are relatively foreigner friendly, a little bit of travel Chinese can go a long way for enhancing the experience. Imagine not being able to express thanks (xiexie, 谢谢) or say that you don’t want to purchase that tourist trinket (don’t want, buyao, 不要). Specifically, italki is helping the travelers find Chinese teachers through our Language Marketplace. We’re also helping the travelers find friends in each of the cities they are visiting, so they can get a local perspective on the best things to experience.

When the tour returns to Shanghai, we’ll get our chance to meet the travelers: Craig, Linda, Donna, Julie, Janelle, Marina, and the team at Trip Films. We’ll be curious to hear all about their experience in China, and we hope they learn some Chinese along the way!

italki around the Web

April 19th, 2009 | Posted by Toffler in media - (3 Comments)

If you’re looking to connect with italki in places you already hang out around the web, you can view our social network profiles on these sites:

italki on Twitter – Follow Us!

italki Facebook Page – Become a Fan!

italki Facebook Application – Ask questions and connect to italki from Facebook!

italki Flickr Pictures – View pictures of the italki team and events

youtube italki videos on YouTube – Watch italki’s tutorial and funny videos!

myspace italki on MySpace

And in Chinese

italki videos on Tudou

youkuitalki videos on Youku

italki on Fanfou – Follow us on the Chinese Twitter

Last night was our very first italki Language Exchange Meetup!  More than 45 people, from at least 5 different countries, came out on Wednesday night to chat with each other.  Being based in Shanghai, Chinese and English were the most popular languages, but we also had people who spoke Korean, Italian, Spanish, French, German, and Japanese.  We also ran some activities to help people get to know each other and get comfortable with participating in language exchanges.

Everyone seemed to have a good time — check out the pictures:
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It always makes an impression on us when we meet people who tell us that this was their first time speaking to a foreigner.  Many of the attendees told us about the friends they had made through italki, in addition to the help they received on learning a language.  Hearing stories like this make us feel that italki really has a role to play in bringing people together.  Based on everyone’s encouragement, we’ll definitely be holding more language exchange meetups in the future.

If you’re an italki member, and you think you’d like to organize a meetup in your city, please contact Toffler (at) italki (dot) com.  We’re thinking about Bangkok, Thailand and Seoul, Korea in the near future, but we don’t want to discourage other cities that have vibrant communities.  As always, let us know what you think — and keep on sharing languages and cultures!

The team

New version of!

January 20th, 2009 | Posted by Toffler in announcement - (2 Comments)

Today a new version of italki went live!  There have been many changes to the layout, design, navigation, and features of italki.  A couple of changes we’d like to highlight are to Answers and the Language Index.

When you ask a question, you will be able to add additional information to clarify your question; however, you can not edit your original question.  While the question is still open (ie within 14days of initially being asked, with no ‘best answer’ having been chosen), respondents can edit their answer.  This may help respondents more accurately answer the question after it has been clarified by the asker.

Members can also now vote as to whether questions as related to language learning or not related.  Three votes indicating it’s related to language learning will move it into a category of “Educational questions.”  Members can then decide if they only want to see educational questions related to language learning.  We hope this will help those who are focused on language studies more easily access relevant questions, while giving others a chance to ask cultural and similar questions on the side.

There is now a quick “Ask a question” box on the right side of every Answers page, so you can ask questions more quickly and easily.

Language Index
The language index page for each language is now a one-stop shop for everything related to that language.  We’ve aggregated all the different pages and put them in each language’s index page.  That includes self-study resources like: podcasts, videos, documents, websites, and Knowledge, as well as interactive resources like: language partners, teachers, groups and answers.  You can still post on the blackboard of that language, too.

The new Podcasts and Videos tabs makes it much easier and quicker to find and share multimedia resources for learning that language.

Start browsing around the most recent version of italki to get an idea of the new features and layout, then tell us what you think.  We encourage you to send your feedback on these or any other features you’d like to see to or leave a message on our Contact Us page. We’re always looking for new ideas to make italki better.

italki and the China 2.0 Tour

November 18th, 2008 | Posted by Toffler in event - (Comments Off on italki and the China 2.0 Tour)

China 2.0 Tour

Last week bloggers and other tech people from North American and Europe come to China as part of theChina 2.0 tour organized by The China Business Network, Web2Asia, and CNReviews.  We were privileged enough to be included in their busy schedule when they were in Shanghai on Thursday and Friday.  Among the tour participants we were fortunate enough to meet were:

Robert Scoble
Shel Israel
Mike Butcher
Melissa Sconyers
Sheila Scarborough
Ernst Jan Pfauth
Bart Lapers
David Feng
Ryan McLaughlin

As well as many other awesome people!

You also can watch videos of italki’s presentations to the China2.0 groups on Kyte.  To find out about more events or videos with italki, follow us on twitter:

This photo was taken at our office with the China2.0 participants last Friday.