We are very happy to announce that italki now supports Google Hangouts, FaceTime and QQ as alternative VOIP / Instant Messenger / Chat software programs.

Why should I add Google Hangouts, FaceTime or QQ?
italki wants to provide our users with the greatest, most widely accepted range of VOIP / Instant Messenger / Chat software programs. While SKYPE is the most popular choice, we want to give our users the full benefit of choice so that they are not limited to just SKYPE.

We also know that in some regions, certain chat software have better connectivity than others. For example, when trying to call Chinese users, QQ is the software that has the best connectivity.

So go ahead and update your communication software choices and connect with the world!

italki supports the following Voice Over IP / IM / Chat software:

To add different Voice Over IP / IM / Chat programs

1. Hover over your small Profile Picture icon on the upper right hand corner of the screen and click on Edit Profile

2. Scroll down the page to the Contact Information section.  Click on it which will open up the sections where you can input different Voice Over IP / IM / Chat user account information.

3. Enter your Voice Over IP / IM / Chat user account information for the programs or services which you use.

IMsoftwares

It’s week 6 of the italki World Cup Language Challenge.  (Yes, Germany has won the Cup, but a more pressing and curious question remains: who will win the italki World Cup Challenge?).

Or, as many of you may be quick to point out, what does “winning” the italki challenge really mean?  How do I read the leaderboard? Should I boo or cheer? (“Cheer” is the answer to the last one – learning a language is good for you).

Offical 2014 italki World Cup Language Challenge Leaderboard

Short Answer:

The Country ranking attempts to answer the question “Participants from which country have taken the most classes during the World Cup Challenge (on average)?”.

The Language ranking attempts to answer the question “Students of which language showed the most dedication to taking classes (on average)?”. This latter one got a bit confusing because many of the participants are actively studying multiple languages.

Long Answer:

Basic Methodology.

Trying to put together a ranking of groups of people as diverse as italki users is always a strange proposition – very few fit well in easily-defined groups. Ultimately we have had to take some shortcuts to be able to process the data and present it in some sort of a consistent fashion.

The “top-10″ rankings you see have been limited only to “teams” of 4 or more. By “teams” here we mean ways of grouping participants.

Country teams.

The obvious way was by country. Even here, however, we had to make a decision about what counts as one’s country, as we have both countries of origin, as well as countries in which our users live.

For the top ten by country we decided to allocate students into teams based on their profile listing of the country of origin, add up all their session hours, and divide by number of people on the team. The reason for us using an average was to find a way to rank these “teams” on an overall metric.

So, for example, the average participant from Mexico has spent 19.09 hours taking lessons with an italki teacher.

As you can quickly imagine – this has flaws. The “Angola” team wound up beng just one student, who has completed over 50 hours of lessons since the beginning of the challenge. Trying to defray the statistical anomalies like this, but still give a shout-out to the dedicated lone representatives of their countries, we have dropped teams with less than three students.

Why 3?

Frankly, we needed a number that would not eliminate too many teams, but could still be seen as a team-effort. Yes, it is rather arbitrary.
Target Language teams.

The math on this just got a little weird. Many of our participants are taking multiple languages. Some are even taking languages which are not listed in our site (one of our more prolific users who has racked up numerous hours in Tagalog is actually learning Ilokano from his teacher- a language we do not have formally listed on the site yet).

After loads of hand-wringing and fights with our spreadsheet programs, we have decided to use this metric in a simple and crude way:

Your target language “team” is determined by what language you have studied most of in the period of World Cup Challenge. Then, all the hours that you have taken regardless of language get tallied up and divided by the number of other members of your “team”.

Yup, its very crude. Cantonese and Shanghainese dialects got dropped entirely for example. That said, the reason we chose this approach is: although it’s easy to tabulate the number of hours in a specific language, it is much harder to figure out how to divide that number to find the average.

Do we divide them by total number of participants of the challenge? That would be unfair to the small dedicated groups learning Catalan or pretty much every language but English.

Do we divide them by number of people who have at all studied this language? That also yields meaningless results, as it doesn’t represent the amount of effort many of our students have put into studying a total of 3 or 4 languages.

Ultimately we decided that a participant’s “primary” language will be his or her “team”, and created this relatively abstract measure. What the ranking says is that, on average, people studying Spanish (as a primary language) have spent approximately 7.51 hours taking language classes.
Final Thoughts.

We do not want our participants to miss out on the glory, so we are planning to do a final ranking by number of hours of all the users who have completed the challenge target. These will be individual rankings, with a breakdown of number of hours learned in at least their top-two or top-three languages.

Doing this breakdown every week, however, would be very distracting for our team, and would take away from many other activities that are necessary to keep the site running: community management, customer service, handling the publication of articles, and promoting italki resources to inspired language-learners all over the world.

Most importantly, we feel that the real winners of the challenge, whether completers or not, will be those who can look at the “before” video and the “after” video, and see how much they have accomplished in understanding another language and culture in avery short span of time.

By the way, when your before and after videos are ready, please send them to support@italki.com.

Good luck everyone in the last few days of the challenge!

 

 

 

Brian Foley is one of our newest Community Tutors.  If we had a contest for best Teacher Introduction video, he would win it hands-down.

We were so impressed with his video making ability, was asked if he might be able to make a Language Challenge video for us… to which he enthusiastically said yes and created. We had no idea what he was going to create but were pleasantly surprised by this masterpiece!

This video not only is hilarious to watch but it really inspires you to take the Language Challenge!

Even though the Challenge has already begun, you can still join until June 15th!
(you’ll just have to work extra hard to catch up!)

Sign Up For the 2014 italki World Cup Language Challenge

Brian is looking for new students now and he probably can do some video editing work should you need it as well.

In our last language challenge, we found that:

85% of the Challengers who actually put up a Public Video Pledge actually completed the Challenge (compared to only 48% of those who did not).  (See the previous Challenge Review)

So… we’re offering this bonus again to help you complete the Challenge!

(and also because we’re cool like that!)

If you’ve signed up for the 2014 italki World Cup Language Challenge, we’re giving away even more ITC to motivate you to succeed!  Do you really want to complete the challenge?  Use peer pressure (in a good way) to help yourself achieve your language learning goal! Life Hacks research has shown that if you put yourself up to something by doing it in public, you follow through because others are watching. Things that you put on the Web have a better chance of getting done!

BONUS 50ITC! Upload your Language Challenge Public Video Pledge

Make a Public Video Pledge by uploading a video to YouTube or Youku before you begin your first session (or your first few sessions).

What should you say in your Public Video Pledge?

lindsay_screenshot (more…)

Sign up for the 2014 italki World Cup Language Challenge!

reachyourlanguagegoallllThis summer, people from all nations will celebrate the greatest sporting event in the world – The World Cup!

In honor of this event, italki will be hosting the 2014 italki World Cup Language Challenge where language learners all over the world come together to learn 100’s of different languages taught by 1000’s of different teachers.

Just like the World Cup, our Language Challenge brings people of different backgrounds and cultures together to work for a common goal.

 

To take the Language Challenge, you will need to follow these steps:


language_challenge_2014worldcup1. PLEDGE 20USD
You will get this pledge back when you complete the Challenge. Deadline to take the pledge is June 15, 2014

2. TAKE 25 HOURS OF LESSONS IN 2 MONTHS
With any Community Tutor or Professional Teacher from June 1st until July 31st (think ~3 lessons a week)

3. WIN 40USD
Get your 20USD pledge back AND 40USD in italki credits.  We are paying you to learn a new language

Click here to Sign Up for the 2014 italki World Cup Language Challenge now!
And finally become fluent in a new language!

pnz1v-lexie-thumbsup-300x280_04903y04903y000000What Previous Challengers Say!
I always wanted to learn French but always had an excuse to never put in the time to truly learn it. The italki Language Challenge was the perfect opportunity to finally start learning French. It was tough but it worked!” -Lexi

You can do it! See Before and After Videos from Winners of our previous Language Challenge!