Erin O’Reilly, one of our Professional Teachers who has been teaching on italki for over a year now recently presented Going Global: Using italki to Connect with Native Speakers at the 2014 SouthWest Conference on Language Teaching in Snowbird, Utah, USA last month. We were honored that she presented on our behalf.  Below she shares her presentation with a guest blog post:

The Changing Language Classroom

April 24-26, 2014

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by Erin N. O’Reilly

 

italki_erin_screenshotLanguage teachers love technology.  Arguably, they probably love technology more than teachers from most of the other traditional subject areas.  This may be because until the advent of the Internet, getting authentic language learning materials meant travelling abroad and schlepping back yellowing newspapers, outdated magazines, and bulky cassette tapes.  Talking with native speakers?  Never a possibility unless you lived in a major metropolitan city.

For the past year, I have used the italki platform as a language teacher, connecting with language learners and enthusiasts around the globe.
While their goals and reasons for learning a language vary widely, their passion and enthusiasm to connect with native speakers is immediately obvious.

Enter italki – the platform that makes it all possible.

This past week I had the opportunity to join with language teachers from around the South Western region of the United States at an annual language teacher conference. I shared with them the research behind live, online language lessons as well as best-practices and creative ideas to get started.

As language teachers, we’ve historically been limited to classroom learning. Creating opportunities for meaningful practice with native speakers has always been limited by geography. Today the tools exist to go beyond the classroom, to connect with a world of learners and teachers. (more…)

Andrew Tracey is the author of the Spanish Learning Blog How to Learn Spanish (using free online resources!). He recently wrote a review about italki and we enjoyed it so much that we wanted to share some of the insight that he gained. Reposted with permission. Here’s a link to the original article iTalki Reviewed: Free Language Exchange Plus a Tutor-Student Marketplace (also: are tutors worth it?)

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I’ve talked about (here) how I think language exchanges are probably the single most valuable thing you can do to learn a language because that’s where you’re actually talking to – and being corrected by – a native speaker, that’s where the rubber meets the road. They’re considered an absolutely integral part of The Telenovela Method of Learning Spanish since I place such emphasis on using the Spanish you’ve just learned and I think the best possible way to do that is by trying to use it to communicate with a native speaker (because you’ll learn immediately whether you’re applying it correctly or not).

LOGO_italki_200x200Also, I know I’ve recommended italki before several times, usually stating that it was what I believed to be the best online language exchange site available (and that’s including even the language exchange sites that cost money, iTalki does not) and I still believe that. I’ve been meaning to write up a review of it for a long time now (couple years actually) but haven’t because I’ve dealing entirely with my book the last two years or so (either writing it or launching it or marketing it or…blah, something), so here it is. Not only am I going to cover the language exchange portion of the site (which is entirely free) but I’m also going to cover the tutor-student marketplace, so to speak, that’s the other part of the site (and where iTalki makes its money, if you were wondering). I’ve been using the language exchange system on iTalki for years now but only just today did I try out one of their tutors for the very first time. (more…)

How to use italki

April 20th, 2014 | Posted by Jim in announcement | feature | Motivation - (Comments Off)

icebergproject_logoIf you are learning Italian, you’ve probably read Cher Hale’s blog – The Iceberg Project.  It’s a great resource for learning Italian (and actually any language for that matter as the learning tips and advice is applicable  all).   Cher actually wrote a great How-To guide to get the most out of italki that started with her blog post How to Learn to Speak Italian Without Ever Being in Italy (or why you should hug people with big ideas for language learning)

If you’ve ever wondering if you’re really getting the most out of italki, look no further as Cher went on to write about the six main ways to use italki and provided individual blog posts with step-by-step instructions on how to do so.

We were so impressed that we just had to share these posts with everyone in the italki community.

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Patineuse (left) at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics acting as a volunteer translator.

I completed the 2014 italki New Year’s Language Challenge. The challenge was to take 20 lessons in 6 weeks.  I actually finished the Challenge in a record 10 days!  The Challenge was great for me because I was going to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and it was the perfect opportunity to improve my Japanese, French and English.  I wanted to improve these languages to at a level where I could help out as a volunteer translator.

I want to thank my favorite teachers JapaneseTutor, Jéròme, Altini and Lloyd. It was not only my Challenge, but also theirs as well :) (more…)

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Congratulations to everyone who participated in our 2014 italki New Year’s Language Challenge!  This was our largest Language Challenge to date with hundreds of Challengers learning more than 30+ languages on italki!

We had representation from Challengers from over 50 countries all over the world!

Language Challenge Results 

Here’s a quick summary of the Language Challenge results!

The Language Challenge is Completely Achievable!

  • Out of the hundreds of Language Challenge participants, just under 50% (48%) completed the Challenge!  Is this Language Challenge too easy?!?
  • Out of the Language Challenge Winners 40% actually completed more than 30 sessions or more!
  • Instant Tutoring significantly helped many of the Challengers finish the Challenge! 

If you really want to improve your Language ability, the Language Challenge works! 

In just 6-weeks many of our Language Challenge participants went from zero language ability to fluency! Some of our Challengers were so happy with their results that they submitted videos of their speaking ability before and after!  We were very impressed. Watch these before and after videos!

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John was one of our Challenge participants who was learning Portuguese because he is going to the World Cup in Brazil!  He pretty much started with ZERO Portuguese ability.  His improvement is absolutely amazing and inspiring!  Click here to view his before and after video.

Challengers who made a Public Video Pledge are more likely to complete the Challenge!

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(more…)