We’re always trying to improve italki, and we’ve recently made a few important changes. Here’s they are:

New Friend Relationships
We’re changing how friends are handled on italki to an asymmetrical system. You’re probably already familiar with this type of relationship through services like Twitter, Weibo, and Google Plus.

What this means that you can “follow” anyone’s updates. When the other person follows you back, then it’s just like the old “friends” or “language partners” relationship. When you’re both connected, you’ll be able to write messages and chat with each other.

We made this change to simplify our previous system, which had aspects of both symmetrical and asymmetrical systems. Don’t worry — all of your existing friends will automatically transition to the new system. We think the system, in particular, will benefit new users who may have a hard time getting connected with people.

Inbox Messages
We’ve also changed our inbox to be less like email, and more like a chat conversations. This should make it easier to pick up where you left off in your conversations. It should also help us transition to a more robust chat system in the future.

We hope these updates (and smaller ones we haven’t mentioned) will make italki easier and more fun for you to use. What we’ve learned is that italki is not a traditional social network, and language partners are not your typical “friends”. Your language partners on italki almost always start off as strangers. Moreover, language partners share a complementary interest. This is the basis for language exchanges, and the relationship between teachers and students for language teaching.

As always, we’re interested to hear what you think. Please send your ideas and suggestions to support@italki.com. We’re going to have more changes coming up, so stay in touch!

The italki Team

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恭喜发财! We want to wish everyone a happy and prosperous Year of the Dragon!

For our users, thanks for being part of our language learning community. We believe you are what makes italki a great place to learn a foreign language. By making friends, sharing your culture, learning a language, and helping people with your native language, you are making the italki community (and the world!) a better place.

The italki Team

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Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2012 | Posted by Kevin in announcement - (0 Comments)



It has been a long time since we’ve posted on the blog, and we just wanted let you know we’re still here!

First, we wanted to say Happy New Year! To all of our users, we really want to thank you for making italki a fun and friendly community to learn a language.

In 2012, there will be a lot of changes at italki. We’ve got new ideas (and we’ve received a lot of suggestions from you!), and we’ll soon have more resources to turn these ideas into reality. It still makes us excited to think about the potential we can unlock when we help people connect to learn from each other. We know you’re just as excited to see the updates!

Happy New Year, and see you in 2012!

The italki Team

Picture from Chez Chiara.

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It’s been a long time since we’ve posted on here, but we wanted to let you know that we’re still working on improvements to italki. We’ve just recently uploaded a number of changes to the website:

* Made it easier to schedule lessons from teachers
* Made it easier to handle lesson confirmation and problems
* Integrated a whole new system for customer service (check it out zendesk)
* Improved the My Sessions page, and session details pages
* Multiple improvements on the UI and design

We also moved to some new servers. Hopefully, the site should be running faster.

Please let us know what you think about the changes. You can go to our feedback, or send us an email to support at italki.com.

We also wanted to let you know that there should be exciting developments in 2012. We’ve got a lot of ideas, and we’re always interested in your suggestions. Tell us where you think we should take italki!

The italki Team

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It’s been a long time since we’ve posted on our blog, but we hope you know that doesn’t mean we haven’t been making changes to the site. We uploaded a few changes recently and we just wanted to write a quick post to let you know what those are.

Redesign

Over time, italki has added many new features, including our questions and answers, and our notebook corrections. We think these features are helpful for our users, but it’s also added a lot of complexity to the website. In our latest design update, we’ve tried to simplify the user interface to reduce all the distractions. Where there used to be two user menus, now there is only one.

Recent Updates now shows what is “interesting”

We are also experimenting with recent updates to try and bring up more relevant information to you. “Interesting” is a feed of updates that tries to pick out questions, notebook, entries, and other information that might be useful to you. You can modify what is included in “interesting” by clicking on the gear icon.

You can still see the previous recent updates (what your friends are doing) by just clicking on “following” to see what your friends are doing on italki.

Adopting the European CEFR System

We also decided to shift our language rating system to the European standard for language levels called, the strong>Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). While our previous system was easy to understand, we believe over time, these official standards will become more common.

CEFR Explanation

A1 : italki – Beginner
Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

A2 : italki – Elementary
Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

B1 : italki – Pre-intermediate
Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

B2 : italki – Intermediate
Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

C1 : italki – Upper-intermediate
Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

C2: italki – Advanced
Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.

(Text was taken from the Wikipedia entry)
Here is the link to the Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages

There are more changes coming up still — we thought we’d just post a quick note, as many of you have already noticed the changes. As always, if you have any suggestions or ideas, please keep sending them into feedback at italki dot com.

The italki Team

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