Shanghai Expo and May Holidays

April 29th, 2010 | Posted by Kevin in announcement - (0 Comments)

The World Expo is about to start in Shanghai, and we are excited to be here. Shanghai has been under construction for years in preparation for this event, and now the world will be able to see the results of that work.

This year’s Expo theme is Urban Development, and there will be numerous pavilions dedicated to how we can improve the way we live. We think this theme is very timely, given the level of urbanization in China, and the problems it faces in terms of sustainable economic growth. Events like the Expo present a great opportunity for people to exchange ideas about these increasingly universal issues.

italki is also trying to facilitate the exchange of ideas, virtually through the internet. Even though technology has driven the costs of communications to almost zero, language still represents a significant barrier in communication. It’s hard to imagine how people can work well together to tackle global issues if they cannot communicate well with each other.

If you are coming to the Expo (or are just curious), try posting it on your blackboard or in your notebook. Many italki users are interested in meeting in person, and there are lots of members in Shanghai (where we are based)! If you also happen to be in town (for the Expo or otherwise), please come and stop by — we like using Skype, but we’d love to meet you in person!

The italki Team

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on StumbleUpon

We have a new feature on italki called the Notebook. Now you can write short essays or a personal diary, and get corrections from other members of the italki community.

To help launch the Notebook, we’re holding a giveaway contest!

1. Giveaway Prizes:
The first 200 italki members who complete the participation requirements will receive a free SpeakENG Sampler!

2. What you have to do:
To qualify for the Giveaway, you have to submit at least four (4) qualifying notebook entries in the Learning English section. Each notebook entry must be at least 50 words in length, and it has to be for the purpose of improving your English. You can write about language learning, culture, history, sports, literature, music, business, etc. Obscene, inflammatory, or plagiarized Notebook entries are not acceptable and will be deleted.

3. Giveaway Dates:
The Giveaway will begin on April 22nd, 2010 0:01 GMT. The deadline for eligible notebook entries is May 22nd, 2010 23:59 GMT.

4. Selection of Winners:
At the conclusion of the Giveaway, italki will award 200 SpeakENG Samplers to the first 200 italki members who have met all of the requirements. italki has sole discretion in determining which notebook entries qualify. Winners will be announced within 1 week of the end of the Giveaway, and winners will receive their prizes within 3 days of this announcement.

Click here to write a notebook entry!

Good luck and best wishes from the italki team!

* italki reserves all rights related to this promotion.
* Prizes awarded cannot be converted into cash or ITC.

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on StumbleUpon

Have you ever wanted to write something and get help correcting it?
Now you can write a short post in your Notebook, and get other italki members to correct and comment on it.

Many of our users have been suggesting we create a feature like this for some time. One thing that we like about this idea is how you can use your notebook in a variety of ways. You can use it as a learning tool for writing — post a short essay or something you want help with. (Some of our users have already been using the answers section for this.) This can also be used as a way of expressing yourself (like a blog) or for taking notes about things that you’ve learned about a language.

When you view someone else’s notebook, you’ll be able to correct and comment on it. When you correct an entry, there will be a copy of the original text, and you’ll have HTML formatting tools like strikethrough and colors to help you point out errors and what are your comments. ┬áIf you’re just interested in giving an opinion, you can just leave a comment.

We hope you try using the Notebook (try writing a notebook entry right now!). If you’re a bit shy, you can at least help other users by correcting or commenting on their writings. It’s a great way to connect with other users.

Let us know your thoughts about how we can improve this feature, as well as other features that you’d like to see on italki. Let us know through feedback.

This is part of our planned improvements to italki. There will be more changes coming very soon, so please keep sending us your feedback and checking back here at the blog!

The italki team

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on StumbleUpon

New User Home Page

April 7th, 2010 | Posted by Kevin in feature - (0 Comments)

We just wanted to let you know that we’re planning to revise many features at italki in the coming weeks. Last year we were busy making improvements on the italki marketplace, and now we’re working on improvements on the social network. We hope that these changes will help make it easier for you (our users) to interact with your italki friends, as well as other language learners who could use your help.

Our first change is the user homepage.

We’ve shifted towards using an Updates section, which is more similar to a newsfeed of what you and your italki friends are doing. You’ll be able to quickly see your friends’ recent activity, as well as see responses to questions or group discussions that you’ve started.

We’ve also created a Recommendations box which shows you things like questions that you might be able to answer, interesting group discussions, recommendations of language partners, and more. You can control what you see for your recommendations in the settings area.

We have a lot more site improvements coming. As always, please keep sending us your ideas and feedback. We do read all of your feedback, and please just be patient if your suggestion hasn’t been implemented yet. As we hear other users make the same requests, it definitely tells us what we need to focus on!

Finally, keep paying attention to the site and the blog. We have more improvements coming soon!

The italki team

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on StumbleUpon

For italki users that are learning English, now you can purchase SpeakENG Online Courses on a levels basis. This gives you a clear sense of the range of SpeakENG Courses, as well as helps you choose a SpeakENG Online Course specifically for your English level. As your English improves, you’ll be able to see your progress: Beginner English (99), Elementary English (101, 102), Intermediate English (202), and Advanced English (301, 302, 303).

SpeakENG Online Courses have been designed to help people learn English anywhere with an internet connection. The content for SpeakENG’s Online Courses are based on Pearson’s English Language Learning and Instruction System (ELLIS). Every SpeakENG Online Course also comes with a 15-minute live tutoring session with an American certified professional teacher.

As before, you can purchase additional time with SpeakENG teachers or purchase a one-year subscription to SpeakENG that includes all Online Course levels. If you’re not sure which level is right for you, or are interested in getting an assessment level test of your English, we recommend looking at the SpeakENG Sampler.

italki is trying to find a price for learning a language that is accessible to everybody around the world. SpeakENG Online Courses use the same content that is being offered at much higher prices from expensive offline English training institutes.

As always, let us know through your feedback how we can improve italki and its partnership products.

The italki team

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on StumbleUpon