Tag Archives: app

Duolingo – Free Language Learning Curricula (Available on Web, iOS and Android)

I can’t begin to stress how learning languages opened my life to new opportunities, coming from the countryside of Brazil
There are several ways to learn a language for free online: Skype meetups, virtual worlds, video chats, chatrooms (I used to go to my sister’s house to get on ICQ chatrooms to practice English on her computer), applications, open curricula, and so forth… many of these discussed previously on this blog.

Duolingo is especially interesting because:

  • It helps translate the Web (in partnership with Google)
  • It contains gamification elements (rewards and levels are linked to how well you perform in the application)
  • The curricula are instructionally sound and well-designed
  • It is offered on the Web, for iOS, and for Android platforms
  • It is FREE for life (especially in light of major online language learning services like LiveMocha now charging for their services)

Duolingo currently (June 2013) offers courses in:

  • Spanish
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Portuguese
  • Italian

Look for Duolingo on your app store and download it for free.

Pick a language and start learning!


Duolingo on the go

Now on iPhone and Android.

Email a link to my device

Email a link to my device

Cite this article:
Silva E (2013-05-31 11:37:44). Duolingo - Free Language Learning Curricula (Available on Web, iOS and Android). Enzo Silva blog. Retrieved: Apr 18, 2014, from http://enzosilva.com/blog/2013/05/31/duolingo-free-language-learning-curricula-available-on-web-ios-and-android/

Second Screen Learning?

A phenomenon that can be classified as anything from multitasking to plain distraction is getting more popular as smartphones get smarter and tablet computers more ubiquitous: the use of the “second screen“.

It is common now to have at least one person (if not everyone) in the living room watching as movie on TV while, at the same time, checking what their friends are saying on Facebook, Twitter, or simply researching the lead role’s biography on Wikipedia. Whatever they are doing on the little screen, it seems that nowadays the big screen is not enough. People crave more. People want to connect with others and with information outside what they see on the big screen. Often, at least in my family, it is an interaction around the content of the TV, tagging it in Into_Now, and telling their friends on Facebook that they’re watching it and following up on comments about the same post.

ReadWriteWeb reports that 86% of people using their mobile device do so while watching TV. Of those, 33% use mobile apps, 37% browse non-related content, 40% are social networking, while 60% are texting with friends and family. It’s the rise of social TV which so far comprises mostly of static content (TV) coupled with dynamic, social activities (social networking, Web browsing, mobile apps, check-ins into shows and movies).

Disney offers an iPad / PC application called Second Screen which live syncs with the Blu-Ray movie on the TV and provides different content that supplements the movie: games, flipbooks, photo galleries with sketches, trivia about the movie, etc.

How would this second screen experience affect Education? What if, instead of banning smartphones and tablets, teachers in K12 encouraged synchronous exploration of concepts “synced” with what the teacher is discussing?What if in corporate Education, we saw complimentary interactions and information that gave students a better understanding of what the instructor is explaining or even interact with other students in a backchannel discussion around the topics in class?

Many already use in conferences, for instance, Twitter streams as a means to have a backchannel discussions in different sessions. Can we to go beyond that, explore other forms of “second screen experiences” at events, in the classroom, outside the classroom?

How can we combat some of the potential negative aspects of the second screen in the classroom, like distraction, lack of concentration? Can we produce second screen experiences that are channeled. guided and enhances attention rather than distract the learners? How can we employ this concept in online learning environments (being them synchronous live virtual classrooms or self-paces asynchronous experiences)?

Many questions, exciting exploration.

Food for thought: here’s a blogger’s take on how second screen experiences could be used not only in entertainment but also in politics, for instance.


Perhaps second screen experiences in Education will be a trend in 2012, with more an more mobile devices in consumers’ hands.

GroceryiQ – Grocery Shopping at Your Fingertips

My wife and I installed the GroceryiQ app on our iPhones this past week. Perhaps one of the most useful apps I’ve ever installed.

We have a centrally shared shopping list that gets updated dynamically across our iPhones. so, when we add or check off any items, it gets updated immediately for both of us. If we want to divide and conquer, we go to separate areas of the store and get it done more quickly while having fun. Shopping fun? Yes: this app lets you scan items’ barcodes and add them automatically to your list, or you can just start typing an item’s name and it autosuggests entries for you.

Next: they need to make it more of a game with a point system. Would sure be fun to do a “shopping scavenger hunt” for products, for instance, with my wife and friends in my network.

Create Web Apps for you Favorite Sites

Too much information out there to keep up with…

What about creating your own Web Apps (browser-based applications) for your most visited websites?

On Windows, use Mozilla’s Prism. Click “download Prism for Windows on the following page and follow the instructions.

For Mac OSX, use Fluid, which works in a similar fashion to Prism but is made to be compatible and integrated with Mac OSX.

iPhone Educational Apps

A while back I thought of creating a blog to review only educational apps for the iPhone.
Suddenly I noticed that not only did just a few developers try to create educational apps but also the quality of those that are there isn’t what you’d expect…

So, I’m still considering reviewing a few iPhone apps for learning, but if educational developers don’t learn to create good apps it will be a tough job…

The state of the so-called “Education” apps on the iPhone is hazy. So many applications for the iPhone utilize the revolutionary technologies available for that platform (such as the Shazam app that recognizes which music is playing at an environment and populates the app’s screen with metadata on that song, or the Aurora Feint series that utilizes the accelerometer to control the blocks on the screen), etc.

The educational apps are still on the “flash card” side of things… let’s see what INNOVATIVE ed apps will appear in the upcoming months, years, decades… ;)

The 3G iPhone as a More Versatile Mobile Platform

The new iPhone 3G is bound to take an incredible new step toward more freedom for the user. While the first versions of the mobile device (I’m hesitant to call it a phone) were pre-loaded with applications and wouldn’t let the users add more unless were willing to risk their device’s “health” to jail-break it and install third party apps, the only official but “crippled” option was to download a link to a Web App (Web Apps are self-explanatory: applications that run on the Web and not on your local machine/phone).

Besides the 3G Wi-Fi speed, the new iPhone will offer the ability to actually download and install new applications. Apple already has a website up explaining that and they have some examples of applications on their website. The release of their Software Development Kit (SDK) is promising to the educational world also for the freedom it gives developers to create learning applications that work natively on the iPhone.

Some examples of applications they highlight on the Apps Store website include Microsoft Exchange capabilities (push mail)

Loops, an application that lets you find your friends on a Google map mash-up.

And the innovative Super Monkey Ball, which responds to your movements by means of the Accelerometer (movement detector on the iPhone) to create a more “interactive” experience. This has a lot of potential for serious games…Super Monkey Ball

Zembly – Facebook App Creator

[still a draft]

As time goes by, things always become easier to create and use, especially in social media things happen fast.

No coding, WYSISWYG is the future of things, making it easier for user-generated content to be, yes, generated.

We see a vast array of WYSIWYG applications out there and many of them are migrating to the Webtop side of things. 

We can now easily build applications for Facebook with Zembly, for example. What impact does this have in learning? This means we are able to deliver learning just-in-time, where the learners are: social media websites. Zembly is a great example of that.

iPhone official downloadable apps?

So many rumors around the new iPhone and the new iPhone software that are coming up soon.
One of those interests me the most: the feature of downloading official applications to run natively on the iPhone. I am not talking about Web Apps which are basically web-based applications to which you link from your home screen. I am not talking about jail-breaking the iPhone and installing applications.
I am talking about the possibility for every iPhone user to be able to install applications on their iPhone with the approval of Apple, running less risks of losing AppleCare coverage for installing apps illegally.

This means mobile learning in general can go even further with official development of iPhone applications that will be used for learning or sharing content.

If not now, this will happen anytime anyway. Apple can’t go on with this closed approach to application development/installation they have right now.

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