Tag Archives: esl

EdTech Startups Japan

EdTech Startups Japan Edition: Gengo, Eigooo and Mana.bo

In today’s EdTech Startups Japan Edition we take a look at three startups that are based in Japan, two of which founded by immigrant entrepreneurs from the US.

Translation platform Gengo surpassed 200 million translated words, Eigooo wants to teach English via text chat to shy students and Mana.bo wants to disrupt the $10 billion Japanese cram school industry.

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Eleutian Technology

HEDLINE: Part of Eleutian Technology sold to Nagase USA

Eleutian Technology, an online English teaching service provider, sold part of its business to Nagase USA for an undisclosed amount.

As part of the transaction, Nagase USA is hiring 40 Wyoming teachers and 10 teacher trainers and managers from Eleutian and Kent Holiday, founder and former CEO of Eleutian, has taken the role of a senior executive at Nagase USA. Craig Holiday, Eleutian’s current CEO, will become Eleutian’s president.

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Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone to evolve from Language to Learning Company

Rosetta Stone

Are the days of high priced language learning software over? With Rosetta Stone’s latest acquisition it surely looks as if one of the leading companies in that sector is looking for greener meadows.

The $22.5 million all cash acquisition of Lexia Learning reported by the Wall Street Journal is one indicator that language learning isn’t enough to survive in the long term; the quote

“We are evolving the company from a language company to a learning company,”

by Rosetta Stone’s CEO Steve Swad a second one.

Also, customers already are under the false impression that Rosetta Stone is offering far more learning products than just languages. According to the WSJ a survey showed that people already relate RS to math, reading and music products. Swad stated “To me, it’s just evidence of brand permission to extend.”

Of course the acquisition of Lexia Learning also strengthens Rosetta Stone’s position in the K-12 and global English learning market yet we have to see it as part of a far broader strategy to transform Rosetta Stone into a learning company. From the press release

“This acquisition is another step in the transformation of Rosetta Stone,” said Swad. “We`re moving beyond language; we`re leveraging technology; we`re growing our business in new and meaningful ways. And we`re positioning this company to change the face of learning as we know it.”

I think it is pretty obvious to Swad and the team at Rosetta Stone that the days of high priced boxed (or downloadable) language software are numbered. The acquisition of Livemocha earlier this year and therefore the transition to a cloud based language learning portal was a first step here to compete with similar players like babbel.com and busuu.

All three offer language learning products at a fraction of the price customers need to pay for a Rosetta Stone product. Even the current half price offering Rosetta Stone is promoting on Facebook at $395 looks outlandishly expensive compared with the package prices Livemocha, babbel.com or busuu offer.

Rosetta Stone Promo

And we must not forget Duolingo that is slowly but surely becoming a real threat to the startups that aimed to disrupt Rosetta Stone. Duolingo already offers different languages and mobile applications at no cost to the learner. Duolingo also has studies that show the efficiency of its products and the startup is growing fast. Also, the reviews of people learning with the product I have read so far were fairly positive.

Therefore, it seems to be a good idea to find more lucrative niches as soon as possible. Other verticals are yet pretty much untouched from decreasing prices and Rosetta Stone’s brand and technology might enable the company to build up a new foothold there.


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anglais que peut encore l'école

Recap of the Event Anglais: Que peut encore l’école?

anglais que peut encore l'école

Just at the start of a heated national debate about the proposal to hold lectures in English at French universities, Agence Clé invited teachers, parents and experts to talk about English in the French school system.

The event started with a presentation by Divya Brochier about the state of ESL across the globe, highlighting interesting projects and political decisions in Asia, Africa and LatAm.

I had the pleasure to moderate a pitch session of five French startups in the ESL space, some of whom you might already be familiar with from EDUKWEST, followed by an expert panel.

Pre-event I had enough time to reflect on the picture I have ofthe French and their relationship with the English language. As you will probably know by now, I have been living in France for about seven years now so I had my fair share of experiences, especially as I had started as a language coach for both English and German.

To make it short, I was usually not impressed by what the French school system was capable of. There is simply too much focus on theory and not enough on real use of the language.

As part of the roundtable discussion Isabelle Mazarguil, founder of NosJuniors.com presented a survey among parents that basically came to the same conclusion. 61% of the parents surveyed think that the school does not prepare the children for the use of English in the collège (ages 11 to 14) and 81% of parents feel that the collège does not prepare them to properly speak English later on.

But there is hope nonetheless. What the event showed is that there is passion about the issue and to my surprise the most progressive person of the expert panel (maybe the event) was Rémi Danquin from the French Education Ministry. He asked questions like why in a multicultural country like France we don’t teach Arabic or Turkish. He also pointed out that other countries like Germany or the northern countries in the EU work on their accent whereas the French tend to speak English with a very heavy accent and even look down on others who work on theirs as snobs.

Just as informative and insightful to my mind was Gaël Le Dreau’s presentation of the primelangues project on the pedagogical and cognitive benefits of teaching scientific subjects in a foreign language, i.e. teaching math in Russian and his perseverance that it’s not all about English but rather about multilingualism. This aligns with a proposal by the European Commission that every EU citizen should have two foreign languages at her disposal.

Another great example of grassroots in the education system was Marie-Hélène Fasquel who presented how she is teaching English hands on with her students using social media and new technologies on the Internet.

All in all we had some pretty passionate discussions going on and the event could have been much longer as we only hit the tip of the iceberg. I am pretty sure this won’t be the last time we met in Paris to discuss this hot topic.

The team at Agence Clé did a great job with hosting the event and putting together such a diverse group of people so that I am already looking forward to the next one. Below you find a playlist of the different presentations and pitches, in French of course.

review:ed Audio Podcast

review:ed #21 Interview with Gregg Carey Voxy Academy (Audio)

review:ed Audio Podcast

review:ed Episode #21

Interview with Gregg Carey Voxy Academy

  • recorded: March 23rd 2012
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Transfluent - Rapid professional translation for your Facebook, Twitter and website This Interview is sponsored by Transfluent- Rapid professional translation for your Facebook, Twitter and websiteTransfluent offers 15 000 human translators, not machines, in 60 languages, available 24 hours a day to help you to eliminate work and cost, creating new possibilities to connect with customers from abroad.Visit transfluent.com and follow @Transfluent_en on Twitter.

Show Notes

This week Chris and I invited Gregg Carey, co-founder & head of product at Voxy for our Friday interview. About two months ago Voxy started the Voxy Academy in their office space with the premise to get first hand feedback of their users by letting them use the Voxy products in a classic ESL classroom setting.

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review:ed #21 Interview Gregg Carey Voxy Academy

review:ed #21 Interview with Gregg Carey Voxy Academy

Voxy

This week Chris and I invited Gregg Carey, co-founder & head of product at Voxy for our Friday interview. About two months ago Voxy started the Voxy Academy in their office space with the premise to get first hand feedback of their users by letting them use the Voxy products in a classic ESL classroom setting.

If you want to learn more about the Voxy Academy, we covered the launch over here. In the interview Gregg talks about the idea behind the Voxy Academy, the first results and the vision for the coming months.

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Subscribe to review:ed Audio via iTunes
Download Episode Download Episode Video Download Episode Audio
Transfluent - Rapid professional translation for your Facebook, Twitter and website This Interview is sponsored by Transfluent- Rapid professional translation for your Facebook, Twitter and websiteTransfluent offers 15 000 human translators, not machines, in 60 languages, available 24 hours a day to help you to eliminate work and cost, creating new possibilities to connect with customers from abroad.Visit transfluent.com and follow @Transfluent_en on Twitter.
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English Attack! Teacher Pass

English Attack! launches Teachers and Institutions Platform

English Attack! Teacher Pass

I met with Paul Maglione, co-founder of English Attack! for “café et tarte” in Paris back in November. We talked about virtual currencies and how edutainment is becoming more popular among educators and companies as a way to teach English. Back then Paul gave me a glimpse on their platform for teachers and schools already.

Today, English Attack! officially announced their new platform for independent English teachers, schools and companies. It provides educators with a set of different features like creating classes and assigning students, performance tracking and on site communication via personal messages or a class wide message board.

For independent ESL teachers the access to the platform costs between $12 and $20 per month, depending on the plan the teacher chooses. Along with the use of the teacher platform comes a personal invitation code which gives a 25% education discount to the students the teacher would like to invite to use English Attack! for their studies.

Schools, companies or other institutions interested in using English Attack! for ESL training can contact pro@english-attack.com for more information.

EDUKWEST got promo codes to give away which give ESL teachers a free 30 day access to the new platform. If you are interested in testing the platform and even invite your students to join you for the 30 days (also for free) subscribe to the EDUKWEST newsletter below.

Mau Buchler Tripppin

RPP: Mau Buchler, Creator of Tripppin

Mau Buchler Tripppin

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by George Machlan (@myeslfriends). He is an online ESL teacher, founder of My ESL Friends and thought leader of the Edupunk movement.

Mau, or Mauricio Büchler is an enigma for me. I mean what kind of name is that? And, he calls himself “Mau” like a friendly Hawaiian or Chinese gang member. I suppose it fits with his free-wheeling lifestyle that has yet to be pigeon-holed by me yet. But I like what I see. Even the A.D.D. style of his projects seem to be ready to go “whither the spirit leadeth”.

He has been trying a lot of things over the last couple of years and seems to be blazing some trails for the Millennial learner. I have only looked superficially at him. There is surprising little available, in spite of his degree in marketing he seems to be stretched very thin and not well presented for easy codifying.

I like him primarily because of his first impression of passion and as an entertainer. He knows how to connect with a crowd and edutainment is the second name for us at The Edupunk. We are also heavily committed to gaming applications (android app writing classes have started on our channel) for our long-term strategy. This guy is worth your evaluation and possibly financial support. I am trying to get in touch with him but until then I thought you would like the couple of things I have found about his activities.

I hope to get him connected with our diva interviewer Kirsten to really drill down to the essence of his paradigm. I hear him saying that his heart is that for both the learner and teacher, IT SHOULD BE FUN!!!! Amen, brother, you are preaching to the choir! You get an honorary pass to The Edupunk.

Oh, BTW he is cute, while not a requirement for your consideration, most of the Edu-geeks that Kirsten finds are rather old (like me).

First embed is his long and almost boring TEDx video:

Second, his BIO_PREZI (he can use modern tools too!):

Tripppin Logo

 

Website: tripppin.com
Facebook: facebook.com/tripppin
Twitter: @tripppin

GlobalEnglish

GlobalEnglish sets Focus on Collaboration with three new Business English Products

GlobalEnglish

California-based learning company GlobalEnglish that specialize in teaching Business English to small companies and big multinationals announced a complete re-brand of the company and the launch of three new products today.

“Today, we’re moving a leap ahead with a complete, on-demand platform that includes mobile, enterprise social software, improved productivity tools and embedded expertise that delivers Business English assistance where and when companies and employees need it most.” – Tom Kahl, GlobalEnglish President

As you know, there is some fierce competition going on in the ESL market in general and Business English segment in particular as the global economy is forcing more and more local brands to expand world wide.

GlobalEnglish has seen a quite strong growth rate of 28% over the past four years. The annual revenue in 2009 is estimated to be around $35 to $40 million according to Venture Beat.

Key element of the new offer is the focus on collaboration amongst employees in multi-national companies and to bring the Business English offer into real work situations.

First new element is the GlobalEnglish LinGo Pro Mobile Businnes Language App (iPhone and Android) that allows users to quickly access typical language, translations or vocabulary as well as correct pronunciation relevant to the specific industry.

Although having an app for that may not be something entirely new, it apparently makes sense for GlobalEnglish to launch this app as a revamped version of their existing LinGo app now, and  I’m sure that their business customers will appreciate the a) one-stop-shop solution and b) the availability in 34 languages.

To achieve more interaction between co-workers GlobalEnglish also launched a new software product called Bloom. GlobalEnglish Bloom provides employees with the opportunity to upload documents and get feedback on those as well as the option to create Wikis on pronunciation to help employees who speak other languages.

Finally, we see GlobalEnglish Edge which is more to be seen as an addition to an existing solution. The functions of speech recognition and remediation have established themselves as standard for compelling solutions in the Business English segment for corporations so this is clearly an intelligent addition to keep up with the competitors.

Originally founded in 1997, GlobalEnglish currently serves more than 350 of the Global 2000 companies, and is the preferred choice of some of the world’s largest companies, including BNP Paribas, Capgemini, Cisco, Deloitte, GlaxoSmithKline, Hilton, John Deere, Procter & Gamble and Unisys.

Via: VentureBeat
Source: GlobalEnglish