Tag Archives: language learning

Acesse Corporation

Rosetta Stone to provide Language Courses via Acesse University

Rosetta Stone announced a partnership with Acesse Corporation, an Internet marketing and advertising service provider with small business clients across the globe.

Under the partnership, Rosetta Stone will provide its language learning products Rosetta Stone Language Learning V3 for Business and Rosetta Stone Advanced English for Business to Acesse’s 400.000 customers through a new continuing education product called Acesse University.

Besides language training Acesse University will offer courses in Internet marketing, business fundamentals and technical skills, aiming to provide entrepreneurs and small business owners with the skills needed to stay competitive in a global market.

Full Release after the break.

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Multilingualism in Britain

Multilingualism in Britain: A Snapshot From the Trenches

Great Britain is unusual. Geographically isolated, densely populated, and equally blessed and burdened with a history of “ruling the waves”. The majority of foreign nationals in Britain have always been nationals of the Commonwealth, invited guest workers from earlier in the 20th century.

The history of British power has always stood in contrast to Britain’s political need for close ties with the European Union. And over the last decade, there are two things that have really put a strain on the identity of this country: the economic crisis and the expansion of the European Union. EDUKWEST’s kick-off post on Multilingualism in Europe showed that the second language spoken on this island is now not Punjabi or Welsh, but Polish. As Britain is becoming a more multilingual place, why is education policy not following suit?

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British Academy Schools Language Awards 2014

Call for Applications: British Academy Schools Language Awards 2014

EDUKWEST Europe

In its second year the British Academy set the British Academy Schools Language Awards. The competition offers a series of 14 awards of £4,000 each to encourage excellence in language learning across the UK. The two national winners will be awarded an additional £2,000 each.

Schools across the country are invited to participate with the British Academy paying extra attention to projects that target learners in less advantaged social groups.

The initiative was created with the objective to increase the number of students that take languages to an advanced and degree level. Schools can apply with their projects until June 30 2014.

Full release after the break.

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EdTech EuropePlanning to attend EdTech Europe 2014 on June 12th in London? Use the promo code EDUKWEST to get 20% off the ticket price!


language learning

Language Learning needs to be Flipped

EducationInvestor April 2014This column was first published in EducationInvestor Volume 6, Issue 3 April 2014.

As an EDUKWEST reader you’re entitled to subscribe to EducationInvestor magazine at a discount. Sign up here, and you can receive 13 issues for the price of 10.


When it comes to language, Europe is in a unique position. In a small geographical area, connected by a common market and to some extent common culture, we have access to nearly all the world’s most important languages: English, of course, but German, Spanish, Portuguese and French all play major roles in global trade, too. And the European Commission is keen to get people learning: a year ago, it announced the lofty goal of making every European speak at least three languages, calling this multilingualism strategy “mother tongue plus two”.

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Cambly

Cambly merges two Edtech Trends: Instant Video Lessons and Mobile

Apparently the choice of making tutoring the subject of our first EDUKWEST Live event last week was a very good one. Having been somewhat forgotten over the past couple of years it now makes an impressive comeback in the edtech news cycle.

To give you just one prominent example that was covered by even general tech blogs: Wyzant which raised $21.5 million late last year now acquired the remains of Tutorspree. But I’ll get into that story later this week.

Today I want to focus on Cambly, a new platform that connects English and Spanish learners through video chat. Sure, this sounds very familiar as startups like Colingo and Verbling are essentially fishing in the same pond.

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Duolingo

Duolingo hits 10 million Users – Wants to give Language Learning a Bigger Purpose

Duolingo

Yesterday Duolingo released a new promo video on its YouTube channel. Marketing and feel-good / world-changing agenda aside, the spot has a pretty telling message: Language, free at last. (emphasis mine).

I also just got an email stating that

“Since its launch 15 months ago, Duolingo has reached 10 million students and become the most popular way to learn languages online. No ad campaign, no gimmicks; just your support and a mission of free language education for the world.”

Looking a few years back the premise of language learning startups like Livemocha, busuu and babbel.com was to make language learning more affordable compared to their chosen nemesis Rosetta Stone. Since then Livemocha’s newsletter has turned into a sales channel for Rosetta Stone after the acquisition, promoting RS products at 60% off.

As a funny side note: if you follow the link to Livemocha’s YouTube channel on the bottom of the email, you will still find the legendary Livemocha spot with the (infamous) yellow boxes.

But back to Duolingo. If you talk to folks in the language learning industry you notice that most (all) of them are not happy about the new competitor. How can you compete with a free product that also seems to work quite well according to a study.

What Duolingo does is essentially disrupting the former disrupters or at least establishing itself as the third alternative method. busuu’s success is clearly its global community of language learners and babbel.com has chosen a more technology based approach similar to Rosetta Stone.

Now, of course we all know that there is no free lunch and, to use another catch phrase, if the product is free you are the product. Duolingo is selling this over a call to join a movement, giving your language learning a bigger purpose

“With Duolingo there is no tuition or subscription fee. It’s 100% free. Instead students like us give back by helping to translate websites, news and Wikipedia articles. It gives our personal language learning journeys a bigger purpose.”

I can see why many folks in the space see this storytelling as misleading. In fact Duolingo users are Mechanical Turks but instead of getting paid a couple of cents per task, they get “free” language lessons in return. Sounds good but they should also know how much their work is actually worth and whether language lessons, as good as they might be, are an adequate recompense.

The new spot is definitely a step-up from the first one that was more toned down yet also mentioned the business model behind Duolingo, adding the layer of being part of a global movement to better the world through language learning.

I also think people underestimate the power behind such global communities. Just recently Viki, the online community around translating and adding subtitles to popular TV shows, got acquired by Rakuten. One of the rumored bidders was Google.

Since I first heard about Duolingo and its concept I was pretty sure that the startup is one of the upcoming acquisitions by Google. Not only did Google acquire Luis von Ahn’s first startup reCAPTCHA but if Duolingo can prove that a global community can offer nearly instant translation of every web page, Google just has to write that check as it perfectly fits the overall strategy that we can see with Google Glass, Google Translate and other related services.

And if you think about it, von Ahn also took a site out of Google’s playbook in terms of the business model. Give the users a great service for free and make money based on their data and content.