Duolingo, which is on a bunch of my “Best” lists as a language-learning app (my students love it!) have not made it official — they’ve just unveiled an English test they want to rival the TOEFL and IELTS, tests that international students need to pass prior to attending a university in most English-speaking countries.
You can read more about it at this TechCrunch post, and here’s a video:
I wouldn’t bet against Duolingo…
Teaching Without Connecting is ‘Futile’: An Interview With Annette Breaux & Todd Whitaker is my new Education Week Teacher post.
In it, Annette Breaux and Todd Whitaker agreed to answer a few questions about the new second edition of their popular book, Seven Simple Secrets: What the BEST Teachers Know and Do!
Here are some excerpts:
TED Talks now has an updated playlist of The 20 most popular talks of all time.
I’m adding it to The Best Teacher Resources For “TED Talks” (& Similar Presentations).
The British newspaper The Guardian has recently produced two excellent resources about World Ward One that I’m adding to The Best Resources For Learning About World War I:
A global guide to the first world war – interactive documentary is an impressive multilingual…interactive documentary.
How to teach… the first world war is also from The Guardian.
It’s a web app only usable with a Chrome browser that provides a large selection of leveled reading passages that students can read, record, and store on Google Drive. Teachers can then listen at their convenience and correct and note students’ reading fluency. The reading passages provide quite a few supportive features that make them particularly accessible to English Language Learners.
Most of the features are free, but teachers have to pay $99 per year for some “dashboard” services like tracking student progress.
If I was teaching an online class of motivated adult English Language Learners, I could see FluencyTutor’s whole package as an excellent tool.
However, I definitely wouldn’t recommend a classroom teacher using it as a way to track a readers’ progress. I have the same concerns about using it for that as I have about Literably, a web tool in the same vein — having students read to us is as much about building the relationship (if not more so) than getting the data.
On the other hand, though, a site like FluencyTutor could be a super tool for students to practice on their own and compare their reading progress during a school year. It’s less about them tracking exactly how many words they read each minute and more about them seeing how their reading prosody — expressiveness, smoothness — improves. Just having the free features should be enough for accomplishing that goal.
Here’s a video explaining how it works — keep in the mind that some of the features it talks about the end are the ones you have to pay for: