New 10 Tech Resources for Language Learners Olly Richards

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  • 10 ESSENTIAL TECH RESOURCES FOR SMART LANGUAGE LEARNERS By Olly Richards of www.iwillteachyoualanguage.com

    Olly Richards 2013

  • 10 ESSENTIAL TECH RESOURCES FOR SMART LANGUAGE LEARNERS

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    Contents

    Foreword ..................................................................................................................................... 4

    One : Lang-8.com ......................................................................................................................... 6

    What is it? 6

    Where can I find it? 6

    How will it help me? 6

    Tips 6

    Two : Rhinosphike.com ................................................................................................................ 7

    What is it? 7

    Where can I find it? 7

    How will it help me? 7

    Tips 7

    Three : Flashcards Deluxe ............................................................................................................. 8

    What is it? 8

    Where can I find it? 8

    How will it help me? 8

    Tips 9

    Four : Lift.do .............................................................................................................................. 10

    What is it? 10

    Where can I find it? 10

    How will it help me? 10

    Tips 10

    Five : iTalki.com ........................................................................................................................ 11

    What is it? 11

    Where can I find it? 11

    How will it help me? 11

    Tips 11

    Six : Skype ................................................................................................................................. 12

    What is it? 12

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    Where can I find it? 12

    How will it help me? 12

    Tips 12

    Seven : Conversation Exchange.com ........................................................................................... 13

    What is it? 13

    Where can I find it? 13

    How will it help me? 13

    Tips 13

    Eight : Voice Recorder ................................................................................................................ 14

    What is it? 14

    Where can I find it? 14

    How will it help me? 14

    Tips 14

    Nine : Keyboard input ................................................................................................................ 15

    What is it? 15

    Where can I find it? 15

    How will it help me? 15

    Tips 15

    Ten : E-Dictionaries .................................................................................................................... 16

    What is it? 16

    Where can I find it? 16

    How will it help me? 16

    Tips 16

    Final words from Olly ................................................................................................................. 18

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    Foreword

    My name is Olly Richards and I run iwillteachyoualanguage.com. Thanks so much for downloading this eBook! I'm a huge fan of technology, and my goal in this guide is to show you how you can use these ten tools to take your language learning to the next level! Before we get started, here are a few things I'd like to mention. Firstly...

    Technology won't teach you a language!

    Now, I think you already knew this, but I'd like to make doubly-sure! There's no piece of software out there that will make you fluent in a month, or even a year! Sorry to disappoint you! Whatever the guys in sharp suits at Rosetta Stone may tell you, technology won't change your life. That is, it won't turn bad learning into good learning. What it can do, however, is to help to turn good learning into great learning!

    How well would Marty McFly have done on the hoverboard if he hadnt already been an awesome skater?

    I learnt my first few languages without any help from technology. Just me, a few tatty notebooks, a few bulky dictionaries... and a lot of enthusiasm. And you know what - that still works! The point of technology isn't to replace all that hard graft with different methods. The point of technology is to add new possibilities to methods that already work.

    And so the resources in this book are not necessarily big, flashy, headline-grabbing Silicone Valley start-ups. In fact, you might think some of them are kinda boring! But dont be deceived these are the only resources that I use day-in day-out, 365 days a year. Why?

    Because they work.

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    If at any point while you're reading this guide you have any questions, don't hesitate to let me know. You can reach me straightaway on Twitter (@olly_IWTYAL), or on my Facebook page. In fact, why not look me up now? If you want to contact me in private, you can reach me any time at olly@iwillteachyoualanguage.com.

    Happy reading!

    Olly

    The material in this guide may include information, products or services by third parties. Third Party Materials comprise of the products and opinions expressed by their owners. As such, I do not assume responsibility or liability for any Third Party material or opinions.

    The publication of such Third Party Materials does not constitute my guarantee of any information, instruction, opinion, products or services contained within the Third Party Material. Publication of such Third Party Material is simply a recommendation and an expression of my own opinion of that material.

    No part of this publication shall be reproduced, transmitted, or sold in whole or in part in any form, without the prior written consent of the author. All trademarks and registered trademarks appearing in this guide are the property of their respective owners.

    2013 Olly Richards

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    One : Lang-8.com What is it? A website where you can have your writing corrected by native speakers. People keep journals in the languages they're learning, then other users on the site review it and give line-by-line corrections.

    Where can I find it? URL: lang-8.com

    Cost: $0

    Membership option: $7/month for more corrections, no ads, PDF downloads and more.

    How will it help me? You can use Lang-8 to get corrections on anything you want. Just type it in and wait for someone to step up. The best thing about the site is the vibrant community of users who are generous with their time and willing to help. Getting feedback on how you're using your target language is a crucial part of the learning process. Like anything, it's best done regularly. Writing regular 'diary entries' will help you to think in the language and regular corrections will focus you on where your errors are happening.

    Tips The strong community makes Lang-8 a good place to make friends and to meet potential language partners. Use the buttons to thanks people for their corrections and add them as friends - this will make it more likely they will correct your future entries. Spend some time correcting other people's entries in your own language. Apart from being good karma, it will boost your own entries up the list and generate more corrections.

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    Two : Rhinosphike.com What is it? An audio-based website where you can get any text read aloud for you by a native speaker.

    Where can I find it? URL: http://rhinospike.com

    Cost: $0

    Membership option: none

    How will it help me? Textbook recordings can be a good entry to a language, but they only go so far. Hearing things read aloud by real people will give you a much more realistic idea of how the language really sounds, and your listening skills will improve accordingly.

    Tips Before using Rhinospike, submit your text to Lang-8 for correction first. Take the corrected text and submit that for recording on Rhinospike. (Note: although there is a correction feature on the site, users are more likely to simply correct it as they speak, which doesn't leave you with a written record of the correction.)

    As with Lang-8, do record audio for other people from time to time. Doing so will boost your own requests in the queue. The community here isn't as big as Lang-8 so it's a good idea to record as much as you can for others in order to make sure yours get seen.

    Pro tip: You can download the recorded audio in mp3 format. Put this on your phone so you can listen to it whilst out and about. More advanced users can even embed this audio in their SRS flashcards.

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    Three : Flashcards Deluxe What is it? A simple but powerful flashcard app which uses SRS (Spaced Repetition System) to help you learn things more efficiently.

    Where can I find it? URL: http://orangeorapple.com/Flashcards/

    iPhone direct download

    Android direct download

    Cost: $3.99

    A free lite version is available if you want to try it first, but this has a limit of 6 cards per deck. I recommend you save yourself the hassle and get the full version! Here are the lite versions for iPhone and for Android.

    How will it help me? Flashcards are widely used by language learners the world over. There are so many words and phrases to be learnt in any language - we need some support. Good, old fashioned "testing" can help us with that.

    What SRS does is to bring efficiency to the process. Rather than wasting time reviewing items that you already know well, it prioritises those items that you don't, based on the information that you give it.

    Flashcards Deluxe stands out from the crowd for a number of reasons. The interface is clean, easy to use and distraction-free. It is packed with extra features but still runs fast and doesn't require an internet connection.

    Check out my full review of Flashcards Deluxe.

    Note: There are many other great flashcard apps out there. Anki and Memrise are perhaps the most well-known, but come with the following drawbacks:

    Anki: free web software, but the iPhone app is $24.99 (the 3rd party Android app is free)

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    Memrise: free web software, but the app requires an internet connection

    Tips This app is without a doubt my single most useful resource and I could write a book on different ways to get the most out of it! As a first port of call, I recommend you spend some time on the developer's website where you'll find training videos, tutorials and FAQs which cover the basics and some of the extra features.

    My top tips for getting started are:

    Don't enter single words onto flashcards - full sentences are the way to go. Context is king!

    Exploit the "add sound/picture" function to support your memory

    Change which side of the card pops up first, depending on your strategy

    Make your own decks. I don't recommend using other people's, because you don't have any 'ownership' over the language. Sure, it takes longer, but it will be much more meaningful and memorable if you make your own.

    "Little and often" is the key for studying with SRS. No binging at the weekend!

    Pro tip: Sync your flashcards between all your devices using the app's Dropbox functionality.

    Pro tip: flashcard decks can be made simply and easily on Microsoft Excel. Here's a sample format. Why not keep a spreadsheet on your desktop? You can then copy and paste new words and phrases into it as you find them. When you've got a good number of items in there, simply upload it to Dropbox and downloaded onto your app as a flashcard deck.

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    Four : Lift.do What is it? Lift is a website and app which crowd-sources motivation. Sign up to plans such as "Meditate", "Achieve 50 pull-ups in a year", or "Learn 100 words in 100 days", check in everyday with your achievements, follow others on the same plan, and geek out on the gorgeous graphics which show how many days in your current "streak"!

    Where can I find it? URL: lift.do

    iPhone app: here

    Android app: here

    Cost: $0

    How will it help me? Do you struggle with motivation? You're not alone. In fact, this app by definition means you're not alone! It places you in a community of other people following the same (and other) goals, creating some accountability and motivating you to carry on. The plans put together by others contain detail about what's involved in each case, but you're free to make your own, too. Not only do you check in and enter what you've done each day, but you get to see what others on the plan have been up to, read their thoughts and advice, share in their pains, and so on!

    Tips Before you head to the site, try think what area of your language learning you'd most like to develop a strong habit with: Reading for 30 minutes per day? Learning 10 new words after dinner? Having 3 Skype chats per week? Try to get that clear in your mind, because you'll be overwhelmed with tempting ideas once you're on the site! My friend and long-time Lift user Brian told me: "You'll be tempted to add loads of habits.

    Don't. Stick with one and get it right. Lift will only empower you if you see all those days checked - it will do the opposite if you have too many blank days. If you have too many habits it will only become a hassle. Remember, actually checking in on Lift every day is a new habit you are building, too!"

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    Five : iTalki.com What is it? A website which puts you in touch with an online language teacher for personal language lessons. Teachers come with reviews and recommendation from other students. You can schedule lessons for the time of your choosing, then connect with them over Skype.

    Where can I find it? URL: italki.com

    Cost: Varies from teacher to teacher. You purchase ITCs (iTalki credits) in blocks, which you then exchange for lessons. Professional teachers tend to cost more, while informal tutors can be very affordable. You can also connect with others for a language exchange, which is a free.

    How will it help me? Speaking a language fluently is what most people secretly want more than anything else. Many people also believe that they can never learn a language without living in the country itself. This is a fallacy. Even people who have moved to a country in order to speak the language have trouble finding people to speak with. This site puts you in contact with people to practise speaking with from the comfort of your own home. What sets it apart from other sites out there is the fact that you have a lot of teachers and informal tutors to choose from who come with ratings and reviews given by the community.

    Tips Try to get clear what you want before you look for a teacher. Do you want teaching, or do you want practice? If its the latter, then you dont need a teacher. Go for the cheaper informal tutor option they might not be the best teachers in...

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