Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Learning App Connects ESL Students

A number of studies have shown that students often learn concepts more quickly and thoroughly when they collaborate and help each other. With that in mind, Canada-based entrepreneur Mark Kim, working with a team of developers, created an app that allows students to tap into a social network as a means of learning English as a second language (ESL).

The new app, dubbed English on the Go, enables instructors to post short lectures from their smartphone or other mobile device. Students then access lectures from their own phones and can archive selected ones into an electronic notebook. Kim is in the process of recruiting instructors from around the world to offer English lessons in their own language, although students can opt for lessons delivered in English.

Users of the app can follow each other to practice everyday English, ask questions, and share their own knowledge and experience—such as how English terminology might vary, depending on the country or region.

The app is intended more for personal improvement than university-level academic study—lectures and user contributions are organized into themes such as food, shopping, and basketball—but it’s not hard to see how a social network available anywhere might help ramp up a student’s language skills more quickly than in-class presentations and practice sessions. The same might work for complex subjects such as mathematics or chemistry.

The copywriter for the English on the Go website might even benefit from using the app for a few lessons. According to the site, the app “is never neatly and professionally defined lectures produced in the studio, which is old-fashioned but it is live, fast reaching and real English lessons delivered by instructors from English speaking countries.”

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