We’ve all done it: trying to practice our target language through Youtube. It’s fun… until characters start talking:
… way too fast! Sure, it’s always possible to move the cursor back in order to replay the bits you didn’t get, but it’s not always very precise. And then you might not know what it means. So, unless you’re one super-dedicated, avid, disciplined learner, ready to sweat it out on your own, and with LOTS of time to spare, you’ll soon quit. The plain reality is that it’s just too hard! What a shame. There MUST be a way to use all this content towards language learning. Precisely what polyglot tech wiz Alan Park asked himself.
Thus, he came up with FluentU.
Alan contacted me about his product, offering to give away free private beta for new users. My first reaction was negative, as my blog is not meant to be a publicity platform. But then he let me use the tool on a temporary teacher account, and I was smitten. This can truly be handy for some people who are trying to perfect their French online, with no or little tutoring help (as I know many of my readers are). There aren’t many tools like these going around, so when you see one, as a teacher, you want to encourage it. So, after giving it some thought, I opted to let you know about it and let some lucky readers try it for free. I am not getting ANY compensation whatsoever (other than my temporary teacher pass on FluentU in order to review it).
Alan has created a tool that allows you to watch and actually understand authentic, Youtube videos in a target language, while beating the “way-too-fast” obstacle.
One problem I encountered at first was that I didn’t know what it was nor what it did. Once I got it, I was swept off my feet. For having learned English, Spanish and Japanese myself , and having struggled with trying to decipher authentic material in the target language, I thought it was a fantastic idea. I will explain to you how it works.
Imagine clicking on a Youtube video in French. except this time everything is subtitled in French as it plays. And a little further down, in English too! Didn’t get that? Too fast? Just hover over the captions, everything comes to a standstill, letting you read comfortably. You don’t know the word? Hover over it and the definition – the right one, in context – shows up automatically.
Below still, other videos using the word in question are listed.
When it’s finished, you are prompted with two choices: replay or “learn”: click that, and you will be quizzed on the vocabulary you have just seen.
The system keeps track of your progress, and continuously creates a tailor made selection of videos containing vocab and grammar you have already seen. Now that is technology at the service of the human brain
I am giving out free passes to go try out FluentU in French. I will take the first 30 emails!
To win, click on the link below (“a Rafflecopter giveaway”) and choose the “enter email” option. Contest ends March 30th, 2014.