Monday, May 17, 2021

App Review - Duolingo

App Review - Helping You Decide If The App is Worth the Download

Learn the (duo)LINGO

I do not consider myself very tech savvy, especially when it comes to the ga-zillion social media apps streaming from device to device. No, I am just a fish in this digital sea fighting the current stream of what we call social media communication.

My mission: to try out a new app. Not a mission I chose to accept but was more a requirement taking me out of my comfort zone. The zone of email, text, and candy crush which is the extent of my social media expertise.

Diving into a plethora of apps to choose from, I stumble across the ones promising to help me learn a completely new language in three easy steps. Well, maybe not that easy, but easy promises none the less. I choose Duolingo. Why? Because the logo was cute.

Duolingo Logo
Figure 1

Let's get started. I only have a few weeks to figure this out. The app opens for me to decide what language I would like to learn. I admit the opportunity to learn uncommon languages is nice. I think this option is great for those planning a business trip or dream vacation. Besides the typical language learning offers you would see, like Spanish, French, German, there are some that surprised me. Swahili, Navajo, and even Yiddish (about to be launched)! Interesting.

However, after perusing through the over 35 possible choices, I chose Scottish Gaelic. It seemed to be the right fit for me seeing as how I am half Scottish.

A few questions for data collection (how I heard about, and why I am using it) then I choose my daily goal. Regular option. Click. Beginner. Click.

Immediately I am tasked with choosing a picture of a boy from a list of 3 (girl, boy, cat) all with the Gaelic name under each. A lovely voice pronounces the Gaelic word for boy, balach. I repeat. Check my answer, and yay for me. I got it right. 

Screenshot from Duolingo
Figure 2

Two questions later, I am "writing" a phrase similar to early elementary readings of "See Jane Run". I click the speak icon a few times to hear the phrase in Gaelic and then make my choices from the list below. Cat and boy. Correct.

My sixth question is all on my own. Nailed it.

Daily goals are measured in XP (experience points). You get so many for completing tasks and bonuses. You have to keep the streak going each day or you may have a reset.

After creating a profile (name optional), you will land on your home page which resembles a type of vertical "tree" of phases for you to accomplish. The first phase is your introductory phase. There are seven more phases to complete before moving on to the tiered level of crowns within which are multiple phases.

Screenshots for skills
Figure 3

Overall, the idea behind the app is very good. It is considered one of the best FREE apps for learning a language according to PC Magazine. "Unique features and a clear structure make it a reliable place to learn new languages" (Duffy, 2020).

It is multi-faceted. Not only is it designed for individuals, but it also has been used by homeschool groups and classroom instructors. Common Sense Education has a five-star rating based on the reviews of educators. The overall consensus is that Duolingo is a "rigorous, appealing tool for supporting language instruction at all levels" (Bindel, 2021).

Student raising hand
Figure 4

According to Duolingo, they truly believe anyone can learn a language using this app. Their design was created to imitate more of a game platform rather than textbook learning platforms because, like most would agree, having fun while learning is a good idea.

Duolingo's mission is simple. Personalize education, make learning fun, and be universally accessible. The research behind their learning platform is accessible from the website. Publications and data are within reach to read and see for yourself.

Although I may not speak fluent Gaelic at this time, I found the thought of learning using this app to be quite enjoyable. Of course, I need to be more committed to applying the app every day. That is where I found it to be tricky. Without reminders, which you choose to allow or block, it is difficult to truly get all the benefits of learning a language.

I can definitely see the success Duolingo may have in a classroom or homeschool setting, or with someone who is learning a language for necessity- work or a trip to a foreign land. For me, because I am not invested in it, it was not grabbing my attention. The idea was there, but my lack of commitment was not.

Kelly Qualls is a senior Communication Studies major at Tarleton State University. You can contact her via Twitter @KellyQualls89

Duolingo is available through the app store on iPhone or iPad as well as on Google Play.

Works cited

Bindel, A. (2021, February 15). Duolingo Review for Teachers. Common Sense Education. https://www.commonsense.org/education/website/duolingo#:~:text=Pros%3A%20Comprehensive%2C%20clear%20lessons%20guide,differentiation%20and%20thoughtful%20classroom%20instruction.

Duffy, J. (2020, July 8). Duolingo review. https://www.pcmag.com/reviews/duolingo.

Photo Credits

Figure 1: "duolingo" by tuaulamac is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

Figure 2: "Gaelic has now been launched on Duolingo." by viralbus is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Figure 3: "Duolingo Greek for English speakers finally available (in βήτα / beta) Ζήτω 🇬🇧" by dullhunk is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Texas Social Media Research Institute (TSMRI) is a group of faculty, staff, and students at Tarleton State University with a mission of conducting social media research; sharing social media best practices; and providing social media education for students, non-profit organizations, state agencies, school districts, and higher education institutions.

Contact us:
Texas Social Media Research Institute
Follow Us on Twitter - @TSMRI
Call Us - 254-307-8211
Join Us for Our #TXSocialMedia Weekly Twitter Chats on Thursday Nights at 8pm CDT

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...