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Google to teach speaking

Attention:

You might not sound as smart as you think, especially if you consider how you sound in a foreign country.  Maybe you think your pronunciation is great, but you can’t understand why no one gets what you are trying to say.  There are things that you can do to practice.  One of the best sources I have recently been referred on to was Rosetta Stone (RS).  The reason I like it is because the software ensures reading, writing, connecting thoughts, listening AND SPEAKING!

It does not translate words for you.  At first I thought this was a silly way of learning, but after going through the RS system for a while I realized that building upon reference ideas and then repeating them was a great way to learn.  The drawback, however, is the cost.  (£149.00)  In that case, I have a workaround answer for you, but I will get to that after I have shown you proof that the RS system works.

Proof:

While researching for proof that Rosetta Stone was the best way to learn online or off out on the market, I found some contrasting evidence.  Some people spoke very highly of the product, such as these reviews:

Without a doubt the highest praise went to the ease with which reviewers were learning. Courses were described as being instinctive and natural, even though many had been skeptical about there being no English on the Rosetta Stone software. A lot of learners said that their children were also following their course and were enjoying the quizzes and games. Rosetta Stone seems to be engaging for any age group. The pace seemed to be appropriate, and many users liked a feature of the CD-ROM where it automatically started each session with a quick review of what was previously studied.  (http://www.therosettastonereviews.com/)

Rosetta Stone helps you learn 31 various languages spoken all round the world. It dishes some different and interesting techniques to get accomplish to the languages you want in your armory. People who want to study languages difficult to understand for fun or individuals who loves incomprehensible languages, should also give Rosetta Stone a try.  (http://judgesreviews.com/software/rosetta-stone-reviews)

However, this review was only a partial glimpse:

Some people will get benefit out of Rosetta Stone. I can see how it would happen. I did indeed learn something from this program, including having my first ever conversation in Dutch, which gave me an enormous boost of confidence.(http://www.fluentin3months.com/rosetta-stone-review/)

A further read of this same reviewing would show you this review as well:

Injecting this confidence is something that Rosetta Stone does very well but to be honest the time would have been much better spent on other tasks.  (http://www.fluentin3months.com/rosetta-stone-review/)

With that said, I have to personally say that I can see the benefit and enjoyment factor present with the RS method.  If you have time, it is worth giving it a try to see if the slightly expensive system is worth it to you.  If not, read on and maybe I have some alternative solutions.

Strategy:

There are many free websites to learn another language.  A good example of an English site for this is learn-english-online.org  Like most, it allows you to read, to write and sometimes even listen, but the sites do not include speaking.

Along comes Google!

I figured this out when my wife, who is not a native English speaker was trying to use the Google VoiceSearch found when you are using Chrome as your browser.

She was having the toughest time.  It was a little funny, especially when I heard what she was trying to say and what was coming up on Google.  For example, she might try to say, “Samui, Thailand” and it comes up, “Simile Highland”.  It takes some practice.  Sometimes it is even necessary for me, as a native English speaker to hear what she is saying and tell her to say the word(s) with more enunciation or inflection on a certain part.  How Google works well, is it confirms automatically where I might say to her, as her teacher, that she is saying something incorrectly, but she doesn’t hear it herself.  She might insist she is saying it correctly, but I have no proof.

Well, now I do.

This Google App is available on iPhones, iPads and I am sure lots of other devices.  Because of this, it means teachers can carry it around for students who are trying to pronounce something for immediate confirmation about whether what they are saying is said correctly or not.

All-in-all, I love the idea.  I hope to apply it through technology integration in classrooms, by carrying around a smart phone and pulling it out when the need is there.

Who says we should ban phones in schools?  With enough ingenuity there are plenty of authentic applications for them.  Now, if I can justify spending $15,000 for Microsoft’s MS Surface Table to the school, that would be neat.

 

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I wonder when they will start making this?

The three coolest things I have seen lately are the Fujitzu 4 in 1 Bento Box, the Sixth Sense by Pranav Mistry and this concept phone, which is pretty slick.

All three devices are moving away from the touch keyboard the way we know it.  As I mentioned in the Bento Box article, I like the tactile feel of a nice keyboard, but I was sitting in an ISTEC meeting the other day taking notes on my iPad with the touchscreen keyboard, and I felt this was something I could get used to.  This would especially be true if it was not something that I was brought up with.

I was talking with a PYP computer teacher the other day and she was saying that little kids seem to have a much faster learning curve on an iPad versus computers with a traditional mouse and keyboard.  This idea led me to thinking about a question posed at the ISTEC meeting, “What are fundamental skills that all students should have by the time they graduate from high-school?” and a group member thought one part of the answer was “touch typing skills”

I wonder if this will actually be a skill set in the future.  I guess we will have to just wait and see.  In the meantime, I can’t wait to add more new gadgets that make my jaws drop when I see them to this list.  Enjoy the earlier jumps and the following video.

https://ted.com/talks/view/id/685

 
 

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Necessary tricks for the iPad

The following list are some not-so-obvious iPad tricks that everyone should know about:

  • Screenshots

    To take a screenshot, simply press the “Sleep/Wake-Power” button along with the “Home” button at the same time
  • Turn off Programs running

    Double click your “Home” button. After doing this you will notice a bottom display arise. Press and hold an icon. They will all start to jiggle…They will also have little red “x”s in the top-left corner. Press these in order to shut off programs that are running in the background. This will save on battery life.
  • Combining programs

    To add programs to a cluster like you see in the picture above, Click and Hold a program until it start to jiggle. Drag the program on to another icon. It will automatically create a cluster and will try to name it for you. You can rename it if you would like.
  • Selecting

    While on text, if you would like to select, copy, cut, paste: double click on the text you would like to affect. It will automatically ask you if you would like to do any of the above mentioned tasks. If you would like to select more, drag the little blue dots to the left or to the right of the word until you are selecting precisely.
  • Undo

    Just Shake it! Ha ha. Neat.
 
9 Comments

Posted by on April 17, 2011 in Technology

 

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WordPress blog from iPad2


I am writing this blog from my iPad2. I love it, but the App has it’s limits. In order for you to write your own blog:

  • Download the WordPress App from the AppStore
  • Go to your blog online. (not from the WordPress App)
  • Log in
  • Go to: “Settings” –> “Writing” –> “Remote Publishing”
  • Check “Enable the Atom Publishing Protocol”
  • Check “Enable the WordPress, Movable Type, MetaWeblog and Blogger XML-RPC publishing protocols”
  • Save changes
  • Log in to the WordPress App
  • Add or edit “Posts”, “Pages” and “Comments”.

I tried to add pics through the iPad2. First, I tried the Free Adobe Photoshop Express App. Surprisingly, it didn’t open PSD files. Huh?

My next step was to look at the PSD viewer from Adobe, but it seems just like the name implies… a viewer!

I downloaded Layersforipad for $5.99, hoping it would allow me to open and edit PSD files. I can create PSD files, but I cannot open my saved files from Dropbox.

I have a red border, that you see around every image in my blog, that I want to continue on the images. In order to do this I have to:

  • Download an image with the border (This is not the PSD file, which would be ideal)
  • Open the file in “Layersforipad”
  • Painstakingly, delete the inner image, but not the border, pixel by pixel. (This took about an hour or more)
  • Prepare the image I want to use with “moreBeaute2″ to soften and correct, and “PS Express” to crop
  • Insert the photo layer in “Layersforipad”
  • Save to photos
  • Resize the image in the “Resize photos” app
  • Upload the image through the WordPress app, which always places the image at the bottom of the post (it is necessary to copy and paste the HTML code if I want to move the image

Note about writing blogs through the WordPress App: There is no WYSIWYG editor. Therefore it is useful, almost crucial that you can edit HTML in order to have proper formatting.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 9, 2011 in Technology

 

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