Teacher Inquiry - How can we improve the use of independent learning tools like Duolingo?
Ian Hunter, a language teacher at the Island School in Hong Kong wants to help his students get the most out of independent learning tools. Excited that Duolingo allows students to learn as many languages as they want at their own pace, he and his colleagues decided to launch a project to include Duolingo in their European languages curricula, gather student and educator feedback and document the results.
We were very interested to read these insights and listen to 11th grade student interviews about learning with Duolingo. Ian and his team found Duolingo to be a highly effective tool and concluded that the key was getting students to use it regularly and think of it as fun instead of work. Following the research, the Island School's European Languages Department decided to write an 'expectations' policy, detailing what students should be doing, both in class and out of class to be successful language learners.
"We added to the policy that students should be using Duolingo several times a week to improve their French or Spanish."
Check out the project's blog and share your ideas and questions about independent learning tools in the language classroom. Which tools and strategies have you tried? What works for your students and what doesn't?
Great stuff! Thank you for sharing this. Here is some additional classroom-based research and student feedback based on my use of Duolingo in an experimental course (17 high school students learning any language they like using DL or other method - almost all stuck with DL): http://www.las.ch/academics/laser/edresearch/. Scroll down to Research Briefs and Reports.
I have had some great improvement with students who regularly use Duolingo in my French programme. However, two students have reached the end of the "skills tree" and now have to go back and practice at least some of the skills they have completed ( to make them gold) so that new levels can open up. For both of them this has happened at level 12 which has some great material for my students but I do hope new levels and increased skills will open up as I really need this for my high school programme.
As a teacher, I would LOVE to see the following: 1) better descriptions of the lessons - for example: The introduction lesson has 3 lessons: what do those lessons teach? 2) I'd like to be able to click on each lesson within the "animals" section & assign those - or show it to my students within my instruction as a model or example. 3) the ability to assign strengthening skills within specific lessons & not expect students to know which lessons they need help in.