A few suggestions. Tell me what you think.
I'm not sure if similar ideas have been suggested before, whether in the Hackathon or elsewhere, so I apologize if some of these have been previously pointed out or already implemented. Some are pointless but fun!
Adding new words to the vocabulary section: In the Immersion section, when translating an article, we often encounter new words. Why not give us the option of saving them for later review? That way we'll be able to remember them better in context, create word links, references,... etc.
Allowing native speakers to submit quality audio recordings for the current lesson examples: The Duolingo Team might give a listen to the samples provided by users, pick up the best ones and add them- instead of the unnatural computerized current voice. Maybe even multiple versions of the same example e.g. male and female versions, which can be played at random whenever the example is repeated in different exercises. Users can get points/lingots for that as well.
Statistics/search section: Total number of users, currently online users, currently practicing users, country/location and age stats, most popular languages,... etc. I just think it'll be fun and informative to have a such tool available.
A sort of grading system: Perhaps some (culturally related?) titles for certain levels; when a user reaches a milestone they get a certain title/badge for their profile and/or beside their user name. I think leveling up will be more fun this way, and in accordance with the whole 'game' feel of the site.
Flags! Adding the flag of your country to your profile, small and neat! Adding your mother tongue, second language, third language,... etc. Also adding the languages that you're hoping to learn even if you're not actually learning them yet.
Cultural integration: In the exercises, why not use country-specific foods, locations, feasts, holidays,... etc? With small explanations of these culturally related aspects, it'd be really beneficial in the long run.
A journal: Have users write stuff in their target language and allow native speakers to correct them.
Duo the Owl emoticons: To use in the Discussion section, future chat rooms and such.
Personal Duolingo history: For every user, like when he/she started using Duolingo, time taken to complete a tree,... etc. (Mainly because stuff like that gets forgotten over time and some people, including me, don't keep track of their progress chronologically).
I don't like the titles idea. Would you feel motivated by being called an equivalent of "noob" (even if the most harmless word was found)? Calling people names would encourage elitism. Instead, we all seem equal this way; levels are just that - progress. No one should feel better or worse for joining early or late, or for how much time they can devote a week. And remember: One can level up by simply exercising. So someone with a lot of free time can take Basics 1 over and over again, just to gain a status symbol. At this point, levels would lose their meaning to the user.
You're totally right, honestly I didn't like it at all. Titles involve classes, and i don't like that, I like to think we're all equal, levels and coins are enough distinction, and feels like we're all equal at the same time plus your last point is so strong that i'll change my lastest post. I'll just vote for the other 5 ideas.
Totally agree with you on this one. The levels are a nice personal motivator and fit in with the gamification side of things, but should I think, be left at that. I practice a lot, as I find it's the only way I can grasp new vocabulary and concepts, as a result my level has been steadily rising but I'm only about halfway through my tree and still have a long way go!
I think it's indeed not a good idea to focus on "classes", but I think that it would be nice to give every level a name. These names don't have to be like "noob", "advanced" or "expert" but more neutral and fun words, like for example... give them names of animals in the language of your course. So in french it would things be like "dauphin" and "papillon". It doesn't really have to be linked to the difficulty of the level (but of course it could be, like maybe bigger and bigger animals), it's just to make reaching a level a better experience.
You're a genius, those are great ideas. But before a little thinking I have to vote down for the 5th. But vote up for the first four and the 6th one.
Here's a few more Ideas that can help
1) In addition to the translations when you put the mouse pinter over a word there should be:
1.1 Dictionary information, as: meaning of the word as a noun, as a verb, as an intergection, etc, synonyms, anthonyms, paronyms, etc... (you get the point)
1.2 Examples of the word correctly used in a sentece.
2) Auto detection of common expression, for example, whey there is something like "get used to it" the idea is that when you put the mouse pointer over any of those words, the program auto detects its mean and displays "acostumbrate" "acostúmbrense" as a translation of the whole thing
3) An installable desktop app that it's a full dictionary to use online or offline everytime you want (not just when you're conected on duolingo) Just like "babylon translator" (a program) you just would have to ctrl+right click over a word and it will display everthing i've said before (in 1 and 2)
4) An easy way to create, moderate and/or join to open or private chatrooms with audio conferences.
5) Definitly a "suggestion space" it's a good idea.
I've been using "babylon translator" the last two years and i've never had problems with the space, may be duoling's menues are so big. Just think in a windos like this popping up over the word http://download.chip.eu/ii/218343803_eadcadabaa.jpg And I think there's ALWAYS ways to make things work,
My points are, that with the lenguage structure (1, and 2) you're not only able to speak but you'll be able to study the structures of each lenguage, what gives you a better understanding of the lenguage itself.
3 is the most important of my sugestions i think cuz the idea is that as the same time that you can use the app to help yourself (without open google translate duolingo, or whatever) like babylon does, it plus help duolingo to get better, cuz you could rate the translations, or even correct it making duolingo able to translate the web everywhere every time not only when people uploads a document.
The 4 point is pretty obvious it will provide us a really useful tool to learning lenguage wich is an inmersion with native people.
Here's an idea how the "sugestion space" could work, the first thing to do is to put it somewhere where it'd be easy to find, like in the main tab just before mobile for example. Then this is how it works like: You can do 2 things "make a suggestion" or "view suggestions" then when you make a suggestion, it will be just like a thread like this (title, explanation) BUT, it won be posted untill it has a certain amount of votes and a certain % of vote up, let's say 2000 votes and 90% positive (JUST TO SAY), otherwise it will be dissmised as a bad idea. To make this preselection there's two options, the first one is that when you use "view suggestions" buttom, it could 1) force you to vote a certain amount of those suggestion that are not definitly yet, before to see the current (available) suggestions, or 2) it could ASK you to do it, or may be put a third buttom that would be "vote new suggestions". This way only the good suggestion will survive, and it could be an space just like "Discussion" space, but where only suggestion, pruposes, and change are being discussing.
These are great, especially the titles and the flags. Currently I feel like the profile pages only show your activity in Duolingo instead of telling others who you are as a person. Duolingo could use all that profile info to collect the stats and to learn more about their users, thus making Duolingo even better.
Did I say something wrong in my comment, or are people just against the title idea and/or sharing more of themselves in their profiles? I understand the titles can seem like a bad idea to some people and I can totally live without that feature, I'm just thinking it from the perspective of gamification as did the original poster :)
Gamification is not a purpose unto itself. As I argued in my post above, titles would be detrimental here.
In games, there are winners and losers, games are inherently competitive, and it's useful to know who's the fittest. Here - in constrast - we do best to collaborate. We advance in cooperation, not confrontation, and therefore, accentuating differences is not useful. The feature would be a piece of cake to implement, I'm sure @Luis could do it in no time. However, I don' think he should, for the same reason why I don't think we should upvote comments because they make us laugh: Not everything that's fun is helpful.
So, long story short: My downvote is out of disagreement (I also don't care for sharing personal information). I think the focus should remain on learning. If someone's competitive there's a "Compete with your friends" feature. As for the jokes, perhaps a "general" category could be added to "Discussions", just to contain random and off topic threads. But it is my opinion that the core of this site should be dedicated and developed with an exclusive goal of helping users absorb knowledge.
Thank you for clearing that up. I now understand that all the extra "bells and whistles" could distract users from the language learning and new people coming here (and not knowing English or the terminology so well) might be intimidated by them. So while I would enjoy those features, they wouldn't serve the purpose of this site. I think Duolingo has done a great job so far, keeping it simple while adding the fun factor to learning.
What I do not get is why you can only translate from your learning language to English... That's a shame as you only practice comprehension, not expression. So, yeah, of course it would be less efficient, but you could first submit the text for translation to people learning the target language, then submit it to native speakers for review. Else it's almost only a question of finding the perfect "turn of phrase"... I'm mostly looking to improve my Spanish right now, not my English! :-) (I must admit I'm new to this website so maybe I missed something...)
The testing of audio recordings submitted by native speakers can also be done by other users.
Say, someone submits a recording for a sentence. If you are a native speaker of that language and you wish to help, you can go to the appropriate section of the website, and listen to the recording, and either upvote, or downvote it. If it gets enough upvotes it is added as the default recording for that sentence instead of the synthesised one.
I like the flag idea (especially native language's flag, the others (of the 5th point) seems of few interest to me: we're not on FB...), and more than in the profile I would like (as I already suggested it) to see the native language's flag(s) next to nicknames in the discussion, before the flags with your level in each languages. It would avoid to have to point out that you're native speaker when explaining/helping someone.
Very good ideas that will make Duo even more beneficial and lively. Here's another idea I've been trying to get recognized. My issue is with the repeated changes made on the Immersion from: wrong to right, back to wrong again then right... often it's the same two translators playing Duo tennis. What I envision would be a kind of forum where a consensus could be reached through exchanges of ideas. It would facilitate the translations and help us learn. And yes I know there is a space in the edit section but it doesn't seem enough to cut down the needless repetitions.
I'd like to clear up what I meant about the titles idea. You know when you finish a language tree and you get a Duo with a flag badge? I meant something of similar sort but instead of at the very end of the tree, you get it when you finish each section of the tree. Also, I personally feel that when you finish a tree, leveling up becomes a little vague, like there's no clear distinction between levels. Of course, your own progress is the most important indicator but I was thinking of something to enhance the sense of achievement since it's what seems to motivate people around here. This is especially true, in my opinion, after you finish a language tree. A badge or a title is hardly more harmful than a level number beside your user name, don't you think? If I were the kind of person who keeps retaking beginner level lessons to level up meaninglessly for showing off, I'd probably do the same thing to get a badge/title.