Relaunch of italki.com language learning social network
December 13, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology NewsSHANGHAI, China - December 13, 2007 - In the year since it went live, italki.com has transformed language learning for thousands of people across the globe. The groundswell from word-of-mouth recommendations by italki's 100,000 users, empowered by the social network features on the site, has reached the tipping point. Now the site is pushing online learning to the next level with a major relaunch.
"I took English for ten years, but could not say one sentence," is a phrase the founders, Yongyue Jiang and Kevin Chen, had heard from frustrated language learners. Fixing this problem was what drove them to create their language-learning social network, italki.com.
The site's relaunch, on December 10, carries forward their dream of harnessing Web 2.0 technology to make language learning free for all, and to eliminate the time wasted on ineffective language learning methods.
By creating a social network of language learners, italki established a platform for students to learn from and encourage each other. In a "language exchange," students pair up with their counterparts from other countries to teach each other their native languages. By using the latest video and voice-enabled instant messengers, students can start speaking, writing, and communicating with one another - at no cost.
"Some sites focus on Western countries because their market research tells them that's where the money is. We're interested in building a truly global community where every language and country is represented," says Chen.
italki.com will support eleven languages (English, Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, and Korean), with more languages in the pipeline.
Key aspects of italki are:
* Member-to-Member Learning — Students can find language partners from all over the world to practice speaking a foreign language ("language exchange"). Members can use email, IM, voice, video, and text to communicate with each other.
* Community — Members can rely on the community for "answers" and help. Members can post a question about a language and get a response from other members.
* Open-Source — Members are able to download and upload free documents about learning languages.