It is time you joined Duolingo!
Duolingo is a language learning website and app. It offers courses (as of this writing) in Spanish, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, and Italian.
Duolingo is free of charge, I really like their motto " Language for all", I recently learned that it generates revenue from its users translating real-world content in the Immersion section. Clever, eh?
At Portuguese on Demand we started to use Duolingo as an extra tool for our classes in 2014. Since then, many students have joined our "community" of learners, by adding one another to their profiles. Below you see my own profile page and to the right, the students that belong to our "network" .
When you start at Duolingo you can either start from scratch or take a placement test. I strongly recommend that students who have some experience in the language to take the test as to be placed in the right level and feel motivated to progress - don't worry, you will not lose out words if you skip to a higher level - Duolingo has a very smart brain and will make you work with the vocabulary from the levels you have skipped.
As you can see below, each learner has their own "language tree" - we need to complete each part of it in order to be allowed in the next level. We earn points as we go and as we collect points and special "lingots", we are offered new extra lessons in exchange for the lingots we have. Don't worry much about it for now, though.
By sticking together, I am able to visualise how often each student is using the app, if they are keeping to their goal, I can also message them to motivate, to asnwer questions etc. The "XP" you can see beside each person is the points system Duolingo uses to measure the learner's progress. Duolingo ranks us on a weekly basis, you can see that I am behind students Debbie, Graham and Pamela on that week.
Each Unit you complete you earn *lingots* . If you earn 25 lingots, you can use them to purchase the Timed Practice option in the Duolingo store. Timed Practice means that you can race against a clock as you complete your lessons. Being under pressure is something we need to practise when learning Portuguese, as in real life conversation, people expect us to interact naturally, that is, respond to the questions and sentences with a certain speed...
Duolingo offers more than Portuguese lessons, if you access their website, you can benefit from their other exciting features the app offers, as we will explore below.
I personally like the section WORDS which tells me what Portuguese words I have used, which ones I still need to practice and even offer me some flashcards to help on this, as you can see on the picture below.
If you want to time yourself and keep track of your response time when revising the words you need, you can do so by clicking STRENGTHEN SKILLS:
For the Intermediate and Advanced levels, the section IMMERSION offers texts you can read and translate online - with the help of other Portuguese learners. You’ll be doing “crowdsourced” translation, in which you view others’ translations and vote on whether they’re accurate, and also provide revisions or original translations of your own. As my students know, I use Duolingo to learn German, and even though I am a very humble basic level learner, I had already tried to translate some small sentences on the Immersion section and I like to see the translation other learners assign to sentences I can already recognise. See below an example of the Immersion section: