Thursday, December 23, 2010

Voxy: Learning English through the News

My mother's dream is to speak English as fluently as I do. I enjoyed teaching her during my few breaks back home, but after a while I started feeling tired. I was sick of reading through the textbooks that her awful ESL classes at the local community college forced her to labor through - what middle-aged student of English cares about the difference between past imperfect jibbers and future perfect jabbers? I started to amass different language learning sites mainly because I wanted my mother to use them and for me to remember them, but there was something flawed in those sites' curricula as well. They were teaching languages as systematically and academically as her textbooks. I wanted my mother to learn English as naturally as possible so that she could use it as quickly as possible.
Then I heard about Voxy. This is the pitch that its "About Us" says:
Voxy is about learning from what’s around you. From your life. Our unique bite-size language lessons use fresh, entertaining, topical content of your choosing, whether that be a story about your favorite team, some juicy gossip that just came out in the tabloids, or current events like politics and business. We then deliver these lessons to you wherever you want them, whether that is on your computer, in your email inbox, or via SMS. Finally, we make the quizzes, questions and practice fun, rewarding you along the way for becoming a better English speaker.

I forwarded it to my mother immediately. (My mother has been grasping the basics of the computer, the Microsoft Office Suite, and the Internet.) She is testing it out now, but I think Vconcept is brilliant. For now, it focuses on ESL learners (like my mother!), but it plans to expand into another languages. I can't wait until Voxy provides learning tools for East European and Southeast Asian languages!

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