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Saturday, 02 December 2017 09:36

Toondoo

Toondoo is an easy-to-use web-based application for creating comic books. That is why it is preferred by educators. It is so easy that even Elementary school children are able to use it without any issues.

Children are asked to imagine and make their own little stories by cultivating their metacognitive skills such as creativity and imagination.

Initially, it is mandatory to select a username and password in order to allow the user to enter the platform. After entering, the user is ready to begin his interaction with the world of Toondoo.

To begin with the user has to decide the structure of the comic, which is the desired number of slides and then starts the process of creating the story. The available range of characters is really enormous as the user can choose between men, women, children, birds and animals, athletes, famous faces, black and white figures and others. Next, he chooses the background image from an equally wide variety of sceneries such as exterior or interior spaces, the outer space, nature, abstract patterns, etc.). Then the story is enriched with objects such as trees, exterior or interior elements, sports items and many more. A story, however, to become a real comic needs text. The student can then add his own unique dialogues that enhance the final product. There is the whole pedagogical support as users make their own little adventure. According to the theory of cognitivism, learning is the result of the information processing element that is diffused during the process of creating a story. Within a meaningful environment, the student actively participates in discovery, experience and modeling, using the learning material, having full control over it. This way, this process is also linked with constructivist theories. The user, after completing his work, can either save it to continue it at a next stage or publishes it if he is satisfied with the result. Finally, it is important to mention that the user is able to communicate with other members of the Toondoo community, as the final sketch can be a source of feedback from third-party users.

Teachers can make whole presentations, exercises or comic books and pupils through entertainment to improve their knowledge.

Create your own comics at http://www.toondoo.com/

Published in Creativity

Duolingo

One of the most popular and well-known tools for learning a language online is Duolingo. Duolingo is completely free, easy to use and makes it a lot of fun the acquisition of a new language. There is a variety of languages you can choose from, including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, Turkish, Japanese, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Hebrew, Vietnamese, Greek, Ukrainian, Welsh, Hungarian, Swahili, Korean, Romanian, Czech and Chinese.

How does it work?

Duolingo is a great example of a straightforward language app. It’s really simple to use. You set up a profile, choose your target language, set your weekly goals (only if you’re brave enough) and off you go! There is an option to ‘test out a language’ when you begin a new language. You can start with the basics or you can take an ‘entry test’ and let the app determine your fluency level.

Each course in Duolingo is made up of modules. The modules upon completion are grouped to form the student's language level. Duolingo dictates the order in which you need to complete the different modules, with new modules becoming active only once you’ve completed the previous one. This is also the case with individual lessons within each module. For example you have to complete lesson 1 in order to be able to progress to lesson 2, and so on.There are dozens of sets of lessons at Duolingo called Skills. Some of them include the following: Basics, Phrases, Food, Present, Adjectives, Plurals, Family, Questions, Numbers, Household, Colors, Comparison, Qualifiers, Measure, Clothing, Animals, Prepositions, Dates & Time, Nature, and Medical.

At the end of each lesson, you get a progress report that also shows your ‘streak’ – the number of days in a row that you’ve completed.Keep in mind that a user account isn't required to use Duolingo, but it's recommended if you want to keep track of your progress.

Interface

Pedagogical background:

The lessons include images, text, and audio, and sometimes has you speak into a microphone (if you have one) to test your speaking and pronunciation skills. New vocabulary is often taught with images, and grammar points are explained in little speech bubbles. There are also listening exercises where you need to type what you hear, and speaking exercises where you say what you hear. Duolingo recognizes that language learners need to be motivated to make sure they come back to the app and engage in some more language fun. Duolingo is a constructivistic tool that uses several different methods to keep you interested but the most useful is the Gamification .The goals a student can choose from range from ‘casual’ to ‘insane’, depending on how serious one is about learning and how quickly one wants to progress. This works well for those who are motivated by the idea of making a ‘formal arrangement’ with the app. The theory of gamification is applied since you get extra points called Lingots every time you complete one of the goals that you or the application has set, thus increasing the motivation of the learner. It can also attract visual learners due to the fact that a lot of the learning that goes on in Duolingo is visual. There are pictures for learning vocabulary, colours that indicate whether you’re right or wrong, and highlighted tapable text for new words or grammar points.

Technological background:

Duolingo is an adaptive web 2.0 meaning that the program adapts to you, it learns what you know by usage and suggests what you should learn next. To achieve that it uses an algorithm that calculates data from articles found on the Internet to automatically build courses, considering it will adapt automatically as the language evolves. Duolingo is available on Personal Computers, Mobile devices (IOS and Android)

Interface

Published in Learning on the go