The other night I watched Luis von Ahn’s TED Talk on Duolingo: The Next Chapter in Human Computation. It was remarkable. Von Ahn is remarkable! Duolingo is his solution to making the internet accessible in every language. And a free solution (rather than paying for professional translators). Basically, as the app teaches you the basics to a language, you are taking part in the translation of the web. I don’t really get how it technically works (his TED talk does explain it somewhat), but the app is fantastic, as is the website. I am working on Spanish and French. It offers French, Spanish, German, Italian and Portugese. I only wish there was Mandarin offered, as I would love to continue pursuing this language skill. It would be an excellent resource for any language teacher. Plus, it’s free!
Duolingo isn’t von Ahn’s only innovation. He is also the creator of RECAPTCHA, a free anti-bot system that is digitizing books while you fill in the little one or two word answers during password security checks on websites. Genius!