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Babbel’s highlights from our Team’s perspective!

Posted on January 20, 2014 by

With our Babbel birthday/ Christmas party last Friday, the weekend was slightly shorter for our 110 Babbel colleagues than usual. We had lots of fun celebrating Babbel’s six birthday and its numerous milestones achieved so far. In this video you can see what some colleagues of our team remember as a personal highlight of 2013 and they wish Babbel for the future!

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The new app now available for Android

Posted on January 14, 2014 by

English for work, Spanish for the next holiday or Italian for the nice neighbour from across the road: For all those who have resolved to achieve a lot in 2014, there is now something new from Babbel. Just in time for the new year, we have released our new app for Android devices.

PM-Android-FullApp-eng-spa

Mobile learning on­ the­ go is currently a central theme for us. The comprehensive apps for iOS started it all for us a few months ago. Since then many of you have been waiting for an app that is more than a simple vocabulary trainer for your Android phone or tablet. And here it is ­ so now also Android users can learn languages while they travel. All the popular courses from Babbel are finally available in mobile format, and your learning progress is automatically synchronised between all devices and the Web.

Optically the app matches the new uniform look of Babbel with its clear lines. In addition to the new logo, it presents the new icon symbol for the mobile user interface ­ a large “B” with a plus in front of it ­ no frills, just concentrating on the essentials. This is Babbel 2014!

Also new is the fact that there is no longer a separate app for each learning language: For the first time now all languages are combined in one app. So you can switch freely between languages and try out the first lesson of each course for free. Babbel customers automatically have full access to all courses in their purchased language(s).

So go ahead and download it, log in and discover ­ and maybe the good intentions will also work out!

Click here to go to the new app in the Google Play Store­

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The Learning Revolution: It’s Not About Education

Posted on January 8, 2014 by

Wired, the US magazine on emerging technologies, published an article from Markus Witte, CEO and co-founder, on the the revolution taking place in private learning. Read it here:

The education system is changing. Established teaching methodologies are reaching their limits in most developed countries. New requirements are needed. In the search for solutions, technology is playing an increasingly prominent role — allowing for new approaches such as the “inverted classroom,” Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) and “mobile learning”. We keep hearing of an “education revolution” — one in which technology will bring upon a radical transformation in schools and universities.

There are certainly great hopes for a change to the better but recent news are somewhat discouraging. Some even spoke of a “backlash” after Udacity, one of the most ambitious projects to revolutionize higher education, changed course towards corporate customers. Other, less well-known initiatives are also struggling: I recently spoke on a panel about “the future of education” together with a manager from a large publishing house that develops new digital products for schools and a CEO of a startup that built an adaptive software tool for maths education. Both discussed ways to persuade governments, ministries and committees to use their newest tools. But even to run a test involves a sales cycle of way more than a year — not exactly the pace of a revolution.

 

Education Will Change With the Way We Learn

Real changes and disruptions usually come “from below”: through the individual decisions of the many rather than through sweeping decrees from the government. From the car to the internet to the tablet to the iPhone — that is, in all the great upheavals that new technologies have created in our lifestyle, culture, and working environment — it has been the many individuals that have decided to adopt changes, not the politicians.

The good news is that there is indeed a revolution going on. But it is not about education systems. It is about learning. It is people taking learning into their own hands. A new trend is initiated by a whole new breed of learning technology start-ups that set out to make learning easier for everybody. Their goal is not to alter elementary education or university teaching. They do not deal with governments; their customers are not countries and states. They are focused solely on their users — people who want to learn something. And this is a powerful force to harness.

Learning tools like Babbel are directly tailored to the user; there are no institutions in between. People decide for themselves whether or not the product helps them toward their goals and is worth their money. It’s a much smaller-scale enterprise than a nationwide introduction of new software for schools or the building of an online university.

These upheavals are also taking place in the learning sphere but outside of the established educational systems. Students are currently not the most active in this change process. As a rule, they study for their degrees and final exams with a goal clearly in mind. Formal education is more about passing a French exam than about being able to actually talk to a French person. This is because a degree or certificate is often equally valuable as the actual knowledge or skills.

 

The Learning Revolution is Taking Place at Home

More and more people are using new technologies for self teaching. Let’s look at language learning for example. Over 100 million people all over the world are learning languages online today (1) — and only a fraction of them would ever have considered using traditional learning materials or courses to do so. As a part of my research, I have personally talked to some of them: It would never have occurred to the nurse in Louisville to buy a textbook or an expensive CD to learn a language — but now, she’s studying German on her tablet after her shift. The same holds true for the retiree in southern France who started to learn English on his laptop at the age of 70, or for the London banker riding home on the tube practicing Spanish on the latest iPhone. This group of people has decided to self teach because they came across learning tools of a new generation.

Technology is not really generating new demand but makes more things possible. E-mail, cameras in smartphones and Wikipedia are just a few examples of how this works. All these examples “replace” older technologies — and yet they open up completely new spaces.

The choices are manifold and changing at a breathtaking pace. In language learning alone, virtual classrooms, tutoring via video chat, learning communities with user-generated content, crowd-sourced translation services, and interactive services for self-learning offer a dizzying array of choices. Established standards and clear user expectations are nonexistent. Only one thing is for sure — the interest is enormous and the popularity of the internet and smartphone apps for learning is growing by leaps and bounds.

Language learning is only a part of a trend toward self-learning. Other offerings, from computer programming to brain training are popping up like daisies. No matter what the latitude or longitude, private individuals are deciding to learn on their own accord.

This revolution is taking place in living rooms and cafés, on public transport and in offices. It is carried out by people who decide to take their learning into their own hands — and they are finding ever more and better technology-based products to help them.

In the end, the education revolution might be a real, old-fashioned revolution: one that comes from below, takes unforeseen routes and hits the centers late in the process. It might already be in full swing and it might be way more powerful than it seems when we only look at the established education systems.

 

(1) a guess based on the compound user numbers of Babbel, Busuu, LiveMocha, duolingo = 140M alone. 40% of them probably use more than one platform (= 84M unique users) at least 20M more unique users will use smaller platforms

Read more about Markus Witte and the founding team here.

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So fresh! The new iPhone apps are here – with the complete range of courses!

Posted on September 24, 2013 by

Read this post in German (Deutsch), French (Français), Spanish (Español), Italian (Italiano)

Start screen for German learners

Start screen for English learners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For months our developers, designers and language teachers have toiled, heatedly debated and worked long coffee and Club Mate-fuelled nights. And now the fruits of their labor are here to coincide with the release of iOS 7: the new Babbel apps!

The Babbel “D-Team”

For the first time the new apps offer all of the popular premium features of the web version on the iPhone and iPod Touch, such as interactive dialogs, grammar, vocabulary, listening and writing exercises as well as improved speech recognition. Furthermore, we have given the mobile user interface a complete makeover: it now has a clean and modern look, is easy to use and offers even more learning fun and motivation with short animations and sound effects.

How does cross-platform learning work?

All courses in your pocket!

The mobile apps offer almost everything that the online program does (brand new courses, business

English and the intermediate-level B1 course are currently exclusively available on babbel.com) and are included with the regular subscription as standard. That means users can log in to all of the platforms using one login and learn with no extra costs. The new app is valid for all mobile devices. Once loaded and installed, a user’s learning progress is automatically synchronized between their iPhone, iPod Touch and the web.

Babbel is moving language learning out of the living room and out into the street, the park, the train, the cafe, when and wherever it suits. Users can study what they want and for as long as they wish. A few new pieces of vocabulary while waiting in line for the supermarket checkout or a grammar lesson when commuting to work. “Many people want to learn a new language but don’t have the time or the motivation,” says our CEO, Markus Witte. “The new app can help with that because it is always available and can be accessed anywhere. I am extremely proud of my team and the result of all the hard work!”

Check out the Spanish App!
Check out the French App!

New apps – soon for Android too

The apps for our three most popular languages, English, Spanish and French, are already available for free download. More languages will follow soon. As always with Babbel, the first lesson of each course is free to try. A subscription includes complete access to all of the content. Subscriptions are no longer set up via babbel.com but directly through the app. A one-month subscription can be purchased for 9.99 euro, a three-month subscription for 19.99 euro and a 6-month subscription for 33.99 euro. The free vocabulary trainer apps for the iPhone will continue to be provided as an extra until further notice.

And for all Android users: soon there will be apps for you too!

click here to go to the App Store

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Babbel App Series Reach 10 Million Downloads Milestone!

Posted on June 12, 2013 by

Read this post in German (Deutsch), French (Français), Italian (Italiano)

Enthusiasm is growing in educationnal apps and foreign languages. Since the launch of the first Babbel Apps, we are very proud to announce our apps have been downloaded over 10 million times across all platforms! A 10 Million thanks to our users!!

While the platform preferences vary from country to country, the Babbel apps were ranked first in different platforms across 35 countries! The most popular learning languages are English, Spanish and French, followed by Italian and German as shown in the infographic below.

Designed as a complement to the full web version for iOS, Android, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Amazon, the free vocabulary trainers gain in growing popularity all over the world.
With audiovisual learning content and lots of varied reading, listening and writing exercises on themes such as “Culture,” “Digital World,” “Sports” or “Holidays,” users can study the 3000 most important words and phrases in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Swedish, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, Indonesian, Turkish, Polish and English. This kind of interactive study – added to the targeted combination of reading and listening as well as matching and writing – guarantees that the learning sticks and that we remain motivated and active.

But there is more to come. We will keep you updated with more updates on our apps in the next coming months!

 

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Carnaval, playas y caipiriña…

Posted on April 30, 2013 by

…como muy tarde al oír la tercera palabra todo el mundo sabe de qué se trata: ¡Brasil! Con sus playas de arena blanca, Brasil es uno de los países más turísticos del planeta. Resulta asombroso que, a pesar de su tamaño, por lo visto bastan tres palabras para describir el país. Y es que, entre el Amazonas y su zona pantanosa en el norte y las montañas del sur, que recuerdan Suiza, hay mucho más a descubrir que la samba y Copacabana.

No es de extrañar, por ejemplo, que este país de superlativos albergue las Cataratas do Iguaçu, una de las cataratas más grandes del mundo. Sin embargo, junto a estos fenómenos naturales gigantescos también hay pequeñas maravillas. Los descarados quatís (coatíes) corren a toda velocidad por el Parque Nacional y roban a los turistas las patatas fritas y otras chucherías delante de sus narices.

 Pero no importa qué decidáis visitar durante vuestro viaje a Brasil: una de las cosas más bonitas de viajar es establecer contacto con la gente del país. Los brasileños son muy abiertos. Basta con saber decir un par de palabras como “Oi, tudo bem?” (Hola, ¿todo bien?) para empezar una charla.

Para que no tengáis que proseguir una toma de contacto tan eficaz solo con las manos y los pies, porque ahora realmente no encontráis las palabras, hemos creado el curso “Portugués para las vacaciones”, que, a lo largo de 12 lecciones, trata las bases más importantes de la comunicación para vuestra estancia en Brasil. Paso a paso practicaréis cómo afrontar situaciones tales como orientarse en la ciudad, hacer la compra o reservar una habitación de hotel. También aprenderéis a pedir en el restaurante y vocabulario gastronómico como “feijoada” o “agua de coco”.

Y ya veréis con qué rapidez van a ampliarse estos conocimientos básicos cuando estéis allí. De acuerdo con el lema: quien pide “Uma cerveija, por favor.” también debería saber pedir “Mais uma!”. En español: quien pide una cerveza también debería saber pedir la siguiente.

 

Frauke es gestora de proyectos del departamento de contenidos de Babbel con las especialidades de español y portugués. Pasó sus últimas vacaciones largas en Brasil y visitó, entre otros lugares, Ilha Grande, Rio e  Iguaçu. En el nuevo curso “Portugués para las vacaciones” os da muchos consejos sobre el idioma y la cultura de Brasil.


Aquí encontrarás el curso “Portugués para las vacaciones”.

 

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Carnevale, spiagge e Caipirinha…

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Questo articolo in: Tedesco (Deutsch), Inglese (English), Francese (Français), Spagnolo (Español)

…arrivati alla terza parola chiave avrete ormai tutti indovinato di cosa si parli: del Brasile! Con le sue spiagge di sabbia bianca, questo paese è una delle destinazioni da sogno più popolari del pianeta. E’ straordinario che lo si possa individuare con tre sole parole, considerando la sua eccezionale estensione. Perchè in realtà tra l’Amazzonia e le sue zone paludosi, a nord, e l’impressionante regione montagnosa (simile in questo alla Svizzera), a sud, c’è molto di più da scoprire, oltre alla Samba o a Copacabana.

Non sorprenderà, dunque, che questo paese dei superlativi sia la terra di una delle maggiori cascate nel mondo, le Cataratas do Iguaçu. Proprio accanto a questo gigantesco fenomeno naturale trovano anche spazio piccole meraviglie: ad esempio, l’impertinente quati (coati, in italiano), che sfreccia per il parco nazionale sgraffignando patatine e altri snacks ai turisti, direttamente sotto il loro naso.

Qualunque sia la ragione per cui doveste decidere di intraprendere un viaggio attraverso il Brasile, tuttavia, bisogna riconoscere una cosa: uno degli aspetti migliori di un viaggio è il fatto di poter entrare in contatto con gli abitanti del luogo. I brasiliani sono un popolo molto aperto. Basta spiccicare un paio di parole, come ad esempio “Oi, tudo bem?” (Ciao, tutto bene?) per far partire una conversazione. Perchè a corto di vocaboli non si debba poi continuare a soli gesti, mani e piedi compresi, dopo un primo approccio tanto ben riuscito, abbiamo sviluppato il corso di “Portoghese per le vacanze”, che tratta in dodici lezioni le basi necessarie per comunicare durante il vostro periodo di permanenza in Brasile. A piccole dosi, vi potrete esercitare in vista di situazioni incentrate sull’orientamento, gli acquisti o le prenotazioni. Si tratterà anche di come ordinare al ristorante e delle specialità gastronomiche brasiliane, come la “feijoada” o l’“água de coco”.

Con tali nozioni di base noterete con quale velocità potrete arricchirvi di nuove conoscenze quando sarete sul luogo. Come si suol dire: chi ordina “Uma cerveja, por favor” dovrebbe poter continuare con “Mais uma!”. Ovvero, chi ordina una birra, dovrebbe anche essere in grado di ordinarne un’altra.

Frauke è project manager per il contenuto didattico, con specializzazione nelle lingue spagnola e portoghese. Ha passato le sue ultime, lunghe vacanze in Brasile ed ha visitato lungo il suo percorso luoghi come Ilha Grande, Rio e Iguaçu. Nel nuovo corso di “Portoghese per le vacanze” vi fornisce consigli ed informazioni non solo sulla lingua, ma anche sulla geografia, la cultura e la civiltà del Brasile.

Vai qui al corso di “Portoghese per le vacanze”.

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Carnaval, plages et caïpirinha…

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Lire cet article en : Allemand (Deutsch), Anglais (English), Espagnol (Español), Italien (Italiano)

.. il suffit de ces quelques mots pour que le lecteur sache de quoi il est question : du Brésil ! Avec ses plages de sable fin, le Brésil est considéré comme l’une des destinations les plus paradisiaques de la planète. Pays immense s’il en est, on peut s’étonner que trois mots seulement semblent suffire à le caractériser. Car entre l’Amazone et ses marécages au nord et ses montagnes de style helvétique au sud, le Brésil a bien plus à offrir que la samba et Copacabana.

Pays des superlatifs, le Brésil abrite par exemple les Cataratas do Iguaçu, l’une des plus grandes chutes d’eau au monde. Ce gigantesque phénomène naturel se partage l’intérêt des voyageurs avec d’autres petites merveilles : les quatís (coatis), petits mammifères impertinents qui déambulent à toute vitesse dans le parc national en chapardant aux touristes leurs chips et autres barres chocolatées.

Mais quelle que soit la raison qui vous pousse à visiter le Brésil : l’une des plus belles expériences est sans aucun doute celle du contact avec les locaux. Les brésiliens sont très ouverts et quelques mots du style « Oi, tudo bem? » (Salut, ça va ?) suffisent souvent à amorcer une conversation. Pour éviter que vous n’ayez à poursuivre une prise de contact aussi prometteuse en mimant et gesticulant, nous vous avons concocté un cours intitulé « Le portugais pour les vacances ». Organisé en douze leçons, le cours traite les bases de communication essentielles pour votre séjour au Brésil. Des petits en-cas linguistiques qui vous permettent de vous entraîner pour des situations de vacances typiques : orientation, achat, réservation etc. Le cours aborde également le thème de la commande au restaurant et des spécialités culinaires locales comme la « feijoada » ou l’« água de coco » (eau de coco).

Avec ces notions en poche, vous allez vite remarquer à quelle vitesse il est possible d’étendre ses connaissances une fois sur place. Car, comme le dit la philosophie Babbel : qui commande « Uma cerveija, por favor. » devrait également pouvoir en demander « Mais uma ! » En français : qui peut se commander une bière, devrait pouvoir s’en commander une autre.

Frauke est responsable de projet spécialisée dans les contenus de langue espagnole et portugaise. Son dernier grand voyage l’a menée au Brésil où elle a entre autre visité Ilha Grande, Rio et Iguaçu. Dans le nouveau cours  « Le portugais pour les vacances », Frauke vous livre ses conseils sur la langue et la culture brésilienne.

Cliquez ici pour accéder au cours « Le portugais pour les vacances ».

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Carnaval, Beaches and Caipirinha…

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Read this post in German (Deutsch), Spanish (Español), French (Français), Italian (Italiano)

…by the third word you already know what we’re talking about: Brazil!

With those powdered-sugar-sand beaches it is one of the dream destinations of our planet. But given its sheer size, it’s hard to think that it can be characterized in just these three words alone. Between the Amazon and the wetlands in the north to the Alps-like mountainous region in the south, there’s much more to discover in Brazil than just Samba or the Copacabana.

It’s not surprising that, for example, with the Cataratas do Iguaçu, this land of superlatives hosts one of the biggest waterfalls in the world. In the vicinity of this gigantic national phenomenon, there is another, smaller wonder to be found: Cheeky quatís (coatis) who scamper around the national park and swipe away chips and other morsels from right under tourists’ noses.

No matter why you decide on a trip through Brazil, one of the nicest parts of traveling there is coming in contact with the locals. Brazilians are very open. It’s enough just to break out with a “Oi, tudo bem” (Hey, what’s up?) to get a conversation going. But in hopes that your successfully-begun conversations don’t all have to start with your hands and feet (because you don’t have the words yet), we’ve created a “Portuguese for Holidays” course – twelve lessons that deal with the most essential communication basics for your trip to Brazil. Language training in easily digestible bites gets you fit for all relevant situations, such as Orientation, Shopping or Reservations. You’ll also get tips on how to order in a restaurant along with culinary terms such as “feijoada” or “água de coco” (coconut milk). You’ll see how quickly these basics grow into a wider vocabulary once you’re on the ground. As the saying goes, he who orders “Uma cerveija, por favor,” can also get “Mais uma!” That is, he who orders one beer should also be able to order another!

Frauke is a content project manager specializing in Spanish and Portuguese. She spent her last big holiday in Brazil, and traveled to Ilha Grande, Rio and Iguaçu, among others. In the new “Portuguese for Holidays,” you can look forward to lots of other tips about the culture and language.


Go to the “Portuguese for Holidays“ course:

In English, German, Spanish, Italian or French.

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Karneval, Strände und Caipirinha…

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Dieser Post auf: Englisch (English), Französisch (Français), Spanisch (Español), Italienisch (Italiano)

…spätestens beim dritten Schlagwort weiß wohl jeder wovon die Rede ist: Brasilien! Mit seinen Puderzucker-Sandstränden ist es eines der Traumreiseländer unseres Planeten. Schon aufgrund seiner schieren Größe ist es erstaunlich, dass drei Wörter scheinbar ausreichen, um es zu charakterisieren. Denn zwischen dem Amazonas und seinem Sumpfgebiet im Norden und der wie die Schweiz anmutende Gebirgsregion im Süden gibt es mehr zu entdecken als Samba oder die Copacabana.

Es verwundert z. B. nicht, dass dieses Land der Superlative mit den Cataratas do Iguaçu einen der größten Wasserfälle der Welt beherbergt. Gleich neben diesem gigantischen Naturphänomen gibt es aber auch kleine Wunder: Vorlaute quatís (Nasenbären) flitzen durch den Nationalpark und stibitzen den Touristen ihre Chips und anderes Naschwerk direkt unter deren Nase weg.

Aber ganz gleich, wofür ihr euch auf einer Reise durch Brasilien entscheiden solltet: Eine der schönste Sachen am Reisen ist es, in Kontakt mit den Einheimischen zu treten. Die Brasilianer sind sehr aufgeschlossen. Es reicht schon, ein paar Sprachbrocken wie “Oi, tudo bem?” (Hey, alles klar?) hervorzuholen, um ein Gespräch in Gang zu bringen.

Damit ihr eine so erfolgreich begonnene Kontaktaufnahme nicht ausschließlich mit Händen und Füßen fortführen müsst, weil euch nun doch die Worte fehlen, haben wir den Kurs “Portugiesisch für den Urlaub” erstellt, der in zwölf Lektionen die wichtigsten Kommunikationsgrundlagen für euren Brasilienaufenthalt behandelt. In übersichtlichen Häppchen werdet ihr für Situationen, wie Orientierung, Einkauf oder Reservierungen trainiert. Auch auf Bestellungen im Restaurant und Kulinarisches, wie “feijoada” oder “água de coco” (Kokoswasser), wird eingegangen.

Mit diesen Grundkenntnissen werdet ihr merken, wie schnell sie sich vor Ort noch erweitern lassen. Frei nach dem Motto: Wer “Uma cerveija, por favor.” bestellt, sollte auch “Mais uma!” fordern können. Zu Deutsch: Wer sich ein Bier bestellt, sollte sich auch ein weiteres bestellen können.

 Frauke ist Content-Projektmanagerin mit den Schwerpunkten Spanisch und Portugiesisch. Ihren letzten großen Urlaub verbrachte sie in Brasilien und bereiste u. a. Ilha Grande, Rio und Iguaçu. Im neuen Kurs “Portugiesisch für den Urlaub” gibt sie viele Tipps zu Sprache und Landeskunde an euch weiter.

Hier geht’s zum Kurs “Portugiesisch für den Urlaub” in den Referenzsprachen Deutsch, Englisch, Französisch, Italienisch und Spanisch.

 

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