Wordsteps cofounder Vladimir Saranchin is with us today. Wordsteps is an language learning website that helps users learn and retain foreign words. Users can spend 15-20 minutes a day learning 20 word, with results in about 240 words per month and roughly 3000 words per year. Vladimir is with us today to talk about wordsteps and online education.
1. Tell us a bit about your background and how you got involved in wordsteps.
While working on our first project to help people learn English language called RapidSteps.com, we realized what a great number of users wanted to learn foreign words, and not just English words. People demanded simple and convenient service with no confusing details; something that allowed them to monitor statistics and learning progress.
So we’ve gathered all that feedback and gave birth to a convenient international online service to improve and keep users vocabularies smart with minimum efforts and time. And guess what! Even if you plan to go out with friends for a beer on Friday, you will still have enough time to learn a couple of new words with WordSteps.com!
2. What separates wordsteps from other language learning programs?
What results can be achieved with WordSteps anyways? It appears that, according to linguistic researches and studies, the most efficient way to learn foreign words is by memorizing not more than 20 words a day. Multiply this number by 365 days and get more than 7000 words in one year. Taking in account that normally no one wants to study every day and the best scenario is once in two days, we get a little more than 3000 words. Not enough? Don’t rush with conclusions. According to statistics that amount of words is enough to understand 80% of all foreign books, newspapers and movies, and this is more than enough to hold day to day conversations with foreigners.
So here is the target – to learn about 3000 words a year. And it’s WordSteps service that can help achieve this goal.
In order to save your time and fit into 15 minutes, we offer you our collection of dictionaries available on the website in nine different languages. Professional instructors and language native speakers prepare most of those dictionaries. But every user is also encouraged to create his own dictionaries of words he/she wants to learn.
There are some web-services with the similar functionality, but WordSteps offers better features, interesting exercises, fre mobile client for learning words “on the go” and social component. We also can expand the number of additional languages in a few hours on users demand.
3. What is the value of language learning technology in our increasingly globalized world?
There are literally thousands of languages spoken in the world. Those who can speak one or more foreign languages as well as their native language have many advantages. For example, some parents want to enhance their children’s ability to communicate with those around them as a method of gaining cultural understanding. Others would like to prepare them for careers in our increasingly globalized and interdependent world. College-bound homeschoolers may be studying a language in order to enhance their applications, as many colleges and universities value, or in some cases even require, foreign language proficiency. Online language tools can help students to learn languages effortlessly at home. With the latest Internet technologies students can practice their reading, writing and even pronunciation skills.
4. Finally, what can we expect from wordsteps in the future?
In future we are planning to increase the number of online courses on improving vocabulary. At the present moment we have only one, but very popular course: Active Vocabulary of Everyday Life. It contains the words which are widely used in almost all real-life situations. We’ve got lots of positive reviews on such king of courses.
On the other hand we’re going to give people some additional ways for words memorizing. For example, we’re working on the mobile client for Java supported cell phones and Android. The applications, will be available via the WordSteps website and help users to learn new foreign words available in seven most popular languages.
5. Besides language technology, what other developments in educational technology excite you the most?
I like the idea of an interactive whiteboard that provides touch control of computer applications. These enhance the experience in the classroom by showing anything that can be on a computer screen. This not only aids in visual learning, but it is interactive so the students can draw, write, or manipulate images on the SmartBoard. Such king of virtual SmartBoard can be used in our future services also.
Thanks for sitting down with us Vladimir! Again, you can find wordsteps here. For more information about