Learning English can be tough even for native English speakers. Many rules have exceptions and there are many nuances to the language in general. Many studies have agreed that immersion in a language is one of the best ways to learn a new language, but in times when people cannot immerse themselves in the language, it can be difficult to know what to do. This is where websites like iDialogue become invaluable.
iDialogue is an online ecosystem for collaborative learning, language practice and cross-cultural communication.
Upon arrival on the website, there are several places that a visitor may choose to go. First, scrolling through the home page provides some information to guests. One can immediately sign up for an account.
If you want to continue scrolling first, there are infographics and bits of information as you go. Several spaces offer a link to go back to the sign-up page.
Before we cover that, though, I would like to cover the links at the top.
There is a current challenge in which students monitor their trash output and evaluate what they have collected. There are many opportunities to not only interact with others, but also consider their own behaviors. This will help students improve their vocabulary and social skills. There is also an opportunity to vote for the person with the best project. Each project is related to this one, but users are encouraged to upload a video and data.
The next section is the debates section. Each user can click on the debates and vote yes or no to them depending on if they are pro or con. The user can also comment like they would on a social media post. This gets them talking and debating. The current three that can be seen from this page are about social media, cloning, and animal testing. Participating in debates helps to develop critical thinking and communication skills.
Teachers who sign up on iDialogue can register their students, manage those registrations, and view student progress as it happens. The site asks about the age and English level of the students. There are options for young students, older students, and adult students. The levels are beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The account is free and does not ask for any sort of payment. The teacher page includes a dashboard where you can access and assess your students work on the platform.
Teachers an add students manually or they can easily register on iDialogue using the class code. No personal information needed.
Once students are enrolled, teachers can see student progress, chat with students, and award them badges. If students are struggling with an area, teachers can provide interventions to help students become stronger speakers of English. Teachers can do all of this remotely, so at times when the teacher cannot be in class with students or instances of online learning, teachers can interact with students as they would in a typical classroom setting.
Teachers can also see student participation within the community and any information the student may have added. If a class ends or a student is no longer working with that teacher, he or she may remove the student from his or her dashboard as well. Teachers can use their knowledge of their students to provide them the experience that will be the most rewarding using this dashboard.
Once your students join using the class code they will be matched with a group of PenPals from different countries ( but wishing their age group and English level) within a few hours. Student can also send friend requests to peers whom they find in community and challenges. Don’t worry, everything is transparent and you will be able to see all the activities of your students, including their friend list 🙂
Students can interact in group and individual chats. There is a chatbot Elvis who guides discussions with questions 🙂
The community tab allows students to interact. Current events seem to dominate the community boards because COVID-19, quarantine, and home are words that pop up often. Students who may be learning from home for whatever reason can still interact with peers. Student culture and experiences are boundless in this tab. Students can talk about how their lives have changed or the things that they miss that were part of their culture. This can provide them with a connection they may be missing if they are learning from home.
While no website is perfect, iDialogue is new and inventive. This allows students from across the globe to interact while learning English. If they are not able to submerge themselves in the language at home, they can certainly interact in this space. This allows students to approach learning from a new stance. They can write a blog type post for the community, participate in a challenge, or watch videos that teach them about the world around them. Teachers can also learn about teaching and language development. This website is a great tool for teaching English and can help students of various ages and learning levels. It is a highly recommended website with invaluable tools for English Language Learners.
While our world is shifting to become more interconnected than ever, in many ways, students’ success in life will be defined by their ability to interact, cooperate, and learn with others who are different. And the younger people are the easier and “more natural” it is for them to embrace the differences and learn to be enriched by it.