It’s here! An awesome, brand-new FluentKey Live experience.

Today, we’re super excited to introduce the new FluentKey Live!

We’ve incorporated the most popular requests from teachers–and also added some awesome improvements of our own. Here’s what changed:

  • Full Screen View: Live now has a beautiful, intuitive full-screen view.
  • Student Names: Students can create their own names when they join Live. (Don’t worry–teachers can also kick students with inappropriate names!)
  • Increased Text Size: questions are now much easier to see on a projector.
  • Redesigned Question Preview: the “Watch Again” and “Ready to Answer” features are now much more intuitive to use.
  • Class Question Average: see how well your class did on any question.
  • Summary Report: after the Live game is over, see the full results for how your students did in our Teacher Dashboard.

Go to fluentkey.com and play FluentKey Live to check out the changes for yourself!

Love the updates? Have a suggestion? Tell us your thoughts here.

The Importance of Input

The one question that my students ask me all the time is, “How do I REALLY learn a language? How can I become fluent?”

And I always like to share this simple rule: 

“What goes in, is what goes out.”

In other words, in order to be able to produce language, first you have to develop strong receptive language skills.

We can formulate this idea in different ways, like Stephen Krashen did with his theory of “comprehensible input.” Less technically, it means we should be asking our students to read and listen in the target language–a lot.

Here’s a picture!

The box here is your brain. Your brain is incredibly magical. It can take other peoples’ words that you hear and read, and then mix them up, reorganize them, turn them into your own thoughts and words. Your brain is like a transmuter of language.

But, just like an alchemist, your brain can’t do any magic if you don’t supply it with the right ingredients. Comprehensible input creates comprehensible output. If your starve your brain, or if you fill it up with nonsense, you’re not going to be happy with the result.

What goes in is what comes out.

This is a pretty obvious point, but one that’s often overlooked. Know someone who spends all her time memorizing flashcards but can’t order a cup of coffee? Have a student who’s really good at verb conjugations but can’t understand a simple class announcement? These are all people that have fallen into this trap.

In class, it’s easy to ask students to do things: write an essay, give a presentation, create a project. And that should, rightfully, be the ultimate goal of language learning.

Before we demand that students do, however, I would suggest that we first ask them to absorb. The more listening and reading they get, the stronger their language foundation will be, and the more fluently they’ll be able to produce the speech and writing we expect.

Join our Beta! What do you have to lose?

So, what’s the best way to give our students comprehensible input?

For reading, extensive reading with graded readers are a great way to get started. In my Chinese class, we use book series like Mandarin Companion and Chinese Breeze, as well as leveled news articles from Chairman’s Bao

For listening, obviously, we think that FluentKey is a great way for students to improve their listening skills 😜. Our site has hundreds of fun, engaging, and authentic videos in the world’s most popular languages. Easily find the perfect video for your students and then assign them to watch it. You can even track their understanding with built-in quizzes and other cool interactive tools. Best of all… it’s free!

Whatever you choose, just remember the rule.

This Week in FluentKey

Hey awesome teachers,

Thanks so much for checking out our beta launch. We’ve heard a lot of great things about Fluentkey from you guys. We also got some fantastic feedback and suggestions. Keep them coming–that’s what beta is for!

Expect constant improvements to Fluentkey throughout this process: new videos, new features, new bug fixes, new shiny awesome things. 

Here’s some of the cool stuff that happened this week.

Hugo


New Features:

  • Redesigned Video Assignment Panel! It’s a lot clearer what to do now.
  • FluentKey now remembers your default language when you upload a new video.
  • By popular request, check out our new favicon .
  • Lots of other small bug fixes and improvements, including updated help text.


New Videos:

We’re always expanding our video library. Here are some of the best new videos this week:

Chinese:


French:


Spanish:


Tips of the Week:

  • You can upload audio files, too! (Just make sure to put them in .mp3 format.)
  • Can’t find a video you made? Look under the “Created” tab right under the top banner in the video library.

Awesome Teacher of the Week:

Shout-out to Aurélie from Head-Royce School, who writes, “My students have been using Fluentkey for their listening practice and they love it more than any other program. What makes Fluentkey special is its ability to stop recording or video exactly where you want it to stop for an assessment. It is easy for students to replay and figure out exactly what section they need to focus on. As a teacher, I also like that I can follow my students’ progress within an assignment.”


Questions or Feedback?

Our mission at FluentKey is to make your lives easier. Email us back and we’ll respond right away.