Learn Another Language for Free

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The K12 Online Conference started last Monday and I’ve been taking time all week long to catch the offerings.  So far, I’ve picked up quite a few tips, tricks, and ideas.  However, I have to say the thing that has interested me the most is dotSUB.  If you’re not familiar with this project, that’s okay neither was I until the K12 Online Conference.  DotSUB is a nifty online project where people who speak English or English and another language write captions for videos posted on YouTube.  This way both the hearing-impaired and viewers who’s primary language isn’t English can still utilize the information.  To see what I am talking about take a look at the video below.  You’ll notice there is a drop down menu in the lower right corner. Choose a language and press play.

Let’s say for example you are fluent in Mandarin you could create an account on dotSUB and add the translated captions line by line. Its very easy! What I think is amazing is that people are doing this on their own and for free. DotSUB is another great example of the wiki frame of mind – sharing and collaboration for the greater good. In the case of the K12OnlineConference, the organizers are looking for people to help spread the conference sessions to non-English speakers through dotSUB.

If you’ve been one of my loyal blog readers then you know I have German classes on Thursday nights for fun. Choosing a dotSUB video with the German translation is another great Web 2.0 method for practicing language skills. If I find a video I like that hasn’t been translated I can add captions myself. I can easily see this being done in a third or fourth year foreign language class. Your students would not only be enhancing their language skills, but also using their knowledge to help others access English-only content. Check it out!

Joe

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