Back to the Roots: italki launches a new and enhanced version

News from Shanghai. italki took the time to do some spring cleaning on their website and also added a new feature called Notebook which was demanded by their users.

So let’s have a look.

The first major change is the newsfeed which shows all the activity of your friends on italki. Of course you will know this from Facebook, Twitter or FriendFeed (if you remember this service) but that is exactly why it is great that italki implemented this. People know it and hence it feels familiar to them.

And in a targeted environment like a language learning platform it even makes more sense than in a broader network like Facebook as on italki you will see the language learning related activities your friends are doing. And there is of course a big chance that your friends on italki are learning the same language as you do. So you get filtered suggestions of what you should /could learn on the platform.

But also for teachers this is a great tool. As you will also see questions of your friends / potential clients in this stream which you could then answer and build up a reputation this way. Same with essays to correct and relevant group posts. Hence the news stream might be a great marketing tool, too.

The new Notebook feature is a personal space where users can practice their writing skills with the help of the community. A user writes a text and then can get corrections directly from members of the italki community. A feature that is already known from language learning communities like Livemocha or busuu but which absolutely makes sense on italki.

Notebook Corrections

And you also have to take into consideration that italki once started as a platform for language exchange. The recent changes are a kind of revival of this community idea but also offer great possibilities for teachers / tutors to build up trust and hence convert contacts later on into students who may take paid lessons.

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  • commie

    Does “New and Enhanced” also mean that you're lying and humiliating Taiwanese?

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Could you be a bit more precise about this issue?

  • commie

    They not only made Taiwan the only state which doesn't have a flag (which wasn't the case in the previous version), but also use the politically biased term “Taiwan, China” in the Chinese version of their site.

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Sounds like obligations from the side of the Chinese government to me as italki is based in Shanghai. I am pretty sure that this has nothing to do with the site itself.