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If you'd like to give it a spin, install it on your smartphone and select "Chinese, Mandarin" in the app's setup screen.
This release is a milestone for us in two ways:
Our goals in creating Language Mentor have been to:
First, we're starting to evangelize Language Mentor to the language teaching community.
Second, we've started work on creating an authoring tool for Language Mentor.
It's already possible to create lessons – in fact, it's fairly easy. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it's fairly easy if you possess skills such as audio editing, editing XML files, etc.
We've created a full set of instructions. They explain how to create lessons, simply and clearly and in detail. They're written for people with no technical skills. Anyone can learn how to do this – really!
But we suspect that, even so, many people will be put off by the learning curve. Frankly, if you're considering creating lessons for Language Mentor, you'll need to invest a day or two into learning how it's done. And then your first few lessons will go fairly slowly. Once you get past your first dozen lessons the process speeds up. How much? Well, we find that it takes us under an hour to assemble each lesson – not counting audio editing. Audio editing can take as little as a half hour if your audio's quality is excellent, or much longer if it's not.
We're hoping that we can create a lesson authoring tool that will greatly simplify this process – that will eliminate much of the learning curve and make the process much faster. Our goal is to make it so simple and easy to use that it will be practical, for example, for language tutors to create weekly "one-off" lessons for individual students.
And Now, a Question For You!
If you've read this far there's a good chance that you're at least curious about Language Mentor. If you've gone a couple of steps further and have a) installed and explored the Language Mentor app, and b) taken a look at our instructions for creating lessons, we'd love your input. Here's our question:
As outlined above, we're planning to start work on a) evangelizing, and b) creating an authoring tool.
Do you think that Language Mentor as it exists now – without authoring tool – is ready to be evangelized?
In other words, what are the chances that individuals and/or organizations will be interested in creating lessons using the "manual" process outlined in our instructions?
We're happily creating lessons using this very process, but how will others feel?
Of course, this isn't really a yes/no question. We'll definitely be putting some energy into getting the word out, if only to get feedback. So, allow us to restate the question: In the short term, how much of our effort should we put into letting the world know about Language Mentor? How much should we put into developing an authoring tool? Is Language Mentor ready for use – as an open platform – as-is?
If you have any thoughts on these questions we'd appreciate your input. Please leave us a comment or contact us directly via our contact form.