[opensource] Proposal for human language teaching web application

Timothy Normand Miller millerti at cse.ohio-state.edu
Wed Jan 20 18:50:43 EST 2010


On Jan 20, 2010, at 4:19 PM, Peter Dietz wrote:

> I love it. I can do (some) Spanish and Swedish.
> 
> For CSE 494 c#, I built a flashcard program and it was actually really fun. I will admit that Rosetta is where I drew my inspiration, but I am surprised that they haven't yet launched a web app equivalent.

Well, at $350 a pop, Rosetta Stone makes good money selling boxed applications.  It's also expensive to hire psychologists, linguistics, and native speakers of a dozen languages.  It wouldn't be profitable for them to make cheaper versions or web versions.  On the other hand, taking a very distributed FOSS approach could give us the ability to develop it for free and offer it for free.  All we have to pay for is the ISP; if we can get donations and sell ads, we might manage it.

> 
> There could be some inter-departmental buy-in, as I'm sure all the foreign languages would be interested to contribute.

Yes.  The reason I haven't talked with anyone in Linguistics or foreign language about it yet is that I'd like to build some proof-of-concept implementation, so it's more than just an idea and vaporware.  It's not like lots of people haven't thought about developing language tutors.  But how many have actually gotten organized enough to DO it?  Through the Open Graphics Project, I have contacts all over the world.  I just need to leverage that correctly.

> 
> <flashcarddemo-update.jpg>

Beautiful!  So, the idea is to do basically this, with the ability and scalability to approach the sophistication of things like Rosetta Stone (yes, I was thinking of that when I wrote the doc) and Transparent Language.


BTW, I've added some stuff to the doc.  Doing the HTML interface for showing pictures isn't hard, especially since really it should be very unadorned to keep from being distracting.  Keeping user info and the educational content in a database isn't hard either.  A little more work will let us keep images and audio files organized.  I've started making a list of the software components necessary for this.  This includes dedicated applets to do audio (Java or Flash).


> On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 3:59 PM, Paul Betts <paul at paulbetts.org> wrote:
> This is a great idea - so much so, that it's very similar to how
> Rosetta Stone works :)  The crowdsourcing bit is interesting though,
> and your idea also reminds me a bit of picture dictionaries
> (Bildwoerterbucher in German), where it will have something like a
> sheet of music and label every symbol / item on the page with its
> English/German translation.
> 
> --
> Paul Betts <paul at paulbetts.org>
> 
> On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 12:25 PM, Matthew Wilson <matt at tplus1.com> wrote:
> > This would be a great project for a "software engineering" class.
> > Maybe some prof in a computer science department could have his
> > students work on this.
> >
> > On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 3:06 PM, Timothy Normand Miller
> > <millerti at cse.ohio-state.edu> wrote:
> >> I have an idea for an open source web site/application that people can use to learn human languages.  I was wondering if anyone in the club would find it interesting to work on.  I know plenty of Linguistics, so mostly what I need is help with the web programming.
> >>
> >> Here's a draft design doc:
> >>
> >> http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0Aavu_nMOlv7NZDNzZmIyc182Z2o3dHFzZGs&hl=en
> >>
> >>
> >> Timothy Normand Miller
> >> millerti at cse.ohio-state.edu
> >> http://www.cse.ohio-state.edu/~millerti
> >>
> >>
> >>
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> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > W. Matthew Wilson
> > matt at tplus1.com
> > http://tplus1.com
> >
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> 
> -- 
> Peter Dietz
> Systems Developer/Engineer
> Ohio State University Libraries
> 
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Timothy Normand Miller
millerti at cse.ohio-state.edu
http://www.cse.ohio-state.edu/~millerti





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