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Immersion has long been heralded as the magic bullet for learning a foreign language. Of course, the true immersion experience isn’t a possibility for many would-be language learners. Spending long months studying in a faraway land may be a nice idea, but this is little more than a pipe dream for most.
What if an alternative learning tool could harness the power of the internet to bring immersion-based learning to students on the path to fluency? We’re aiming to do exactly that with Woodpecker. This app uses everyday video content from hundreds of different sources to take advanced students to the next level. With just a tap, users translate any word in the subtitle stream and get an instant definition in their native language.
With support for students learning both English and Mandarin, Woodpecker helps students understand real-world content. Unlike other language learning tools that only feature snippets of a spoken language, Woodpecker uses entertaining and informative video clips to keep students interested. Plus, the app allows the user to tap any word in the subtitle stream and get an instant definition in their native language.
Best of all, this free resource includes a number of powerful extras that make retaining new information a breeze. Whether used as a standalone learning tool or part of a dynamic language learning curriculum, Woodpecker offers a viable solution for those ready to embark on a new way to learn a language online.
Learn how Woodpecker works below and discover how this powerful app can be used to make language learning easier than ever before.
Why Use Woodpecker?
First things first: why does the world need another language learning app?
Sure, there are plenty of great apps out there for today’s language student. Need to drill conjugation forms or work on memorising vocabulary words? There’s an app for that!
What hasn’t existed is a simple way for students to immerse themselves in a foreign language without getting totally overwhelmed. Turning on a foreign movie theoretically offers something resembling immersion, but for a new student, the gibberish spewed from a foreign speaker is too much to decipher.
Woodpecker bridges the gap by making full-length videos available for anyone to enjoy. The app also offers additional tools to help the user understand the video content. Forget watching a video and only picking up on every other word. Woodpecker gives everyday learners the chance to watch videos and quickly get pointers on concepts outside their grasp.
A few of this app’s revolutionary features include:
- Native support for both Android and iOS
- Content from over 400 different video creators
- Dedicated teaching section for language courses
- Ability to use multiple subtitle streams
- Bilingual dictionary definitions with just a tap
- And so much more…
Discover the Science Behind Woodpecker
Beyond the sheer fun of watching videos to learn a language, multiple academic studies suggest that language students benefit from this activity.
Nearly every learner struggles with the ability to discern the differences between various words in a spoken sentence. It’s one thing to know a string of vocabulary words, but it’s another to decipher them when part of a larger whole. Linguistic experts often emphasize the importance of learning phonological decoding or parsing skills for this reason; it’s essential for students to learn to recognise the meaning of the sounds they hear, in order to effectively communicate.
Naturally, developing this skillset is no small feat. Micro-listening exercises, however, have been shown to be immensely beneficial. A micro-listening exercise is an activity in which the student has the opportunity to listen to small bursts of sound over and over again until comprehension is reached. The go-back-one-sentence button and the go-back-five-seconds button on the Woodpecker player, combined with the built-in bilingual dictionaries, enable the user to do ensure not a single word is missed.
Within the Woodpecker player, users have access to both built-in bilingual dictionaries and simple controls for jumping back a single sentence or five seconds. These tools bring the micro-listening approach to a wide audience.
How the App Works
Most language learning apps feature nothing more than short audio clips. That’s an “okay” way for students to get started with a foreign language, but it’s not ideal.
Woodpecker takes an entirely different approach. We don’t rely on choppy audio recordings or stilted dialogue to get students learning. Instead, app users choose from over 200,000 videos covering a diverse assortment of different topics.
From entertainment and movies to news, education, and travel, Woodpecker users are truly spoilt for choice. Plus, all of these videos feature native speakers.
The premise is quite simple: WoodPecker Watch users choose interesting videos to watch. If the video features an unfamiliar word, tapping it within the subtitle stream provides an instantaneous definition. All defined words also appear in the “Word History” pane for future reference.
Popular content in the Woodpecker app includes videos from The Ellen Show and the various BuzzFeed channels. You might also be tempted to leave the beaten path or if you’re helping a young child learn, want to explore the dedicated children’s content. With over 400 unique channels to choose from, you’re bound to find video content you’ll enjoy.
Explore the Woodpecker App
Woodpecker currently supports students learning English and Mandarin. As the app runs on both iOS and Android devices, it is compatible with the vast majority of mobile phones and tablets. Simply search your app store for “Woodpecker” to get started.
After downloading the app, choose the language you want to learn, as well as your native language. Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and Vietnamese speakers can use the app to learn English, while English speakers can learn Mandarin. After confirming your selection, the appropriate dictionaries will download to your device. That’s all there is to it!
The “Home” screen greets users within the app immediately. This page features the latest trending videos from some of YouTube’s most popular contributors. Choose any video to start watching the content immediately.
If you want to watch something else, the app’s search function makes it easy to look for specific content across the different video categories. Search by keyword or instead simply filter the channels based on content type. Furthermore, you can also browse directly through the channel list to find content that interests you. The app even allows you to listen to the latest musical hits. Simply navigate to the “Music” page to watch videos from some of the most popular artists in the world.
In addition to the wealth of video content available within the app, users can also read through the dedicated language blogs. Every supported language within the app has its own dedicated blog content. The app automatically displays the English language posts, as well as material in the user’s native language. And just like in the app itself, with a few taps, readers define any word for quick reference.
Go a Step Further with Language Lessons
What is even better than immersion video learning? Hands-on instruction from language experts, of course!
In addition to entertainment, Woodpecker users have a full catalog of language courses at their disposal. From grammar lessons to dialogue explanations, these courses provide insight to better understand the ins and outs of a foreign language. The app currently features over 5,000 structured language lessons.
Teaching content within WoodPecker Watch comes from instructors around the globe. This makes it easy for students to master different accents and explore the nuances in spoken language across the planet. For an extra challenge, students might consider progressing through a particular instructors materials, video by video. In some ways, this replicates a traditional classroom experience, giving the user a chance to get comfortable with the unique teaching style of the tutor.
How to Get the Most Out of Woodpecker
So, you’re ready to start using Woodpecker to learn a language online? Great! To maximize your learning potential, don’t forget the following insider tips:
- Sign Up for a Woodpecker Account
When you sign up for a new account, the app automatically starts saving your viewing history. Whenever you watch a new video or define a word, the app takes note on your behalf. Then, you can easily review your learning history in just a few taps of your finger. If you want to review new vocab words later or create flashcards, you can even export your definitions within the app settings.
- Get Familiar with the Video Controls
We strived to make watching videos in Woodpecker as intuitive as possible. To that end, we’ve added several powerful video controls. Take the tour when you first download the app to learn how these work. Easily rewind the last word spoken or jump five seconds backward for a fuller overview. Hitting the buttons multiple times even allows you to jump in rapid succession. If you need to adjust your subtitle settings, these controls are in the top right corner.
- Share Your Favourite Content
Did you find a video you really loved? Share it with your friends or post it on social media! Simply tap the share link in the top right corner when watching any video for a full list of sharing options. Sharing links are also intelligent. This means your link starts at the exact moment when you tapped share within the app. Pretty cool, huh?
Who Should Use Woodpecker?
The flexible nature of Woodpecker makes it a powerful tool for language learners of all shapes and sizes. If you’re eager to brush up on your English or want to tackle the challenge of Mandarin, Woodpecker is a useful resource to have in your arsenal.
Teachers and tutors can also make use of Woodpecker. If you are working to teach new students difficult concepts, why not use the in-app lessons to complement your classroom learning? Of course, the wealth of entertainment and informative videos within the app also make Woodpecker a great option for keeping your students engaged.
With thousands upon thousands of videos and additional content being added all of the time, Woodpecker is a versatile app that will unlock any language learner’s potential.
Start learning a new language using Woodpecker today: Download the app now!