“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” ― Abraham LincolnThe quote above highlights how important it is to prepare before you execute. As you begin Start Spanish Today, you are preparing to learn Spanish. So by the time you start studying, you will already have the tools in place to succeed.
1. Create an account at italki.
2. Follow me and Diana on italki and send us a request to follow you.
3. Fill out your italki profile.
4. Confirm you installed Skype.
What is italki?
italki is a powerful language learning tool and so it is the first tool you will learn in START SPANISH TODAY. At first glance, it appears to be a way to hire teachers and find language partners. While this is indeed a major part of italki, there are other important components and uses of italki. You will learn all about italki and become comfortable with it over the next several days. You will find that at the end of this module, italki will be an important tool in your Spanish learning resource toolbox.
We like italki for several reasons. First and foremost, at Speaking Latino we promote Real World Spanish – the Spanish that you will use and hear out in the real world. Unfortunately, many tools that exist do not teach you how to communicate with others. Instead they focus on the “academic” version of Spanish.
Italki offers a great way to meet and learn from real people around the Spanish speaking world. You can even reach out to people from a specific region or country, in case you plan on having more contact with that area. This is important for learning the “local” version of Spanish for that area.
Italki also happens to be an extremely economical way to find Spanish teachers. Many of them cost less than half of what it would cost to find a teacher in your city or town and work with them. Plus, there’s also the benefit of not having to leave your home to meet with the teacher. That can save you time and gas or transportation costs.
Another benefit is that you can practice all four parts of Spanish learning: speaking, listening, reading and writing.
For these reasons we believe italki to be an extremely powerful tool. Let’s get started.
1. Create an Account
Head to italki and create an account. You have the option of signing up with your Facebook account, or with your email and password. Either option is fine, although signing in with Facebook will be slightly quicker. When you create an account and log in for the first time you should take a few minutes to answer the questions presented to you by italki about your language interests and background. This is useful for reaching out to people with common interests, and italki even customizes some of your options based on this.
Also, be sure to confirm your sign-up with the email that italki will send to you when you create your account.
2. Follow me and Diana on italki and send requests for us to follow you.
An important component of italki is the social interaction with other language learners. It is easier to learn Spanish when you have other people to help you along. Following others is a way to reach out to people to start a conversation. You may find a new conversation partner, a teacher or even just a friend. So follow both of us. That way you can easily ask us questions when you get stuck on something. Here is what the follow button looks like:
Once you hit the follow button, a window will open automatically to send us a message to follow you.
3. Fill out the information about your profile including the languages you are learning and your level.
This is the place to tell people about yourself. A few of the items you may want to share to the italki community are:
-Why you are learning Spanish.
-The specific region or country that interests you and why.
-Your personal interests that you would like to discuss with your language partners.
Be sure to also upload a photo of yourself if one has not been pulled from Facebook.
4. Confirm you installed Skype
This one’s easy. You have Skype installed, right? If not, now’s the time to do it. If you need directions, here is a Youtube video on installing skype and setting up an account.
Glance at the italki dashboard and notice how there are different menu options as well as different sections on the page. If you have a few minutes, try one of the suggested activities in the light green box in the middle of the page, near the top. For example:
Note the arrows on the lower right of this box. If you click an arrow the box will scroll to a different action. You can try as many actions as your time allows.