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Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad – China

Posted by Betsy on May 15, 2017 in Uncategorized |

We got a grant and are headed to Beijing for a month! I’m blogging about it.

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Basic Excel skills for teachers

Posted by Betsy on October 15, 2016 in InstructionalDesign |

Reposting from the Gettysburg College Language Resource Center blog:

On Wednesday, October 12, I held a workshop on Basic Excel skills for teachers and researchers, with the following description:

Do you use Excel as a grade book or for data collection? In this workshop, you’ll work with Excel hands-on to develop basic skills, such as quickly copying numbers down columns, keeping headings visible at all times, and sorting columns in the most convenient order. If you consider yourself an Excel jockey, this is not the workshop for you–but if you need basic tips and tricks, you’ll find them here.

Feel free to access the handout, with animations of how to do each task within Excel.

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Engaging ELs using digital tools

Posted by Betsy on July 27, 2016 in Language, Web2.0 |

Short link to this post: v.gd/ccell

I am honored to be invited to facilitate a workshop titled Engaging ELs using digital tools, August 10, 2016, as part of the ELL Symposium: Exemplary Practices for Exceptional Learning, held by the Chester County Intermediate Unit in Downington, PA.

Presentation slides (PDF)

I will facilitate learning to use the resources listed below during the workshop:

Kahoot

  • Cost: Free
  • Platform: Web (including mobile)
  • Description: Create multiple choice games for competition in class. Students respond individually or in teams on their own devices. This colorful game is very popular in K-12 contexts.
  • Student login page (use to respond to questions during this workshop)

Plickers

  • Cost: Free
  • Platform: iPhone/iPad, or Android (only 1 needed per classroom). Website is useful for creating classes, questions, and quizzes, but a mobile device is needed to scan students’ responses.
  • Description: Students respond to multiple-choice and true-false questions using specially designed paper that they hold up. The teacher scans the room using a smart phone or tablet. The results can be instantly displayed.

PurposeGames

  • Cost: Free
  • Platform: Web
  • Description: Create games. There are various types, but the unique types on PurposeGames allow you to upload an image and add dots or shapes that indicate the answers.
  • Examples

Break-out sessions: Socrative

Presentation slides (PDF)

  • Cost: Free
  • Platform: Web (including mobile)
  • Description: Instructor creates multiple-choice, true-false, or short answer questions. Students respond using laptops or mobile devices. The instructor can display the results as they come in. You can let students respond anonymously or require students to enter their names. You can also use this system for in-class quizzes.
  • Student login page (use to respond to questions during this workshop)

Other

  • Quizlet
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Create flashcards that include images and automatically generated audio. Play games and take tests with the words. With a paid account, teachers can also facilitate team games using the flashcard sets.
  • Scribblenauts
    • Cost: $0.99 to $19.99 – varies by platform
    • Platform: iPhone/iPadAndroid, PC, various consoles
    • Description: Create the tools you need to solve puzzles by writing the names of objects on your notepad.
  • 20Q
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Play 20 Questions in any of many languages. Proper names cannot be used.
  • Akinator
    • Cost: Free (web, including mobile); $1.99 (mobile app)
    • Platform: Web (including mobile), iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Play 20 Questions in any of many languages. Use the names of real or fictional people.
  • Miitomo
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Create a character and buy clothes with in-game currency. Answer questions and read your friends’ answers to the questions. Interact through photos of your characters and comments. Text-to-speech technology is used to read the text aloud.
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Teaching with technology: Basic tools and techniques

Posted by Betsy on July 16, 2016 in Language, Web2.0 |

Short link to this post: v.gd/clear

I am honored to be invited to facilitate a workshop titled Teaching with technology: Basic tools and techniques, July 18-20, 2016. This is one of CLEAR‘s summer workshops, held at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI.

Presentation slides (PDF)

I will facilitate learning to use the resources listed below during the workshop:

In-class response systems

  • Socrative
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Instructor creates multiple-choice, true-false, or short answer questions. Students respond using laptops or mobile devices. The instructor can display the results as they come in. You can let students respond anonymously or require students to enter their names. You can also use this system for in-class quizzes.
    • Student login page (use to respond to questions during this workshop)
  • Plickers
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad, or Android (only 1 needed per classroom). Website is useful for creating classes, questions, and quizzes, but a mobile device is needed to scan students’ responses.
    • Description: Students respond to multiple-choice and true-false questions using specially designed paper that they hold up. The teacher scans the room using a smart phone or tablet. The results can be instantly displayed.

Digital storytelling

Assessment of presentational/interpersonal speaking

Delivery of content

Ready-made games

Find more games for your language and share them in the comments below!

Customizable games

  • Kahoot
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Create multiple choice games for competition in class. Students respond individually or in teams on their own devices. This colorful game is very popular in K-12 contexts.
    • Student login page (use to respond to questions during this workshop)
  • PurposeGames
  • Quizlet
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Create flashcards that include images and automatically generated audio. Play games and take tests with the words. With a paid account, teachers can also facilitate team games using the flashcard sets.

Organization and saving time

  • Google Forms
  • Diigo
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Save bookmarks to webpages, including annotations and tags. You can also create groups and share the annotations among students and/or colleagues.
    • Example: Web Tools for Language Learning and Teaching
    • More: Diigolet bookmark
  • LastPass
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web, with a browser plugin (mobile apps have a subscription fee)
    • Description: Save all of your usernames and passwords in one place. This app also generates secure passwords for you and saves you the trouble of remembering them. This helps keep your data secure by avoiding the reuse of passwords across websites.
  • Doodle
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web
    • Description: Give a list of meeting options and find out the availability of each attendee. Choose the best meeting time based on the results.
  • v.gd
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web
    • Description: Create a short link to any webpage. You can customize the web address so that it’s easy to remember and to share with others.

Language exchange

  • Skype
  • Students or teachers can use the following free sites to set up individual or classroom exchanges. Keep in mind that this is an exchange, so they would need to speak English for half of the exchange time and the TL for the other half.
  • The Mixxer
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web
    • Description: Students can use this site to find a language exchange partner, or teachers can use the site to find a collaborating class. The Mixxer has tools for students to request confirmation to be sent to teachers to show that they participated in an exchange.
    • More: Book chapter about The Mixxer
  • WeSpeke
  • HelloTalk
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Language exchange via text or voice. Includes tools for correction, sending images and drawings, and timing your exchange.
    • More: HelloTalk from a teacher’s perspective
  • Other language exchange options:
    • Open Language Exchange
    • My Language Exchange
    • Speaky
    • Shared Talk
    • Teletandem Brasil – Set up language exchanges between your Portuguese class and Brazilian classes learning English
    • TalkAbroad – A paid service that includes tools for teachers to give instructions to conversations partners in advance. Students pay a fee per 30 minute conversation. Both teachers and students can access recordings of conversations. Available for Spanish, French, English, Mandarin, Arabic, German, Italian, and Portuguese.

Glossing

  • Rikaichan/Rikaikun – plugin for Firefox/Chrome browsers that produces a popup box showing the meaning & reading of Japanese words
  • Google Dictionary – plugin for Chrome browser that produces a popup box showing the meaning of words in Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Russian, Slovak, and Spanish.
  • Zhongwen – plugin for Chrome browser that produces a popup box showing the meaning & reading of Chinese words
  • Adobe Acrobat – PDF creator and editor (paid)
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2016 MSU Workshop for Teachers of Japanese

Posted by Betsy on May 12, 2016 in InstructionalDesign, Language, Web2.0 |

I am honored to be the invited presenter at this year’s Japanese Language Teacher Workshop of the Japanese Teachers Association of Michigan on Saturday, May 14, 2016 at Michigan State University.

The workshop is titled The Power of Input, Fun, and Games. You can download the slides.

Tools, Materials, and Resources Presented

多読 resources

Games

Adaptable online games (add your own vocab, etc.)

Non-adaptable online games

Mobile games (play on iPhone/iPad or Android device)

  • Hiragana Word Fireworks – game for iOS and Android that teaches hiragana
  • 美文字 – compete against yourself to write Japanese characters beautifully on iOS and Android
  • Miitomo – social game for iOS & Android that can be played in Japanese, with both text and text-to-speech

Analog games

Standards & assessment

おまけ

  • 72 Seasons – get interesting cultural information about all 72 seasons of the Japanese calendar on iOS and Android
  • Install the Chinese handwriting keyboard on your iPhone/iPad. You’ll be able to search for characters by writing them, but without a need for correct stroke order (or even getting close)!!!
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Practical tech tools for Arabic language teachers

Posted by Betsy on April 20, 2016 in InstructionalDesign, Language, Web2.0 |

We are honored to have the opportunity to present our workshop, Practical tech tools for Arabic language teachers. The resources and tools that we refer to are listed below.

Presentation slides

Solving technical problems

  • Arabic Keyboard
  • Yamli (Arabic keyboard)
  • RTL character
  • Right-click on input box and choose “right justify”
  • (right) CTRL + (right) SHIFT to right justify (PC only; use left side to switch back)

Tools

Please cite as:

Lavolette, E., & Mohamed, A. (2016, May). Practical tech tools for Arabic language teachers. Workshop presented at the Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium, East Lansing, MI. Retrieved from http://betsylavolette.com/?p=1811.

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TALFL Keynote: Aim High (Tech)

Posted by Betsy on April 13, 2016 in InstructionalDesign, Language, Web2.0 |

I am honored to be invited to give the keynote presentation at the Sixth TESOL, Applied Linguistics, Foreign Language Conference at West Chester University on April 16, 2016.

Presentation slides (PDF)

TodaysMeet room – online space for comments and questions during presentation

In the presentation, I mention many resources for language teaching and learning, many of which are free. I list them below, in order of appearance. If no language is explicitly mentioned, the resource is applicable to many or all languages.

  • TodaysMeet
  • Line – social network and video/voice/text chat
  • Facebook – social network
  • FUN – Massive open online courses (MOOCs) in French
  • gacco – MOOCs in Japanese
  • HelloTalk – mobile app for virtual language exchange
  • Tandem – mobile app for virtual language exchange
  • Google Forms – create online surveys
  • infogr.am – create interactive charts
  • Piktochart – create interactive charts
  • Microsoft Office Mix – create narrated presentations
  • Mixxer – set up virtual exchanges between learners or classes
  • Twister – create fake Twitter status updates
  • Simitator – create fake Facebook status updates
  • YouTube – Repository for online video
  • YouTube video editor – online video editing
  • iMovie – video editor for Mac
  • Movie Maker – video editor for Windows
  • Web Tools for Language Learning and Teaching – curated list of free technology tools for language teachers and students
  • Duolingo – learn languages through translation
  • Transparent Language – online language learning program (paid)
  • WeSpeke – set up virtual exchanges between learners or classes
  • Teletandem Brasil – set up language exchanges between your Portuguese class and Brazilian classes learning English
  • WordPress – blogging/website platform
  • Scribblenauts Remix – mobile game that can be played in German and English (paid)
  • Say the Same Thing – mobile game where you try to guess what the other player is thinking
  • 20Q – play twenty questions against the computer, choose a person, place, or thing
  • Akinator – play twenty questions against the computer, but choose a famous person/character
  • PurposeGames – create games based on your own content
  • Hiragana Keisan (Puchi Games) – calculation game using Japanese characters
  • Kahoot – create multiple choice games for competition in class
  • Rikaichan/Rikaikun – plugin for Firefox/Chrome browsers that produces a popup box showing the meaning & reading of Japanese words
  • Google Dictionary – plugin for Chrome browser that produces a popup box showing the meaning of words in Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Russian, Slovak, and Spanish.
  • Zhongwen – plugin for Chrome browser that produces a popup box showing the meaning & reading of Chinese words
  • Adobe Acrobat – PDF creator and editor (paid)
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8

IALLT Language Center Director Survey, 2015

Posted by Betsy on February 1, 2016 in Language |

IALLT Survey

IALLT periodically surveys the community of language center/lab directors to investigate the state of language centers and the positions and duties of their directors. To disseminate the findings of the 2015 survey to the IALLT membership, we present here the results of key questions regarding language center management and design. To maximize the usefulness of the results, they are reported by institution type and size. We include data such as the average budget and allocations for language centers, the director’s average salary, the director’s typical teaching load, and how recently the typical center has been completely redesigned. We also provide data on new space usage patterns in language centers.

This presentation has been adapted from a similar presentation by Kronenberg & Lavolette (2015) at FLEAT VI, and includes answers to some of the questions that the audience asked.

You are invited to leave your questions and comments below. The authors will respond as promptly as they can.

IALLT Language Center Director Survey, 2015

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1

Wakatta! A game for practicing vocabulary

Posted by Betsy on October 9, 2015 in InstructionalDesign, Language |

This semester, I am teaching a Japanese course for 4th year students that helps them prepare for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). One of the nice things about the class is that it is very small. However, one of the challenges of teaching a small class is keeping it lively, especially at 9 a.m.! Another challenge of this class is helping students learn a large amount of vocabulary. The following game is a low-prep vocabulary activity that helps students review vocabulary and use it in the context of a creative sentence. Plus, my students were smiling and laughing the whole time. You could use this in any language class.

  1. In advance, prepare cards with each of the vocabulary words or phrases written on them. You could print them out, as I did, using this template, or you could just write on 3 x 5 cards. You could even have students create the cards.
  2. In class, each player draws 4 cards. Make sure that everyone understands their cards. (In my class, there were still some phrases that the students had not learned the meanings and readings of, so we needed to review a bit before beginning to play.)
  3. Turn over 1 card in the center of the table.
  4. Everyone begins to think of a sentence that uses at least one of their cards plus the card on the table.
  5. The first person to think of a sentence says 分かった! (wakatta! = I got it!). They report the sentence to the group, and if everyone agrees that it’s good, they take the 2 (or more) cards as points.
  6. If no one can think of a sentence or the sentence produced is not good, Sensei gets a point.
  7. After someone scores, a new round begins. Each player should draw until they have 4 cards in their hand. Turn over another card on the table.

I’m sure that I’m not the first person to come up with this idea. Please let me know if you’ve played a similar game with your students or if you plan to use this!

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Japanese Teachers Association of Michigan

Posted by Betsy on May 8, 2015 in InstructionalDesign, Language, Web2.0 |

Short link to this post: v.gd/jtamws

Japanese Teachers Association of Michigan

MSU Workshop for Teachers of Japanese

I am honored to be the invited presenter at this year’s Japanese Language Teacher Workshop of the Japanese Teachers Association of Michigan on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at Michigan State University.

The workshop is titled Technology Resources for Teaching Japanese: Assessment, Self-study, and Authentic Materials.

The following links are to the main materials for the presentation:

Slides – Google Drive

Today’s Meet (backchannel)

If you are planning to attend this workshop, please read about the tools and resources below. If any of them sound useful to you, please click the links and explore them in more detail. Particularly helpful will be creating accounts and downloading mobile apps in advance of the workshop. Please come with questions! This will help you get the most out of the workshop. I’m looking forward to working with you!

Tools Presented

Part 1. Assessment: Gathering data through response systems/in-class technology

  • Today’s Meet
  • Plickers
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad, or Android (only 1 needed per classroom)
    • Description: Students respond to multiple-choice and true-false questions using specially designed paper that they hold up. The teacher scans the room using a smart phone or tablet. The results can be instantly displayed.
  • Socrative
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Instructor creates multiple-choice, true-false, or short answer questions. Students respond using laptops or mobile devices. The instructor can display the results as they come in. You can let students respond anonymously or require students to enter their names. You can also use this system for in-class quizzes.
    • Student login page (use to respond to questions during this workshop)
  • J-CAT
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (not mobile)
    • Description: Proficiency test for Japanese learners that assesses listening, vocabulary, grammar, and reading. This could be used as a placement test or exit test.
  • CLEAR Rich Internet Applications
  • YouTube – video recording & editing
  • VoiceThread – digital storytelling
  • IZI.travel
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone
    • Description: Using the web interface, create an audio tour of a location. Using the mobile app, experience the audio tour. It automatically begins to play when you get close to a location with tour information.
    • More: Ideas for using IZI.travel for language classes

Part 2. Study resources: Self-study and test preparation

  • Dr. Moku
    • Cost: Free to try; full version is $2.85 to $4.99, depending on the platform/app
    • Platform: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: This is actually several different apps for learning hiragana, katakana, and kanji, based on mnemonics. The pictures that are associated with the hiragana and katakana characters are quite memorable and may be especially helpful for younger learners.
    • More: Try out the web version of the hiragana app for free.
  • HelloTalk
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Language exchange via text or voice. Includes tools for correction, sending images and drawings, and timing your exchange.
    • More: HelloTalk from a teacher’s perspective
  • Voice Dream
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad
    • Description: Text-to-speech app. Reads Japanese text aloud. Free version reads 50 characters aloud before pausing – which I consider an advantage for learners!
  • VReader
    • Cost: Free to try, $3.99 upgrade to get full books
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad
    • Description: Text-to-speech app. Reads Japanese books aloud, one sentence at a time. Also links some words to dictionary definitions. Free trial contains short excerpts of Japanese books. Paid upgrade contain entire books, including Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, Soseki Natsumi’s Kokoro, and various classic tales. Note that although the reading is generally accurate, the app does make mistakes, e.g., reading 行った as おこなった in every case.
    • More: Betsy’s review of VReader
  • Kanji LS Touch
    • Cost: $11.99
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Study writing kanji, including correct stroke order. Study based on JLPT levels, school year, or Joyo kanji. Write using your finger.
  • Jisho
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Any web browser, including mobile
    • Description: Japanese-English bilingual dictionary with advanced features such as handwriting and voice input.
  • Eijiro
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Bilingual dictionary. The strength of this dictionary is its great collection of bilingual examples. You need to create a free account and log in to get more examples.
  • Kanji Alive
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (not mobile)
    • Description: Kanji dictionary for learners. Provides details about 1235 kanji, including animated stroke order, audio pronunciations of examples, mnemonics, and historical derivation of radical. Also shows you the kanji written in four popular fonts.
  • Quizlet
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Create flashcards that include images and automatically generated audio. Play games and take tests with the words.
  • Kanjibox
    • Cost: Free (web), $4.99 (iOS app)
    • Platform: Web, iPhone, iPad
    • Description: Study kanji in isolation, as part of words, and embedded in sentences. As in-app purchases, you can access handwriting practice for kana ($0.99) and kanji ($0.99). The app itself judges whether you wrote the character correctly. There are also grammar lessons ($0.99 each).

Part 3. Authentic materials and resources

  • Rikaichan/Rikaikun
  • Yomiwa
    • Cost: $3.99
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad
    • Description: View Japanese text through this app and see the reading and meaning on the screen. You can also take a photo and process it through the app in the same way. It does not work well if you try to view a computer screen via the app.
  • Add ruby text to your documents
    • Platform: Word (search Help for “phonetic guide”), Open Office, Pages
    • Cost: Free (included in price of word processing application)
    • Description: In these three word processing applications, you can add phonetic guides (in hiragana by default) to any characters that you choose. Used strategically, this can help students access authentic materials that would otherwise be too difficult for them to read.
  • Matcha
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Japanese travel magazine available in multiple languages, including EnglishJapanese and simplified Japanese. You can find the same article in all three versions–although you will probably have to search, rather than finding them all on the respective homepages.
  • DramaFever
    • Cost: Free (ad supported); $9.99/month
    • Platform: Web (mobile apps available on paid plan)
    • Description: Watch Japanese (and other) dramas with or without English subtitles. Shows currently airing in Japan are available, as well as other recent shows.
  • 20Q
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Play 20 Questions in Japanese. Proper names cannot be used.
  • Akinator
    • Cost: Free (web, including mobile); $1.99 (mobile app)
    • Platform: Web (including mobile), iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Play 20 Questions in Japanese. Use names of real or fictional people.
  • Speech to text
    • TalkTyper
    • Dictation.io
    • Mobile devices (e.g., Siri on iPhone)
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web, mobile
    • Description: Students use these tools to check their pronunciation. If they pronounce words clearly, the resulting text will be what they intended. With mobile assistants like Siri, they will also get the intended response. Keep in mind that the tools are not perfect, though! Hilarity may result instead.
  • Text to speech
    • Vocalware
    • Acapela
    • Sitepal (requires Flash)
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: These sites read text in a variety of languages, including Japanese. The voices are robotic, but not bad. Students can use this to check their pronunciation. It can also serve as a confirmation that they have written what they intended.
  • Language exchange
    • Open Language Exchange
    • My Language Exchange
    • Shared Talk
    • The Mixxer
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web
    • Description: Students can use any of these sites to find a language exchange partner. Keep in mind that this is an exchange, so they would need to speak English for half of the exchange time and Japanese for the other half. The Mixxer has tools for teachers to teachers to collaborate with and tools for students to request confirmation that they participated in an exchange.
    • More: Book chapter about The Mixxer
  • Gacco: The Japan MOOC
    • Platform: Web
    • Cost: Free
    • Description: This site offers MOOCs (massive open online courses) in Japanese. Courses are available on topics including manga, anime, and games; haikuequality and freedom in the middle ages in Japan;  culture, scenery, and traditional crafts in Kyoto. Course videos include transcripts.
    • Limitations: You have to enrolling in these courses on the schedule that they are being taught, which may not sync up with your school schedule. However, if you enroll in advance of when you want to use the materials, you may be able to download the videos, transcripts, and other materials for later use.
  • MangaBox (Japanese and English)
    • Platform: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Cost: Free
    • Description: Free manga, originally written in Japanese. English translations are also available. Within the app settings, you can change the language of the manga from Japanese to English and back.
    • Limitations: You may not be able to use this site/app with young students because there are quite a few manga that are inappropriate for them. In addition, there is not a good way to search for manga, so it can be difficult to find the corresponding Japanese/English versions.

List of free web resources for language learning and teaching

List of free mobile apps for language learning and teaching

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