MapMuse Announces Release of Learn English by Radio iPhone Apps

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Innovative Apps Teach ESL Students the Nuances of Spoken English via Classic Radio Shows

Learning English doesn’t have to feel like work ... not when you’re being taught by cowboys, aliens, and other unforgettable radio characters.

MapMuse today announced the release of Learn English by Radio, a series of cutting-edge iPhone apps that use famous radio shows such as Gunsmoke and Dragnet to teach listening comprehension skills. Instead of burying themselves in textbooks and expensive software, ESL students can now master the language’s spoken nuances by listening to the greatest stories ever told on American radio.

“Learning English doesn’t have to feel like work,” says MapMuse owner Mike Pilon. “Not when you’re being taught by cowboys, aliens, and other unforgettable radio characters.” Learn English by Radio’s initial release consists of eight standalone apps, each featuring an episode from Gunsmoke, a Western drama, Dragnet, a crime drama, X-Minus One, a sci-fi drama, or Our Miss Brooks, a high school comedy.

In addition, MapMuse has developed knock-your-socks-off technology to address common obstacles to listening comprehension such as speed of speech, unusual or relaxed pronunciations, idioms, and slang. For instance, a student that has difficulty with speed of speech can listen to the audio of the show at slower pace until he develops an ear for spoken English. If he misses something in the audio, he can pause it, scroll back through a synchronized transcript and replay it. If he is not familiar with a vocabulary word, an idiom or a colloquial pronunciation, he can click on an embedded link for a definition or explanatory note. Quizzes are inserted at good stopping points to help reinforce what you’ve already learned. “Our goal was to use cutting edge technology to weave education into entertainment as seamlessly as possible,” says Pilon. "We think we got the job done.”

Learn English by Radio is designed to accommodate ESL students at all levels. Students can use the technology to address their particular deficits whether it be speed of speech, colloquialisms or vocabulary. It will be especially helpful to students who have a textbook knowledge of English, but can not understand native speakers. “Given the rapid tempo of action and dialogue, not to mention the occasional odd pronunciations, it was important that we develop the app with flexibility in mind,” says Pilon. While MapMuse is confident they’ve achieved this goal, they’ve chosen to solicit feedback from ESL teachers all over the world in the interest of designing a maximally effective learning tool.

Learn English by Radio is available for download on the iTunes App Store for $2.99. MapMuse also offers volume pricing to educational institutions.

MapMuse is an Internet and app development company based in Reston, Virginia. It bills itself as the best site to “find places to live, learn, work, and play,” and has created thousands of locator maps and apps over the past decade. Learn English by Radio represents its first venture into the educational software field. For more information on MapMuse, please refer to their homepage.

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