According to CEO Luis von Ahn, Duolingo is best-known for its language-learning and whimsical owl apps. The co-founder mentioned the app during an interview last week, the same day that Duolingo officially listed in the stock market.
TechCrunch reached Duolingo after the interview to obtain more details about the app. However, the company refused to give more detail as it was “still very young” in its development process. It did say that users may learn more about it later this month at Duocon, Duolingo’s annual free conference. A May job posting shows that Duolingo has been looking for a learning scientist with a PhD in mathematics to help build out a new math app alongside a “small cross-functional team.”
This listing suggests that the app is geared towards younger learners. Duolingo requires candidates with classroom experience to teach K-12 math. This is especially important for younger learners between the ages of 3 and 8.
Duolingo’s current users feel mixed about the idea of Duolingo getting into math.
Luis von Ahn, the CEO of Duolingo stated that it may be possible for users to see Duolingo’s math app accelerate and that they plan on expanding beyond learning languages through upcoming acquisitions. This may help to calm fears about Duolingo having to invest a lot of money in a new software program or curriculum.
Duolingo could consider buying the company if there are similar subjects and they do a good job. Von Ahn stated in an interview that Duolingo might also be interested in acquiring other companies.
Khan Academy, Brilliant.org and Photomath are all math-focused edtech firms. __S.13__
The Duolingo math app represents another chapter of its long history of experimentation. In its ten years of existence, the company has tried hundreds of different ideas. Each one was a success.
It has built an entire product line over the years that includes Duolingo ABC (a literacy app for children) and Duolingo English Test (a test for adults). Duolingo has a “graveyard” of failed ideas, including a handful of retired monetization strategies as well as AI-powered chatbots. Leaderboards, a popular feature that was wildly successful before it failed, were not revived. Math, however, is something that von Ahn has been interested in.
As mentioned in the Duolingo EC-1, von Ahn has always said that he and his co-founder, Severin Hacker, were thinking about making Duolingo a math app before they eventually decided on language learning.
In a past interview, von Ahn stated that he loves math but math alone cannot make him any money. You learn math in order to study physics and become engineers. However, knowing English will directly increase your potential income in many countries around the globe.
One user wrote that “[math] is such a key skill to learn…[and] hopefully this may provide better resources especially to those with such limited access, while being inspirational and equally engaging to those of us with more opportunities.”
Some wanted Duolingo’s language-learning services to be centered before it moved to new areas. One user commented that Duolingo shouldn’t consider expanding into Maths, given its poor coverage in the majority languages except for Spanish and French. __S.26__
According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, (CEFR), the company cannot teach language fluency from beginner to intermediate levels. About 30% to 40% of Duolingo courses are in some stage of CEFR alignment, per the company’s last pull of metrics from May.
Although it is too early to predict how Duolingo’s math app will look or what its offerings would be, it may not be possible to know if the company will monetize it. It will mark Duolingo’s first foray in a new area of education, beyond the language.
It is important that the company not only finds the product but also the philosophical intersection between these subjects. Math revolves around finding the right answer. Language learning can be benefited from cultural context and nuance. Both areas require patience and the ability use functions to find answers. Ultimately, both rely on what Duolingo often argues is its biggest product: motivation to open up an app, and pay attention to what’s happening on the screen.
Publiated at Thu, Aug 5, 2021 21:10.04 +0000