Tech Dec 02, 2015 08:11 AM EST

New York program to teach English by means of phone calls and text messages

By Staff Writer

New York State is offering a unique pilot English language learning program that works through phone calls and text messages. Candelaria Lopez a Mexican immigrant, living in the United States for 20 years, was pretty much only comfortable saying "Hi". It was hard for her to find the energy to sit through a 3 hour session after her long days as a farm worker in a New York's Hudson Valley region.

Daily Journal reports that, the 38-year-old women who is mother of four said had a whole new world open up for her in recent few months. She has now new responsibilities at work; she can now talk to her daughter's teacher without needing a translator, even helping another Spanish-speaking family find an apartment to rent. "For me, it's happy," she said. "For me, it's exciting."

New York launched the pilot program through its office for the local citizens of the New York. The premise is simple - those who have registered, call a number to hear and learn from the recorded lessons. They then answer questions via text messages to show they've understood what they've taught. Get the questions right and move on to the next lesson. If you didn't answer correctly a coach will call you to clarify the concept.

ABC News  says that the unique thing about is that you don't need a Smartphone. It is low tech enough - no apps. Anyone with the most basic phone can access it, and flexible enough that users can go at their own speed. About 300 people have signed up for the pilot program initially in three parts of the state - the Hudson Valley, the New York City area, and the Finger Lakes/North Country region.

According to Miami Herald, Jessica Rothenberg-Aalami, CEO of Cell-Ed, the company providing the lessons says "New York is the first state to fund a cell phone language learning program for immigrant populations like this". She also says that it took an average of about 25 hours to finish a level of classes; New York is offering Level I and Level II classes, as well as a citizenship class. The instruction starts out mostly in Spanish, shifting to more English as it gets more advanced.

By Level IV, the lessons are conversational English, she said. But even by the end of Level II, users are able to navigate in English much more confidently than they were before, she said.

She further says, "What we provide is a bridge to a lot of other resources that are unavailable to those who are missing the first and second rung of the education ladder.

This program will help many immigrants in USA like Candelaria Lopez to learn English to in a flexible and easy way. Learning English though phones calls and text messages offers a more convenient way for migrants to learn the language even without having to interfere with their daily activities and jobs.

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