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English Attack! Partners with Prodirekt for Language Learning Innovation Across Balkans and Serbia

Media and education group PRODIREKT, with its regional communication network Verbalisti, will be responsible for rolling out innovative online entertainment-based approach to English-language learners in seven markets

Paris, France – June 6, 2012 – Entertainment Learning, the European leading education-via-entertainment company, announced its partnership with PRODIREKT LLC (www.prodirektgroup.com) today for the launch, marketing and business development of its flagship language learning service, English Attack!, (www.english-attack.com) in Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia as well as in Bulgaria.

“Our innovative media and entertainment-based approach to learning English was designed to be as accessible and affordable as possible, so our policy is to work with partners not just in the world’s main markets for English learning, but everywhere. In Southeast Europe, we have been delighted to find a regional partner PRODIREKT, who, with its fast growing communication network Verbalisti, offers innovation, market knowledge, skills, credibility and marketing platforms not only in the area of language education, but in media, travel, and youth marketing as well. We are confident that they will be very successful in introducing English Attack! to the millions of learners of English in these rapidly developing markets,” said Paul Maglione, co-founder of Entertainment Learning.

Dejan Trpkovic, managing director, PRODIREKT, added: “The partnership with Entertainment Learning ideally complements our business strategy, while their English Attack! will expand our portfolio of experience-based educational programs. As part of our commitment to motivate, educate and keep the professionals in Southeast Europe in tune with the latest trends in communication and personal development, our network Verbalisti has been supporting major cultural events, regional music and film festivals, as well as conducting interviews with successful business people and celebrities. English Attack! is a valuable addition to our content that stands out for its originality, high quality and is aimed at learning through experience and entertainment.

The full impact of the Internet revolution has yet to be seen in the field of education, and in particular most online language-learning sites are still based on exercises and structures typical of early 20th-century pedagogy, far removed from the interests and motivations of today’s learners. English Attack! aims to propel language learning into the 21st century with an innovative, social approach.

English Attack! allows learners of English to improve their language skills contextually with video clips from blockbuster movies, hit TV series, music videos and television news reports; online games ; and thematic visual dictionaries. They can also practice their developing English language skills within the site’s global social network of learners of English. Users have a choice between an English-language interface and a version with navigation, help texts, tutorials, a dictionary, and other resources in 19 other languages, including Spanish, allowing easier access to the site’s unique pedagogical approach.

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About Entertainment Learning/English Attack!:

Entertainment Learning was founded in 2009, based on the vision of transforming education via web 2.0 principles and the power of online entertainment. It is represented by Marketing Partners in 12 countries covering 15 markets, with offices in Paris, Dusseldorf, Warsaw, Prague, Istanbul, Barcelona, Chicago, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Bogota, Seoul and Bangkok.

Its first online service, English Attack!, was developed in partnership with a range of English-teaching professionals, and emerged from large-scale worldwide Beta-testing in July 2011. English Attack delivers a truly innovative approach to language learning, based on cognitive neuroscience and the use of learning concepts derived from the latest language learning pedagogy as well as principles based on learning games.

The service is available to both consumers and, via a multi-user license, to schools, language institutes, universities and companies.

English Attack! is available in 20  languages. These include French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Romanian, Polish, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, and Korean, allowing easier beginner-level access to the site’s unique pedagogical approach.

About PRODIREKT LLC and Communication Network Verbalisti (Verbalists)

PRODIREKT provides strategic management and executive education and training in the Balkan region. PRODIREKT’s innovative solutions for corporate management, marketing and international business communication offer a bridge between strategy and education, while its business group, with the communication network Verbalisti, dedicated to language studies, professional training, translation and interpreting services, helps young professionals and corporate clients achieve their objectives in international communication.

The communication and language network Verbalisti has been created for language lovers and all those wishing to improve their communication skills. Furthermore, Verbalisti are the answer to the growing demand for the regional standardization in foreign language studies. Verbalists offer quality language courses for students of all ages and levels according to their various budget needs.

ELTA in Serbia, English Language Learning through Social Media and Entertainment

English Language Teachers’ Association in Serbia Features the Network Verbalisti in the IT for ET

In recent years social media has become a predominant factor in our daily communication, especially among young people, who ‘hang out’ on Facebook or Twitter via their laptops or mobile devices almost around the clock. We update our status on (un)usual events in our lives, write on our friends’ walls or just tweet an interesting link from any imaginable sphere of life. Such is the power of social media that the rumour has it that if news/information is not on Tweeter, Facebook or LinkedIn, it literally did not happen.

So, why not use this trend of massification of online communication also as a means to attracting (young) people to learn languages in a funny, informal and laid-back way? Prodirekt company has recognized the power of social media as a tool to reaching out to potential English language learners by creating a language network Verbalisti. Our co-editor, Marija Ivanovic, has spoken with Prodirekt’s director of educational programmes, Jasmina Saric, who explains the ideas behind their work as well as the latest trends in English learning in Serbia when it comes to social media and entertainment.

Tell us more about the social language network Verbalisti – what inspired its concept and how it develops?

It all happened three years ago after the prolonged talks with our educational partners – major European language schools and colleges, about how we could raise the standard of language learning in our region. We wanted to offer students in the region a social media that will be a motivating factor to learn foreign languages. Consequently, we created the social media and language network Verbalisti that quickly changed many things in our region. Probably the most significant result is that Verbalisti language network diversifies the language learning practice in Serbia by introducing innovative and up-to-date approaches, such as learning through social media and entertainment. The network features various online language learning tools and YouTube videos. Additional educational content can be accessed through the two language specific blogs of Verbalisti - stranijeziciblog.com (Serbian) i stranskijazici.com (Macedonian). Last year, in partnership with Pearson and Kings Colleges London, Verbalisti conducted the language competition Verbalizuj se!, with a two-week language course in Kings Colleges in London as the main prize. The competition generated 432 entries and more than 34,000 visits to the site in just one month.

Verbalisti London young language learners group 

What in your opinion makes Verbalisti so special and different?

Perhaps it’s the fact that we offer students an accessible and attractive way of finding out everything they need to plan their language education. We have recognized the importance of the social networks, Facebook and YouTube in particular, as the main environment for opinion exchange. There was no doubt about it. Languages are live organisms, they change and evolve as we speak… communication and opinion exchanges are essential. Facebook is the one that probably enables the highest interaction levels. The other important thing was to create a platform for students to view and exchange photos, video clips or simply start a discussion. We further spiced things up by interviewing celebrities, because our motto is learning through entertainment, especially when it comes to the young. The result of our efforts is more than 12,000 Verbalisti language fans on Facebook.

Now that you’ve mentioned the interviews with the celebrities in your media, tell us how important was their support for Verbalisti popularity and how can social media be used in the classroom?

Very important, I’d say. Since the very beginning we’ve made a point of “opening up” celebrities to tell us more about their education, their language competencies, about their travel. All of them supported the project we dubbed “Speak Your Mind!“. The most significant of all, however, was to show the young how important it was to speak languages in our times, by sharing the experiences of their favourite singers and actors. English teachers can use these clips as a tool to motivate students to learn the language. If teachers don’t have access to internet at schools, they can, nevertheless, recommend the links during class and in this way give students the freedom to explore them on their own at home while on Facebook or YouTube. As feedback exercises, teacher can, then, after a few days re-initiate the discussion in classrooms. This can be done either through group discussions or as a part of a writing exercise.

 

Social language network Verbalisti - Speak Your Mind!

Speak Your Mind!, featuring celebrity interviews, is the most popular on Verbalisti YouTube channel

 

We talked about students’ preferences, especially the younger ones, for the digital media and social networks. It explains to a great extent the fast growth of the language network Verbalisti, but what is the situation like when it comes to the foreign language teachers? How trained and how prepared are they for the advantages of the digital media and the latest teaching tools?

Well, here the situation is not so rosy, although we have to be honest in realising that the poor use of the digital media in our schools has come as a result of many different factors, most of which are out of the teachers’ hands. For instance, the economic crisis is to blame for the lack of funds – therefore, no money for the speedy internet connections, for computers at the students’ disposal or acquiring new, powerful teaching tools, such as, interactive whiteboards. We need more significant help in financing teacher training, educating them to incorporate new media and tools into a class, and last but not least – we need to come up with the compensation system which would motivate teachers to evolve and improve with the times. This is the core reason why our teachers should seize every opportunity for additional training, especially those organised abroad and supported by the foreign colleges, the British Council or other institutions. The overall implementation of the digital media and the improvement that comes with it have forced the western countries to transform their teaching, and I honestly hope we’ll follow in their footsteps.

PRODIREKT, with its language network Verbalisti, recently signed the regional partnership agreement with the Paris based Entertainment Learning, the creator of language learning service – English Attack! In line with the importance of adopting new media in our teaching, we will in the next issue discuss with Jasmina Saric the power of social media and how digital entertainment can be applied to help people learn languages.

ELTA Serbia Newsletter

Read the whole article at: English language learning through social media and entertainment, By Marija Ivanovic

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Marija Ivanovic is a MELT co-editor, an educational consultant and an English teacher. At the moment, she is setting up a project on harnessing teacher and student emotional intelligence called ‘Cool Fire’ in Denmark with partners from the UK. Her professional interests include Reflective practice, Teacher development, School leadership and Emotional intelligence. She received her BA degree in the English language and literature from the Faculty of Philology, Belgrade University and her MA in Lifelong learning from the Danish School of Education, Deusto University and London University respectively.

About ELTA
ELTA is a non-governmental, non-profit association of teachers of English in Serbia, affiliated to IATEFL (International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) and TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages). It was founded in 2003 by merging of two, at the time, biggest teachers’ associations ELTAB (English Language Teachers’ Association of Belgrade) and YELTA (Yugoslav English language Teachers’ Association). ELTA brings together primary and secondary English teachers, teachers working in higher education, language schools, students of English, all language professionals and professionals-to-be interested in ensuring excellence in English language teaching.

About PRODIREKT LLC and Communication Network Verbalisti (Verbalists)
PRODIREKT provides strategic management and executive education and training in the Balkan region. PRODIREKT’s innovative solutions for corporate management, marketing and international business communication offer a bridge between strategy and education, while its business group, with the communication network Verbalisti, dedicated to language studies, professional training, translation and interpreting services, helps young professionals and corporate clients achieve their objectives in international communication.

PRODIREKT and Entertainment Learning Partner to Help Learners in the Balkan Region to Improve their English

Belgrade, Serbia — February 3, 2012 — PRODIREKT LLC today said it will join forces with Paris based Entertainment Learning SAS to market its flagship language learning service, English Attack!, in the Balkans. The exclusive regional partnership agreement is expected to be announced shortly.
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English Attack! and Prodirekt together in improving English language education in SEE

“Prodirekt” and “Entertainment Learning” partner to help learners in the Balkan region to improve their English

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Paul Maglione, co-founder of Entertainment Learning said: “We interviewed many potential partners for the Balkan region, and finally found what we were looking for in PRODIREKT LLC. We are confident that they have expertise and experience to create the ideal marketing and communications programs and commercial initiatives, as well as the local relationships with teachers, schools, universities, language institutes, and companies, to make English Attack! an integral part of PRODIREKT’s education offering and  an important player in the growing and dynamic English language-learning industry here in the Balkan region.

PRODIREKT expects to launch the first local language versions of English Attack! in April 2012, giving English language learners in the Balkan region a choice between an English-language interface for the innovative online service; and a version with navigation, help texts, tutorials, a dictionary, and other resources in local languages, and allowing easier access to the site’s unique pedagogical approach by early-stage learners of English.

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About Entertainment Learning
Entertainment Learning was founded by the well-known specialists in the media and entertainment industries, Paul Maglione and Frederic Tibout, who see a huge potential in the power of digital entertainment applied to a radically different way of helping people learn languages. English Attack! is the first site developed and published by Entertainment Learning.

Launched at the end of June 2011, English Attack! has attracted its 100,000th registered user and opened its 12th regional sales and marketing office. English Attack! is a global site created to help learners around the world improve their English, and is already available with a user interface in 13 languages. English Attack! features a combination of video clips, thematic visual dictionaries and games; a motivational reward-rich ecosystem; and social networking functionality allowing learners to use what they learn from the site.

Thanks to an innovative pedagogical approach combining elements of online entertainment, online social networks, and “gamification,” English Attack! (www.english-attack.com) is attracting an ever-increasing number of the “digital native” learners of English aged 13 to 35 for which it was designed.

English Attack! has been recognized on the European high tech scene, with finalist status at the TechCrunch (Paris), The Next Web (Amsterdam), and Plugg (Brussels) competitions, and it was a winner of the SeedCamp Paris event.

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About PRODIREKT LLC and Communication Network Verbalisti (Verbalists)
PRODIREKT provides strategic management and executive education and training in the Balkan region. PRODIREKT’s innovative solutions for corporate management, marketing and international business communication offer a bridge between strategy and education, while its business group and social network Verbalisti, dedicated to language studies and professional training, helps young professionals and business people achieve their objectives in international communication.

The communication and language network Verbalisti has been created for language lovers and all those wishing to improve their communication skills. Furthermore, Verbalisti are the answer to the growing demand for the regional standardization in foreign language studies. Verbalists offer quality language courses for students of all ages and levels according to their various budget needs.

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English UK, the World’s Leading Language Teaching Association, Recognized PRODIREKT as a Partner Agency

Belgrade, Serbia – January 25, 2012 – English UK, which works with the British Council to operate the English in Britain Accreditation Scheme, recognized PRODIREKT as an educational consultancy that successfully promoted the UK as an English language teaching destination in the past years. The recognition and accreditation of PRODIREKT as an English UK Partner Agency came as a result of PRODIREKT’s strictly adhering to the principles of the agency code of conduct, while providing language education services since 2002.

PRODIREKT has been recognized by the English UK as a Partner Agency

PRODIREKT was the first in the region to be recognized by English UK as a Partner Agency

“We are delighted to be the first company in the region to be recognized as an official Partner Agency by English UK, which is known for its independence, reputation and strict monitoring of its members’ work in the local markets,” commented Dejan Trpkovic, Managing Director of PRODIREKT. “This recognition is a great reward for our hard work during the last three years, the period that was also marked with the regional success of the communication and language network Verbalisti. The English UK partner membership will certainly be viewed by our clients and partners as an extra mark of quality of PRODIREKT services, and is a good start in the regional standardization of foreign language studies and recognition of high quality local agencies,” said Dejan Trpkovic.

Review the English UK media release in January 2012:  English UK’s newest Partner Agencies

English UK web site PRODIREKT profile:  PRODIREKT English UK Partner Agency

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About English UK
English UK is an independent organisation which works with the British Council to operate the English in Britain Accreditation Scheme. As the world’s leading language teaching association,  English UK has more than 450 members – all accredited by the British Council – including private language schools, educational trusts and charities and language centres in further education colleges and universities.

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Verbalist and Pop Idol Ivan Radenov Arrives at Kings Colleges – English Language Courses in London and Oxford (VIDEO)

London, UK – 15 November, 2011 – PRODIREKT, a company which owns the fastest growing communication and language network VERBALISTI, awarded a two-week language course at KINGS COLLEGES for Ivan Radenov, the first Macedonian Pop Idol.

Our partners, Kings Colleges, made sure that Ivan’s stay in London turns memorable in many ways, so The First Macedonian Idol played in the Band of Kings, attended famous theater performances, and even met Glenn Hughes, one of the members of his favorite band Deep Purple.

Ivan Radenov and Glenn Hughes

Ivan Radenov, the First Macedonian Pop Idol, meets his idol in London - Glenn Hughes of the great Deep Purple!

Ivan has been improving his English at Kings Colleges, one of the oldest and most prestigious language institutions in the UK, with the tradition spanning over 54 years and centres in London, Oxford and Bournemouth, the English Riviera gem.

And what does Ivan say about his language experience with Verbalisti and Kings Colleges, well, just play the video…

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