Learn French, Spanish, Portuguese and other languages for free with busuu
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that busuu is a social network for language learning. Users can answer quiz questions, review vocabulary, and submit written responses that fellow users who are native speakers can review and edit. Users also can log into the "Help Others" section and submit their own replies to user responses.
What's it about?
The social network BUSUU is for learning another language. Users choose lessons based on themes such as "daily life" or "personal appearance" and then explore vocabulary, dialogue, writing exercises, and interactive quizzes. A premium membership gives users access to all quizzes and languages in the app; the free version offers more limited access to lessons and quizzes. Getting questions right within the lessons rewards the user with "busuu-berries," and the user's running total is tracked in a public profile and at the top of the screen. Users can visit the "Help Others" screen to view and comment on other users' written responses; for example, native English speakers can reply to English-language learners and receive feedback on their foreign-language submissions in return.
Is it any good?
Good features in busuu include thoughtfully leveled content and a nice Travel Guide feature that offers tourist-ready vocabulary and phrases. However, there are serious questions about the content. Some vocabulary lessons feature images and words that promote racial, ethnic, and gender stereotypes, and quizzes tend to test superficial knowledge rather than meaningful content.
The social element sounds promising, but it's uneven. In the "Help Others" section, it's not always clear what question other users are trying to address, making it tough to give helpful feedback. Also, there's no guarantee a native speaker will respond to your written responses.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the kinds of words and phrases that are especially important to know when visiting another country. What sorts of questions do you need to know how to ask?
Families also can talk about online safety. Why is it important to think twice about sharing personal information?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Chromebook, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading comprehension, vocabulary, writing
- Skills: Communication: conveying messages effectively, listening
- Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
- Pricing structure: Free to try, Paid, Free (In-app purchases range from $4.99 to $64.99 for courses, memberships, and more.)
- Release date: May 21, 2014
- Category: Education
- Size: 56.80 MB
- Publisher: Busuu Limited
- Version: 5.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later; Android varies with device.
For kids who love languages
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.