A pair of business majors have started the website http://www.weblishpal.com, which connects Chinese learners with English speaking tutors for webcam language lessons.
Two MBA grads, Danny Wang and Barbara Tassa, are hoping to revolutionize the way people in China learn English through their new web video business. Called WeblishPal, the system connects Chinese learners with native English speakers half a world away for real-time video chats.
The idea came out of Wang’s own experience. After studying English for more than 10 years at school in Sichuan province, Wang thought he had a fair grasp of the language. He could read English books and had memorized dozens of grammar rules.
But the software engineer had a rude awakening when he immigrated to Canada in 2000.
Wang couldn’t understand native English speakers and they couldn’t understand him. “My English was so bad I couldn’t even open a bank account,” he says. It took regular interactions with English speakers to make him fluent.
The idea seems really interesting, and has a lot of potential applications. Could accent modification therapy be done over the internet? How about speech therapy for other issues? Would it be covered by insurance?
Telepractice seems like the “wave of the future” to me, but maybe that’s because I only recently figured out how to turn on the webcam on my netbook. Figuring out how to provide therapy online sounds daunting. Maybe not for the technologically savvy?