For Bushing up Skills: Duolingo, Grammarly
(Free; iOS, Android, Web browser)
Part of many New Year’s resolutions is self-improvement, which also leads to a efficient, productive life. Duolingo is a fantastic app for learning another language and is the go-to language learning app of Black Enterprise’s Executive Managing Editor, Alisa Gumbs. Heading to Cuba this spring, Alisa is using Duolingo on Android for brushing up on her Spanish.
“I like that it uses a variety of methods (such as fill in the blank, multiple choice, match the pairs, identify the picture); that it uses audio and the microphone to test my speech recognition and pronunciation; and that it regularly makes me go back and strengthen completed categories to keep the vocabulary fresh. Plus, it’s free, it gives me daily reminders to practice, and I can earn points that unlock fun stuff like Spanish pick-up lines. If you’re using it for work instead of play, it lets you ‘test out’ of categories you already know, gives you updates on how fluent you are, and has a badge you can post on your LinkedIn profile.â€
(Free for Basic account; add-on for Word, Outlook, Web browser)
Grammarly is a writing tool that is not just for professional writers, but can be used for business documents and school work. It’s a free add-on to Microsoft Word and Outlook that checks for grammar and spelling errors. There is also a browser extension that will double-check your Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and LinkedIn posts. As you use it, you will marvel at how it’s an effective grammar teacher as well.