Nothing says “disruptive technology” like taking an age-old concept and making users pay for it. Hence the existence of papagei.tv, a German education startup that recently received a multimillion-dollar investment from financial guru Carsten Maschmeyer.
Papagei.tv, which has partnerships with Warner Brothers and BBS, uses current event and movie clips to teach German speakers English and Russian and Turkish speakers German.
“Attending language classes is time-consuming, expensive and often also boring, because you cannot choose the content for yourself,” Mr. Maschmeyer told Gigaom. “With Papagei.tv, languages can be learnt in a straightforward, interactive and individual way, according to your field of interest, for example while watching hip movies.”
And who doesn’t want to be a hip, multilingual entertainment expert? Of course, learning foreign languages through movies is no educational innovation. For anyone who has ever taken a high school or college language class, movie days were probably your favorite part of the week. That is, until, you’ve seen Nanny McPhee 15 different times in Spanish in order to learn basic commands.
In the future, Papagei.tv also hopes to use their technology in schools. The video-based system would be joining the ranks of Coursera and Khan Academy in attempting to revolutionize education through technology, regardless of whether teachers are on board or not.
Still, the idea seems to have caught on in Germany, where Papagei.tv is the “official language trainer” of the Olympic team. If anyone watching the London Olympics notices the German track team making an unusual number of references to Forrest Gump, you now know why.