Friday, October 14, 2011

Losing WordChamp?


WordChamp, the mechanism that makes our lives as 2.0 teachers tick, may be going away. Why? Well, here is the banner on the site: "WordChamp is currently looking for a strategic business partner. We would like to find a way to keep this great website going but if we are unable to find a strategic partner by December 31, 2011, WordChamp will cease operations at that time. We are extremely grateful to all of the teachers and students that have been loyal users and hope the experience with WordChamp has been beneficial. Thank you, and good luck with your language studies!"

We've tried numerous times to reach them-GlobaLinguist is the backing company who started this treasure of language learning. Fred Egan is the chairman of GlobaLinguist and he oversaw the creation of a marvelous platform in which we educators found the best way to direct our students, give them feedback and coach them into becoming lifelong learners. Unfortunately, we cannot even get a response from the company to see what it would take to continue using this valuable tool.

In the meantime, we are exploring StudyBlue, Ediscio and other sites looking for something that can even come close (nothing does).

Daniel Blumenthal seems to be the brains behind the WordChamp, with several patents to his credit. Perhaps we'll see his genius used for good before we lose WordChamp.

10 comments:

John Whelpton said...

Hi, Andrea and congratulations on your site design.

I have a similar problem as I've uploaded a lot over several years, including both thousands of glosses to the Latin section of the Web Reader and many sets of flashcards. It is really frustrating that the company (which meant, in practice, Daniel) stopped responding in January. I suspect that there would be a way of transferring card sets en bloc from Wordchamp to ediscio, since the latter lets you export and import sets as HTML files, and, when you click the `Print' button in Wordchamp, you similarly generate an HTML file. However, we can't do anything if the company just ignores us!

Andrea Weis said...

Very frustrating considering how much time we've put into WordChamp, and they were so responsive in the beginning, too!

Thanks for the suggestion about copying the sets, we are working on how best to get the migration in order.

Anonymous said...

Send emails to Fred Egan (EMAIL: fje@wordchamp.com) There is no other website that can do everything that wordchamp can do. It can't just die! Send Fred comments, even if he doesn't respond. He reads them. He responded to my message.

John Whelpton said...

Thanks very much for the information. I have now written to him myself.

If it is not confidential, what did he tell you in his reply?

John Whelpton said...

Extended discussion of the situation now at
http://linguae.weebly.com/wordchamp-death.html

Andrea Weis said...

John, not any information, just that we know he's aware. I think that they are ready to simply walk away from the site. A sad thought that we'll not only lose so much material but also that there would not be a sense of educational philanthropy from the creators.

A recent post at http://highereducationmanagement.wordpress.com/category/open-source-in-higher-education/ addresses the problem of supporting worthwhile educational strategies that open the door to education.

John Whelpton said...

Thanks for the link.

They do indeed seem just to want to walk away, but their attitude still puzzles me. Daniel has been in the IT business a long time - he worked for a Japanese video game design company after university - and, assuming he wants to continue, it won't do him any good professionally to have pulled the plug on his own and everyone else's work without proper explanations or trying to help us with transition problems.

John Whelpton said...

Good news! I have just heard from Wordchamp that they have now decided NOT to close down the site. They are working out details for future operations and these will be announced shortly. They cite feedback from teachers as the reason for their change of heart, so many thanks to all those who wrote in to appeal for the site's continuation.

Andrea Weis said...

Fantastic news! It's a great relief that we can continue to grow with this fantastic tool!

Anonymous said...

Great work! I knew those emails would get through to Fred Egan. We have managed to buy some time to keep our beloved site! Let's see what changes they plan to make for the future. Thanks again for your support...Mr. Anonymous.