I've recently come across "Duolingo Kids", an app designed for kids learning foreign languages. I tried finding information online about the difference between Duolingo and Duolingo Kids, but couldn't find anything. What's the difference between Duolingo Kids and ordinary Duolingo?
I've been using Duolingo Kids for a week or three, and have completed the entire course for at least the easiest level, and have been using conventional Duolingo for years on and off.
One of the biggest differences between Duolingo Kids and the ordinary app is the lack of translation. Rather than being given a Spanish sentence and being asked to translate it into English, or vice versa, it uses icons of nouns, adjectives or verbs - for example, an icon of someone with lots of muscles successfully lifting weights for strong, and someone with no muscle unsuccessfully lifting weights for weak, and an animated icon of someone drinking a glass of liquid for "to drink". Using images, rather than translations, is something that's been advocated by Fluent Forever. I assume that this approach has been chosen because the children using this may be too young to be fluent in English.
Another difference is that Duolingo Kids seems to have taken a philosophy of "Don't be evil ... at least to kids". The app (as of May 2019 anyway, maybe it'll turn evil in the future) doesn't seem to have advertising, in-app purchases, streaks (instead, it only records how many days in total you've made progress in the app), or leaderboards comparing you with other people. I'm not a parent or an expert on children, so I don't know whether the app is sufficiently non-evil to be used by children, but for me it's a welcome change from the ordinary app.
Duolingo kids has more of an emphasis on spelling than the ordinary app usually does on smartphones. Most of the time, on the Duolingo app, you just choose entire words, but in Duolingo kids, you're sometimes asked to choose the correct syllable for a partially filled word.
Duolingo kids just focuses on choosing the correct words for things like nouns, verbs, and adjectives, rather than using the correct article ("la" or "el" in Spanish), or handling words like "ésta" (he/she/it form of estar, which is one of two different Spanish verbs for "to be"). I think in linguistics jargon they test "content words" rather than "function words". My assumption is that the latter are kind of hard to do icons for, and that learning those words aren't very gratifying.
Duolingo kids lacks the ability to start part-way through, which makes sense because it pretty much only teaches vocabulary. Currently it only supports English, Spanish, and French.
One hope that I had was that DuoLingo Kids would be a replacement for the normal DuoLingo application, because a friend of mine found DuoLingo too hard. Unfortunately, it isn’t a viable replacement because it won’t teach grammar - even the implicit information about grammar is extremely simple.