FAQs

What is Bili?

Bili is the free online student language exchange, which enables sustained and structured peer-to-peer interaction, in a safe, teacher monitored space.

Pairings

How are schools paired?

Languages teachers create their school profile through Bili, which we then verify. Their profile includes general information about them, including the languages which are taught at their school and the number of students learning each language in each year group.

Bili will then suggest schools they might like to connect with of a similar size, and with similar aims. These can be accepted or rejected until each school finds their perfect match! (See the matching process page for more info on this).

N.B.for some schools it may make sense to have more than one partner school, either because of the size or the different languages you teach.

We have a partner-school abroad already; can we link up with them through Bili?

Yes, of course! This makes our job that little bit easier too; so do let us know when you register!

Once you both have created your profiles, you will be directly linked to one another and can start straight away!

Can I just try it out with one class?

It’s entirely up to you! Generally, it is easier to find a school to pair with if you can offer more students to start with or at least be flexible.

Of course, the Bili vision is that as many students as possible will have the chance to speak regularly to a class mate abroad their own age, which is why we insist on finding out the total number of students at each of our registered schools. In this way, we can pair you with a school of a similar size giving you the freedom to take part with the whole school if you should so wish!

How are students connected?

Students will only ever be paired with partners the same age at a school which their school is directly linked to. They will be paired up as they complete their profiles based on the interests they select, so with any luck they will find they have something in common with their Bili-pals!

What if we don’t have the same number of students?

In an ideal world we would have exactly the same number of students at each school. In reality, we all know that this is unlikely. However, we do have a solution!

Any students who are ‘unpaired’ will send their message to the class message board of their partner school abroad. The students there can earn stars for responding to extra messages every week! If the student hasn’t received a response after two days, it will flag up on the teachers’ dashboard (abroad) so they can give some feedback or chase up one of their students to!

Languages

What languages is Bili available in?

Bili is currently available in English, French, German and Spanish. However, we are always looking for the opportunity to expand into new languages- so get in touch and let us know what you think our next languages should be!

Spoiler alert- we’re looking into Mandarin and Italian at the moment… Watch this space!

Can we use Bili with more than one foreign language?

Yes. Absolutely. In fact, we’d love you to!

Website

Is it secure?

Clearly, the security of children online is of the utmost importance and at Bili we treat this issue as such. Please find below some information on Bili exchanges and the platform itself:

Should we ask for parental permission?

This depends entirely on your school policy. However, we can provide you with a letter to adapt as necessary for your school here Also, if you need to check through our terms and conditions, you can access them here

Is it really free?

Yes. Bili will always offer schools the opportunity to connect their students completely free. We will be bringing out extra features, and products which Bili-users may wish to subscribe to, but we guarantee that these will not affect your free access to the platform as it stands!

Bili Exchange

How does the exchange work?

The concept is very simple: ‘modern day pen-pals’ if you like. How it works in practice is a little bit more complicated!

There are two completely separate message exchanges between each pair of students (i.e. one in the foreign language, i.e. Spanish, and one in your native language, i.e. English). You would plan the Spanish tasks for your students, which their partners would respond to in Spanish. Likewise, the teacher in Spain would plan tasks in English for his/her students which your students would respond to in English.

In this way

Are tasks written or can they be audio, videos or photos?

Tasks are written and planned by teachers, and the teachers decide how they should be answered. When creating a new task, they specify whether students should type their response (copy and paste disabled as our anti-google translate device!), or should upload a media file. It is expected that their partner will respond in the same format, giving students a chance to listen to native speakers as well as reading their responses.

Can students speak directly to each other in ‘real-time’?

Not yet. This is in the pipeline though, and we are working out the best way of managing this whilst maintaining the security of the platform. Again, watch this space!

Communicating

Can teachers contact each other through Bili to coordinate exchang

Yes, any teacher can message the teacher of any students their own students are paired with. This happens directly from their dashboard, and the teacher is sent an email notification as and when this happens.

How does a teacher set tasks?

Tasks are set directly through the website in a series or a topic. The content, level of support, and the mode of completion are entirely up to the teacher. Bili is built to be as flexible as possible, and enable teachers to plan tasks to complement what kids are learning in the classroom.

Can we share resources through Bili?

Yes, any topics which are planned by a teacher are available to other teachers through the topic bank, where they are categorized by topic area, age and difficulty level. Teachers can ‘borrow’ and adapt one another’s topics, or plan from scratch.

Technology

What technology do we need?

A device that connects to the internet, whether it’s a computer, tablet or smartphone.

Do we need to have access to computers in lesson time?

No. In fact most schools tend to use Bili as a homework tool, so the students can go away and produce some high quality written or spoken work.