There seems to be so many apps that are coming available for learning English. I don’t actually use any in class, but I often get asked by my learners for recommendations so they can do some self-study. I have therefore been doing a little research and paired this down to three free apps that seem to serve a different purpose and therefore complement each other. I hope you find them useful and it saves you searching the Internet when you get asked by students for apps to help them improve their English!
The first I came across was called Memrise. As the name suggests, this app is designed for learners who are looking to memorize vocabulary. What it tries to do is help the learner remember words and definitions in creative and humorous ways. There are everyday words and phrases available and these are reinforced with quizzes and images. First, the learner needs to select the language they want to learn and then choose their level. On the downside, after this they will need to register through Facebook or email. Obviously, I would prefer it if there was no registration, but the app is free and seems like a great tool for building vocabulary.
In a post about free language learning sites I couldn’t really ignore Duolingo. There are about 120 million registered users around the world and the app is available on iOS, Android and Windows 8 and 10 platforms. At the time of writing this, there were courses in 21 different languages available. Here is what the creators say: “We created Duolingo so that everyone could have a chance. Free language education – no hidden fees, no premium content, just free.”
Lessons are topic based and learners can build up their vocabulary on a range of topics. There are exercises they can do in each lesson that might involve matching words to pictures, translating words and phrases, or repeating words or phrases. I haven’t tried using this as a teacher yet, but as it grows and develops, I am pretty sure I will look into how to incorporate this into courses.
This is an app by the British Council and is one that is relatively new to me. You’ll need to go to the Educational App Store and create an account to use this, but it really looks worth exploring. Again, as the name suggests, it is an app designed to help learners improve their grammar. It covers 25 grammar topics with each level containing over 600 grammar activities. It also has four levels from beginner to advanced. There is a British and American English version for spelling and pronunciation too. The app is also available in English, Japanese and Spanish. According to their site, the app has more than 1,000,000 downloads and was ranked number 1 in the iTunes Education category in 9 countries and also ranks in the top ten in over 40 countries.
There are certainly many more apps available and I would love to hear your thoughts on these three and any others that you have come across or recommended to your learners. I would also be interested to hear from teachers who are incorporating apps into their classes or are using them as homework or out of class study. As always, please feel free to leave a message in the comments box. Thanks!