The world, it seems, has gone 'App-crazy'. Nowadays, there's an app for just about everything! As sales of Smartphones, iPads and other tablet PCs continue to soar, it's time to ask: can apps help with language learning?
The answer is Yes! . Using apps can be a great way to continue practising a language while travelling. They can be motivating in themselves, and the extra work you do can consolidate your language course. However, it can be difficult to identify good apps among the many thousands out there. This blog post will focus on a few must-have apps for English language students.
A mobile dictionary app is essential. I recommend buying the app version of your favourite mono-lingual dictionary. The Macmillan English Dictionary app has a good system for showing word frequency. There are many free bi-lingual dictionary apps available, but not all provide reliable translations.
Apps allow you to do some quality listening and reading on the move. The website TED.com is a fantastic source of presentations: the app version allows you to download your favourite presentations to watch off-line. App versions of newspapers are worth investigating, although you need to pay a subscription for the Financial Times app.
Many students enjoy testing themselves using 'Flashcard' software. Flashcards work nicely on an iPad - just swipe the screen to turn over the card; a great way to review new words. Try: Flashcards+.
SimpleMindX allows you to create mind-maps.
How is your English pronunciation? 'Sounds' is an exciting new pronunciation app from Macmillan. It allows you to hear all the phonetic symbols, as well as providing lots of practice exercises. There is a free version, which contains an interactive version of the phonetic chart.
Of course, there are many other interesting apps around. Many are free; many are very cheap. So, if you have an Android phone, visit https://market.android.com iPhone users will already be familiar with the iTunes store.
The next December tech-blog post will continue to explore the world of M-learning (mobile-learning), looking at some of the benefits it has for language learning.