Top 5 apps for business English students

24-Jan-2013

Business English students need to become familiar with specific vocabularies and improve their general communication skills, and fortunately there is a wealth of different apps and web services out there that you can use to liven up your business English classes. Let’s take a look at a few of them now…

The Economist

The Economist app is free to download and gives you free access to the editor’s selection of the six must-read articles from each week’s edition of this fantastic business magazine, and you don’t need to be a subscriber to the magazine to get these articles. This will give you some of the best-quality and most topical business articles around, and with six to choose from each week, there should be something to interest all groups of students. If you want something for listening exercises, the audio edition , lets you purchase individual issues and provides downloadable word-for-word recordings of all the articles published in each weekly edition, read out by professional broadcasters. Each audio issue costs around £5, and because you download them you can use them again and again. If you teach business English students frequently it might be worth thinking about subscribing to The Economist: 12 issues (a 3 month subscription) costs just £12, and there’s an even bigger discount if you subscribe for a year .You might even be able to convince your manager to pay for it!

Rating – 5/5 Cost – free!

Financial Times

The Financial Times needs no introduction, and with their free app  you can access 8 different articles a month, taken from their most popular sections.
Their ever-popular “How to spend it” magazine also has its own free app: this section offers editorial features of the most luxurious watches, houses and holiday destinations. What better motivation for a group of business English students than presenting them with all the things they could buy if they can just improve their English a bit and get that promotion!

Rating – 4/5 Cost – free!

Business English Pod

For a more audio-based bank of content, you couldn’t go far wrong with Business English Pod, a podcast based all around business English! There are over 250 “lessons” covering the most popular topics, from meetings and interviews to management and presentation, and new lessons are added every week. Each lesson comes with a transcript, so you can go back over certain language points of bits of vocabulary, and you could use it to make your own more in-depth lessons based around the dialogues in the podcast. The app is free, and some of the website podcast lessons are free, but to access certain content, such as online interactive practice, you or your students will need to subscribe.

Rating – 4/5 Cost – free!

Popplet

Rather than providing you with content to use with your business English classes, this app  can be used to improve their presentation and team-working skills. It’s a brilliant mind-mapping tool that gives users a blank canvas on which they can sketch out and link ideas. Users can also collaborate with other users of Popplet and the web and mobile versions synch together nicely, with real-time updates. It’s quite expensive at $4.99 but it’s free to use on the web, so if you as a teacher have an iPad that you use in class, and you teach business English a lot, it would be a great investment. It would be a great way of putting students into groups and asking them to come up with a new product or prepare a presentation, and then you could ask them to talk the rest of the class through their thinking processes and ideas. If you like the idea of incorporating this kind of “blue sky thinking” into your classes but don’t want to pay $5, a free alternative is MindMeister .

Rating – 5/5 Cost – $4.99

BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer is a really useful app for any English teacher to download on their smart phone or tablet as it gives you access to an archive of TV and radio programs covering a whole variety of topics. The great thing about the programs on the BBC is that you also experience a whole range of different accents and dialects, so it’s really great for tuning your students’ ears to these subtle aspects of English. There are some really great business programs, including the World Business ReportIf you’re outside the UK, you may have to pay a monthly fee to access certain programs, although there is a ‘free’ section. You can download the Global version of the app here.

Rating – 5/5 Cost – free!

Becca

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