Top 5 apps to bring authentic material into the classroom

01-Nov-2012

There are some great coursebooks out there, but sometimes you want to excite your students with something a bit more innovative and interesting. This week, we’re looking at 5 apps that will help you bring some engaging authentic material into the EFL classroom.

Flipboard

I love Flipboard, and I think it would be great to use in the EFL classroom. Flipboard is a beautiful app that collects the latest, most popular stories on a whole host of topics – news, technology, business, photography, film, food, home, travel – and brings all these stories straight to the palm of your hand. I think it would be great to use with English students because the stories are always relatively short but with some great vocabulary and, most importantly, about topics your students will love no matter who they are. You could ask students to present their favourite article of the week by hooking up their phone to a projector or directing other students to their article: one person might like a technology article because they learnt some new English vocabulary, while another might like a food article because they learnt a new recipe in English!

Rating – 5/5      Cost – free!

tunein

tunein is a brilliant way of bringing authentic regional accents into the English language classroom. Stream local English, American, Canadian or Australian radio shows directly into your classroom to give your students the chance to hear a range of different accents and listen to local news on a variety of interesting topics. With the Pro version you can record and rewind shows which is obviously great for listening tasks. It also doubles up as a great app to have outside of the classroom: you can set an alarm so that the radio turns on when you set it to, and it continues playing in the background while you perform other tasks on your phone.

Rating – 4/5      Cost – free!

TED 

TED is one of the most hyped creations of today’s digital generation. The TED app brings all the excitement and innovation into the palm of your hand. It’s perfect to use with more advanced students and for more engaging listening lessons than you might get from your textbook. You can download the talks but unfortunately they get stored on your device’s internal memory rather than on your memory card, which means you’ll run out of space pretty quickly if you download and want to keep them.

Rating – 4/5      Cost – free!

Global News and Newspapers

This is an aggregate of over 6000 international and local newspapers, magazines and news page from all around the world. Excellent for a wide range of reading materials, from various regions: America, Canada, Australia and the UK (and almost every other country as well!). You can create categories for easy browsing and add a link to a newspaper that’s not already there if you want to. This is a really useful app for quickly and easily accessing national and local English language news for some truly engaging EFL classes.

Rating – 4/5      Cost – free!

Instapaper

Instapaper is great for teachers who want to save webpages to read later. Simply create an account, add a page that you read on your phone or tablet, and access it later on your computer (or vice versa!) This is a really simple but handy little tool for storing ideas for reading lessons on the go.

Rating – 4/5      Cost – free!

Becca

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