Top 5 apps to recommend to your students04-Oct-2012
This month, I’d like to take a look at some apps that would be great additions to any EFL student’s phone or tablet. The below vary from organizational apps to pronunciation and vocabulary, but I think that any of them would be really useful for any determined student.
Evernote is my new favourite thing, ever. It’s fantastic. It’s a suite of software for computers, tablets and smartphones and there are loads of different products and apps that do a range of different things depending on the user’s needs. Evernote is basically its own cloud computer service, allowing you to store any information you want on your device, in one easily-searchable database. This is great for anyone, but especially students because you can add new notes, organize them into topics or categories and then search for them quickly whenever you need to. This might not sound so unique, but this is just the basic foundation of Evernote: there’s so much more. Firstly, all your devices are synched through one account, so if a student adds a new grammar topic on their smartphone in class, they can access it later on their computer. You can collaborate with others by sharing notes and editing someone else’s. There’s also a whole host of additional apps you can install to get extra features. Skitch, for example, allows you to annotate photos in your Evernote account. This would be great for learning vocabulary and would be much more memorable than just writing lists. Evernote Peek, designed specifically for the iPad (sad for those who don’t have one; great for those who do!) is a special piece of software that works in response to the iPad’s smart cover, giving you questions when you flip the first section and the answer when you lift up the second. It’s a gimmicky way of testing and learning your students will love. A great product for students whose native language doesn’t use the Latin script, Penultimate is a handwriting software tool for the iPad, which would be great to get them practising their writing and handwritings skills! You can check out the whole range of products on the Evernote website, but the best thing is that they’re all free!
Rating – 5/5 Cost – free (every single one!)
The Sounds: Pronunciation App is an invaluable tool for English language students as it features a fully interactive version of the phonemic chart allowing students to listen to the individual sounds and their use in a word. It also allows you to do test tasters: students can try to understand the word from the phonemic spelling, or spell the word in phonemic from the normal spelling! It can be quite surprising and will really help them get to grips with their phonetics. The free version provides all of this, but there’s a premium version too (£3.99) which gives you the following features: extra wordlists and the option to purchase even more; ability to record your own pronunciation; a phonemic typewriter, and videos for teachers and students on how to make the most of using the phonemic chart.
Rating – 5/5 Cost – free
Vocaboss is an English language vocabulary flashcard app, filled with over 5000 words and their meanings. The vocabulary is very advanced, so this app is not really suitable for all students, but it would be fantastic for advanced learners, especially academic students preparing for university with IELTS or TOEFL. Take a look at Ankidroid for a more general flashcard app for Android devices, and Flashcards* for Apple devices.
Rating – 4/5 Cost – free
An excellent app from Dictionary.com, with a combined dictionary and thesaurus with over 2 million entries! This is a fantastic resource and I would say the best dictionary app available. You can hear audio pronunciations of words, and do voice searches too, so your students can practise their pronunciation and make sure the software recognizes what word they’re asking for! There’s a Word of the Day widget that they can put on the home screen of their phone or tablet and they can favourite words too to access quickly and easily later. This is all great for a free app, but there is an advert-free version that costs £1.86
Rating - 4/5 Cost – free
School Helper would be a great organizational tool for any student. It lets them create a timetable of all their classes (subjects, rooms, teachers), their marks and progress in each subject, as well as setting up information about any assignments, such as a description, the priority, a set date and a due date. They can then install the widget so that day’s classes and assignments appear on their home screen. No more excuses about forgetting homework! It’s got great reviews, is absolutely free and has a really clean, simple interface so it looks really modern.
Rating - 4/5 Cost – free