On this post, I will suggest some free mobile apps I have used – or I have seen other teachers using – in English language teaching and which I often recommend to my students.
Apps for teachers – classroom resources:
- BooksApp: keep track of all the books you have in your personal library and your classroom library – all on the palm of your hand. With this app, all you need to do is scan the books’ bar codes and the app will automatically pull all the information about the books. You can put them in lists, share it (pro version), and take notes when you lend your books. Also available for Android.
- Brain Pop Featured Movie: The app is free but to access all the materials available on the website it’s required a payed subscriptions. Some K-12 schools have that subscription so that teachers can use the lesson in the classroom. Using the free mobile app, students can watch the videos and review content. There is also a website dedicated to ESL materials.
- Common Core: K-12 teachers working in American public schools may find interesting to have all the Common Core Standards on the palm of your hands. This app is available for iOS and Android.
- ExplainEverything: this one only runs on iPads. It works like a smart white board. Presentations can be recorded saved and reviewed. You can make a whole grammar presentation on it beforehand, run it during class, and then send it to your students by email. A time saver.
- Onestopenglish: app and website for teachers. Lots of high quality teaching materials. You can’t miss this one!
- Poplet.com: great app to make flow charts. Useful for teaching and registering vocabulary. Available online and on mobile app for iPad. Students can keep a personal register of the vocabulary they have been learning.
- Socrative: this app has two versions – one for the teacher and the other for students. It allows the teacher to create short quizzes and polls. Students click on the answers and the teacher immediately receives it tabulated. Ideal for those situations when you want to know students opinion, but don’t want one to “follow” the others. Available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
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Apps for projects:
- Voice Thread: it is a voice recorder that allows discussions following the same audio thread. The teacher can propose a question or discussion topic, students access it and post their spoken answers so that the entire group can hear it. In addition, students can develop projects using audio and video using this app which is also available online.
- Animoto: develop a project and have students prepare creative videos for presentations using Animoto. It is free and you can log in using your Facebook account.
- Toontastic: have your students learn storytelling principles by crafting their own cartoon.
- Super Duper Story Maker: The name says it all, with this app you can create stories. Educators and parents will love StoryMaker because it helps children practice learning skills, such as reading, sequencing, vocabulary and sentence building, following directions, grammar, storytelling and retelling, interacting with others, and more.
Apps for speaking and pronunciation:
- ESL ai: conversational experience – interesting app for those learners who get shy when they really need to speak in English.
- Sounds - the pronunciation app by MacMillan: As the name says, this app is aimed at pronunciation. The interactive phonemic chart is free, but some other features are paid.
- Sounds right: developed by the British Council, this app offers the English phonemic chart for pronunciation practice.
Apps for vocabulary:
- Dictionary.com: I use it regularly and encourage my students to do the same. It provides thorough definitions, word of the day, thesaurus, and much more. I also use its website. Available for Android and iOS (Apple devices).
- English Idioms Illustrated: find the meaning behind English idioms that can’t be properly explained through words.
- Peek: play with translation. Test your knowledge with this fun app by the Evernote team.
Quizzes and games for language practice:
- Test your English: fun game to test English skills. The activities are divided in three levels and in specific purposes. Good for that spare time in the doctor’s waiting room. This one is for Android.
Apps for note taking:
- Soundnote.com: take notes while recording an audio file. Then, click on the written word to listen to what was recording at that same moment. The best way to keep notes in classes and review again later. Only for iOS.
- Evernote: I personally use Evernote and its combined apps for notetaking in the classroom. Some adult students are using it, too, instead of a traditional notebook. Teachers can share notes and much more using this apps, which is also available as a computer software and a website.
There is much more out there to be explored. If you are interested in reading more about educational apps and why they are beneficial for English language learners, you might enjoy this other article.