Teaching and Learning can be More Productive With the Aid of Today's Smartphone Empowered Education Applications.
Vocabulary building is perhaps the single-most essential aspect of language learning. Conventional ways of language teaching and learning have usually relied on classroom teaching and textbook lessons. Video coaching and e-learning were later thrown into the mix. Education websites also grew to meet the needs of students. All these new additions were particularly helpful for language learners, since the domain of foreign language learning has found immense assistance in audio-visual aid. Language tutorial videos, flashcards, online dictionaries and other such material has made vocabulary building easier, more effective and hassle-free.
Then came the concept of smartphones. With the boom in the smartphone market, the domain of language learning got a facelift. Smartphone apps joined the fray. Teachers started making use of learning apps while instructing and students started using them as well. You can have an entire suite of applications to improve productivity while teaching.
Language Learning Apps
Language learning apps provide not only vocabulary databases, but also pronunciation guides, subtitled videos, podcasts, word cards and a range of audio-visual and other tools to enhance learning. These phone apps make for a learning system that not only strengthen vocabulary, but also ensure proper pronunciation and spelling skills. Some of these apps are:
- Busuu: Scott McGinn, an ESL teacher, swears by English learning apps to instruct his students. “They are a great way to make foreign students understand colloquialisms and phrases used by native English speakers”, he says. His favorite is Busuu, a popular app that uses rewards, achievements and trivia to put the spark back into learning. It offers a social feature that allows the student to interact with native speakers online.
- Duolingo: Duolingo uses crowdsourcing to provide users with the option to translate content with their new learning. Gamification has been gaining popularity in the learning scene and Duolingo makes clever use of it. Higher scores unlock further lessons and progress is tracked.
- Mental Case (iOS) and AnkiDroid (Android): Many new apps use flash cards to help students remember and practice lessons. In fact, there are whole flash card apps, such as Mental Case (iOS) and AnkiDroid (Android). Stacey O’Connell, who makes tutorial videos for language students, says, “I believe that flash cards go a long way as a teaching tool. The best thing about them is that they can be used independently by students as well.”
Classroom Managing Apps
Often, foreign language classrooms tend to turn chaotic and noisy owing to miscommunication and language barriers. Quite a few smartphone apps address this issue. The following are two of these:
- Socrative: This app is designed like an interactive whiteboard. Kevin Gladden, a high school level language teacher, has this to say about Socrative, “It allows me to run education games for the class. My students can answer multiple-choice, short-answer type and quiz questions.” The results are then displayed as bar graphs. Kevin exports the results as reports.
- Teacherkit: Another handy app Kevin recommends is Teacherkit. This efficient classroom managing app is practically a personal organizer. Teachers can use it to create name rolls, take attendance, track behavior of students, and organize student data.
Lesson Planning and Organizing Apps
Then there are also smartphone apps that help teachers in building teaching modules, planning lessons and organizing notes, documents, student data, bookmarks and other teaching aid. Evernote is the juggernaut in this range of apps. Not much needs to be said about what it does, since most smartphone users already know. Dropbox, another favorite, makes efficient use of cloud storage. It allows the user to save all documents, multimedia files, notes, and bookmarks in one place, and securely.
There is no end to the number of things you can do with smartphone apps. Start exploring (if you haven’t already) and make your students aware of the efficacy of these apps in learning. Language learning will therefore also turn into more of a fun activity and the boredom will take a backseat. What more could a teacher want?
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