Tips for Teachers and Classroom Resources

iPad Apps for English Language Learners

By The Editorial Team

As many teachers know, communicative language learning is where the rubber meets the road as far as students learning a new language is concerned.

The basis of communicative language learning is that it moves beyond the simple mechanics of language and into the everyday reality of communicating in a new language. With the accessibility of powerful new mobile technology, this process of learning a new language is becoming easier.

One of the most powerful mobile learning tools around is Apple’s iPad. Let’s take a look at four free or low-cost iPad apps that aid in communicative language learning for English language learners.

  • Dragon Dictation. This program is a simple tool, and the mobile app version is free for iPad. Dragon Dictation lets a student talk into the iPad, and the app translates the student’s speech into text. From there, the student is able to edit and review the text after it has been copied into the application. This allows English language learners to speak words into the Dragon Dictation app to see how it looks on “paper.”
  •  Newsy. This free iPad app allows English language learners an opportunity to engage with English language news stories. According to the app’s website, it’s the only application of its kind that lets users compare multiple news stories from multiple news sources from around the world.
  • Skype. This is among the most popular communication applications for any mobile device.  Skype lets students communicate with other Skype users from around the world in real time using video or audio. More specifically to the English language-learning environment, Skype allows students to learn how to speak with other English-speaking Skype users from around the world to improve their communicative skills.
  • Speak It! While not totally free – Speak It! cost $1.99 in the iTunes app store – it is an affordable and easy way to aid students in their English language-learning path.  Speak It! lets users type English words into the app, then the app speaks the text back to the user. This is an incredibly helpful tool for English language learning students as it helps them easily identify key English words and phrases on their own. It offers a pathway for self-education and discovery within the context of an iPad application.

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