Lockdown again 😦
Here’s a handout I gave to learners for self-study over Christmas. Might be useful now seeing as we’re going back to online learning. Ha, not as a handout obvs… Just the image!
Let it gooooo, let it gooooo!
Now that’s out of my system, here’s a review of ELSA Speak. It’s an app that teaches you to ‘pronounce English like an American through real-world conversations’. It’s a great use of AI in language learning – it really is amazing what some of these apps can do now!
With ELSA Speak you can work through a wide range of activities which mainly focus on the individual sounds of English. Most activities involve recording yourself saying a word or phrase. The phrases are topic related (introductions, family, business, food and drink, etc) so not only can you improve your pronunciation, you can also learn phrases that are relevant to your own context.
You can choose the skill (sounds) you’re interested in. A bulk of the activities involve recording phrases like the one above. (more…)
Students often ask me if I know any good websites and apps for learning English. There are a fair few websites I recommend, and this list is always growing (note: the latest edition is TubeQuizard). Apps though? Er…
Feeling ignorant, and especially ignorant when it comes to the British Council’s own products, I’ve spent this week downloading our apps and testing them out. Honestly, some are great. Some are a bit limited or a bit outdated, but I’ve certainly found some gems. Here’s my take on the best and the rest.
Disclaimer: all views are my own. All screen shots from my phone are (I guess) copyright British Council.
The young learner apps from the British Council are by far the most engaging, as you might expect!
Learning Time with Timmy
Cost: £2.99, or £6.99 for Timmy 1, 2 and 3
This is a really fun app for very young learners. Timmy the Sheep guides learners through three different games to help them learn basic vocabulary (transport, objects, animals, etc) and numbers. With each complete level they unlock a sticker or a short video clip.
This is the ‘put stuff in a box’ game. There’s also a ‘pop the balloon’ one and a ‘find something in the mud/under the leaves’ one! Overall, loads of swiping, pressing, dragging, etc. Very interactive, as you’d expect for VYLs. Also it’s visually great. My favourite feature is the sticker boards. You can decorate various scenes with the stickers you win.
The app in a few words: Well worth the money
I’ve been using Quizlet in class for a while. This term I’m getting to grips with it a bit more as part of a project for my MA.
Quizlet is a site which allows you to create your own online flashcards and games all for free. It’s really easy to pick up for both teachers and learners. Here’s what learners can do with it:
Flashcards – Learners can revise words from a lesson using digital flashcards made by the teacher. Flashcards can be words + meanings or words + images. You could also make question and answer cards. Students could also make their own flashcards if they want.
Learn – Read the meaning/look at the image and type the correct word
Spell – Type the target word you hear
Test – An auto-generated mix of written, multiple choice, and true and false questions based on the vocabulary set
Match/Gravity – a couple of games using the vocab set. Match works well on an interactive whiteboard
Live – play a live game with multiple participants
Newsmart is a platform designed to help learners improve their Business English. It provides language learning experiences based on news content from Wall Street Journal. Learners can develop their grammar, vocabulary and comprehension skills by reading any of the six new articles published daily. Articles cover topics related to business, finance, technology and work-based culture, and appear in either text or video form. The platform is gamified, giving points and badges for task completion/success, and the chance to climb a leader board. (more…)