How do mobile apps help you to learn English better?

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internet-application-vector_23-2147495404Years ago, I had a really hardworking student in one of my business classes. He was trying to finish every task assigned and  not to miss any lessons. He was in my beginner class but he knew a lot of words and tried hard to use them. He used to ask for more resources, so he could practice at home. More photocopies, more ebooks, more audio, more and more. Also, he was showing me his resources which he got from the internet or some other teachers. Then I realized that he was collecting all these resources and studying the same level again and again. He didn’t have a way to use them systematically.  Last month, I saw him again after two years and felt sad when I learned that he is still in pre-intermediate level. I got upset because when we studied for the last time, he was about to start pre-intermediate level.

Most of us are like my old student; we collect so many materials that it makes us assume we have all information they offer. Like having libraries of books at your home, which you don’t read but like to keep.

Unfortunately, it is really difficult to reach targets without having a pproach or a systematic way.

Today, it’s much easier to get all those resources and more. Mobile applications are one of the practical ways to improve your skills and keep your English up-to-date.

In this blog post, you will find some suggested apps to improve your English and some tips to use them efficiently.

  • Tip 1: Don’t Download Everything

Yes, it’s not a good idea to download every app you see. You shouldn’t let your mobile phone or tablet turn into apps graveyard. Before downloading, read reviews, watch promotional videos of them and then decide if they are going to be helpful or not.

  • Tip 2: Make a Plan and Set Targets

Don’t consider that you will learn easily and quickly by just downloading those apps. You need to use them regularly. So, make a plan, decide how much time you can spend on them every day. Try to stick to your plan.

  • Tip 3: Use a Reminder

We clearly study better when someone or something reminds our duties.There are also some apps for this. But you can simply use your mobile devices reminders, too. Don’t forget; we work better when we are nudged.

  • Tip 4: Prepare Checklists

When you download a new app, learn what you can do with that. Decide how often you can practice with it.  Then, define your targets, and try to stick to your plan.

  • Tip 5: Switch the Apps Time to Time

You can’t get better by just studying grammar or watching videos. You need to read or study vocabulary or listen and repeat the audio resources. Use different apps and resources without exaggerating the number of them.

  • Tip 6: Use the Old Learning Habit

Learning by listening or watching is a new way for most of us. We still feel better when we write new things down and review them time to time. So, use this way, it can be old but not useless at all. When you hear or see new words on those apps, write them down to your small notebooks. Keep checking them regularly.

  • Tip 7: Don’t Give Up

If you think that you can’t learn with that app, don’t give up learning, give up that application. There are hundreds of apps and websites and ways out there. Try them till you find your way.

mobile-apps

practice english grammar

This app is for basic and advanced learners on iPhones, iPads, Android and Kindle Fire. You can find grammar quizzes, flashcards, learning games and grammar articles.

http://www.practiceenglishgrammar.com

 

downloadThis app was created by DS&T Modern English Studio. They have apps for all levels for android and also iOS users. Some of them are free, but you have to buy some lessons in some of them.

There are video lessons, practice sections, tests and you have a workbook tests after each lesson.

Check their apps in Google Store and Appstore

imagesListen & Speak is an android app that uses an advanced learning technique where short language patterns are read, understood, and pronounced in sequence. The application then analyzes your pronunciation, telling you how well you have done.

 

uk_grammar_app_icon_rndcrn_144British Council offers a lot of learning materials on its web page and with its free apps, it can help you more.

Check this page to reach all their apps.

 

600 english grmmar tasks

This grammar test is a good way to improve your English grammar knowledge. Stunning minimalist design and clear user interface make it easy to test your English language skills.
This English Grammar Test app is perfect for pre-intermediate level. Available for both platforms; http://sevenlynx.com/

 

elevateActually, Elevate is not an app designed for language learners. It is a personal brain trainer which aims to improve your overall cognitive ability.It offers games which are classified according to four categories: reading, speaking, listening, and writing. It can be suitable for intermediate and above.  Available for both platforms; http://elevateapp.com/

voa wordbook

The Mobile Wordbook app is available free through the iTunes app store and Google play store  and has about 1,000 entries from the VOA Learning English wordbook.  It helps users build their vocabulary by hearing how words are pronounced and used, and seeing images that make the meaning clear.

Please share ‘your’ favourite apps below and tell us why you like them.

You can reach old entries posted under Apps category here; https://englishinlife.wordpress.com/category/apps/ 

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Vocabulary Games For A1&A2 Levels

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vocabulary games

After a long break, I am happy to share my new games with you. There are eight vocabulary quizzes for elementary and pre-intermediate levels. I usually chose the topics for the games according to the levels I worked with. Lately, I have had a lot of A1 and A2 levels. It gave me the chance to test the games before publishing them here.

I hope you enjoy them as much as my students do.

imagesThese games are created with Articulate Storyline. It is possible to open them on your ipad or android devices if you download free Articulate Player application. So, you can keep them on your devices and use them anywhere anytime without internet connection. iPhone users, unfortunately, can only use them online. Here are the links for the Articulate Player;

Appstore      Google Play

Clothing 1

Clothing 2 

Feelings

Verb Noun Collocations

Chores 1

Chores 2

Fashion Vocabulary

Holiday Vocabulary 

 More Games

 

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linguistadores

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By the help of the internet, learners experience the authentic language more and more. We study basic grammar topics in the class, but my students try to read newspapers and watch films in English when they are out of the class. Naturally, it doesn’t help a lot as they don’t do this in a systematic way like choosing the suitable materials, writing unknown words down, studying these words. There are some websites which can solve this problem by offering short and interesting authentic materials in a systematic way.

linguistadoresLinguistadores is one of them. You can read news, listen to music with lyrics and watch videos with subtitles according to your language level. You can learn meanings of unknown words with a simple double-click without leaving the site. It offers a lot of reading and video resources.

With Linguistadores, you can practice English, Spanish, French, German and Dutch.

You can watch a video to see the services;

It has basic (free) and premium membership options. When you have a premium account, it is possible to reach more resources.

Give it a try.

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Serious stories for serious learners

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43349As a bookworm, I can’t resist the temptation of a good story. Since my childhood, reading has been one my favorite activities. When I realized that knowing English gives you a big opportunity to reach more stories, I became more interested in learning it.

In my teaching, as well as in my life, I give a big importance to  literature. It wouldn’t be real if I said most of my students shared the same interest with me. However, I do believe that there are learners who want more than coursebook texts and level story books offer, who would like to read real literature works.

So, why use these original stories to improve our English?

Literary texts are authentic materials which encourage interaction and expand language awareness.

Literature educates the whole person. By examining values in literary texts, learners can develop attitudes towards them. These values and attitudes relate to the world outside the classroom.

Literature is motivating. Learners can feel a real sense of achievement at understanding a piece of highly respected literature. (Lindsay Clandfield – onestopenglish.com)

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Reading makes you more beautiful! Doesn’t Marilyn seem more beautiful while reading?

With this post, I would like to suggest four classical books which are among my favorites. You can read them online or print for educational use. Before reading, it is possible to watch the animated summary videos to have a detailed idea about them.  I have to warn as there are a lot of spoilers in the videos.

Read  1984 online (free)


Read A Tale of Two Cities online (free)


Read Brave New World online (free)


Read Of Mice and Men online (free)

For Teachers

Teaching materials: using literature in the EFL/ ESL classroom

 

 

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Stories To Improve English!

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07084#p151Who doesn’t like listening to a good story? What about reading a good one?

I see that reading in English is not as popular as watching and listening. Actually, some of my students give more importance to grammar. As a result, most of them are really successful on grammar exercises. But when it comes to writing, they do the same kind of mistakes over and over. They express their ideas with limited words. I do believe that reading can be a really helpful way to get over it.

As long as you read,

  • it will enhance your vocabulary knowledge by seeing their different usages in context,
  • you usually learn grammatical English naturally,
  • you can read as fast or as slowly as you like,
  • it will give you a chance to know useful and interesting information about the world you live in.

What should we read?

It is totally up to you, but children stories can be a nice start as they have fewer advanced words and grammatical structures. Also, it is highly probable that you have heard or read them in your own language. As you don’t have to check unknown words all the time, you can enjoy reading itself.

But if you like to read on your computer or mobile devices, here is a short list for you;

storynoryA large collection of free audio stories for kids. Listen to fairy tales, myths and legends, classics and original stories.  It is possible to read and also download audio files of the stories.If you want, you can listen to the stories on your mobile devices. (iOS only) 

storylineonline

You can listen and watch professional actors reading notable children’s books and get the extending supplemental activities for each book co-developed by an early literacy specialist. Content is available online 24/7 free of charge. Don’t you want to listen to a story read by Betty White?

 

kidsworldfun

 

There are hundreds of moral stories. They are short and easy to read. They are for children but don’t assume that they are very easy to read. I’m sure you will check some words and phrases time to time.

 

 


 

If you think that these stories are not your cup of tea, and very easy for you, here is a second list for more serious readers.

headera

Don’t you want to know something more about the USA? Folk tales and urban legends can tell you a lot about it. There are some funny, scary and interesting stories which were not simplified for learners. Open your dictionaries and ready to learn them.

englishclub

If you are fond of literacy, there are three short stories in British English includes vocabulary help, vocabulary quiz, comprehension quiz.

News Websites for Learners

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watch and read I watch TV series in English and I read news in English.

These are the most common answers that I hear when I ask my students what they do to improve their English. I think it is a good thing that they get familiar with the authentic language. However, both ways are not as helpful as they think. Because they aren’t ready to understand these authentic materials’ complexity.

Learners often try to process what they read piece by piece and this can greatly inhibit their efforts at getting even a general understanding of a newspaper article. They tend to read each sentence, two or three times to process it and this approach obviously increases in complexity as they continue reading the article. Each time they meet more information, it is added to what has already been read, and this brings about a re-structuring of the whole, which may require the student to return to something they have already read to clarify the new sentence.(Brendan Daly / the Internet TESL Journal, Vol. X, No. 7, July 2004)

To be honest, I’m not sure that my students reread those long news stories or find the unknown words to understand the story better. But, as a responsible teacher, I think I should make the things easier for them if they enjoy doing this activity. With this post, I’d like to suggest some news web sites and apps designed for English Language Learners.   224237v2-max-250x250Newsinlevels provides students of English with news articles in graded skill levels. Each article is available in three levels with audio resources. Possible unknown words are given below the article, which makes reading easier. Also, it has an application which can be used in both platforms.     Google Play    App store

logoVOA Learn English This news web page is a bit more serious than the first one. There are also three levels in here, but it doesn’t give the same story in different levels. There are different stories in each level. It is possible to watch video news with subtitles ready for learners and  download audio files to listen later.

newsmart looNewsmart can be really useful for learners at higher levels and Business English classes. It gives you points and badges as long as you keep reading and doing the exercises. Creators of Newsmart know how to use gamification, I think. 6a00d8341d417153ef01053580e392970cBreaking News English This web page offers you more than reading. There are reading, vocabulary and grammar activities. You can do them online or download pdf and audio files. It is possible to read same story in different levels.


For Teachers;

Here are  some techniques for using newspaper articles and news videos in ESL/EFL classes;

How to Effectively Use News Articles in the EFL Classroom

Using CNN News Video in the EFL Classroom

Teaching materials: using newspapers in the classroom 

Using TV News to Integrate the Four Skills: A Guide for EFL Teachers

 

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10 New Games for ESL

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I’m trying to suggest extra materials and tools to practice English via this blog. I usually try to share authentic materials which aren’t filtered for learners. Also, there is a page to do some online quiz games which I love to create with Articulate Storyline. I use these games in my lessons to review the topics which we study, and I really like to share them in this blog with other learners and teachers.

There are 10 new games for grammar and vocabulary review. You can find more games on Online Activities page.

imagesThese games are created with Articulate Storyline. It is possible to open them on your ipad or android devices if you download free Articulate Player application. So you can keep them on your devices and use them anywhere anytime without internet connection. iPhone users, unfortunately, can only use them online. Here are the links for the Articulate Player;

Appstore      Google Play


 

games for esl

Who is telling the truth? (A1)

Have to vs. Want to  (A1)

Find the Mistake! (A1)

Which One is Extra? (A2)

Past Simple or Past Continuous (A2)

Confusing Words (A2)

Adjective + Preposition (A2)

Passive Voice (B1)

Gerund or Infinitive (B2)

Common Phrasal Verbs (B2)

 

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