Vocaroo is the easiest voice recording tool that the internet offers and what’s more it is free, but it is only available for Android phones, laptops/Macbooks and desktop computers. Vocaroo is not the only easy voice recording app available, apple users have iTalk Recorder which is not free, but is extremely easy to use and guarantees quality recordings and easy sharing which appears to be a problem with Vocaroo. Press the big red button to record and press it again to stop. Recordings can also be appended to existing recordings.
I have used voice recordings in class to create short role-plays, adverts, audio guides for museums, monuments, cities and countries, and creating narratives. The recording is a personal record for the learners of their proficiency and can later be evaluated for pronunciation and the paralinguistic features of speech.
Goodreads is a social network app for iOS (iPhone + iPad), Mac OSX, Windows, Windows Phone, Android & Kindle. Goodreads encourages users to rate books, read recommendations from other users, and catalogue books into read, currently reading and to be read. Goodreads helps learners to find new and interesting book titles by browsing personalised recommendations based on books they have already read, their tastes or a particular genre.
Goodreads is also a great way to encourage learners to write in English and comment on other users’ comments and be exposed to a wide audience that they can interact with about books and suggestions.
I have used Mindmeister in class with low-level learners to create mind maps of lexis on their iPads, iPhones, and Android Phones, when brainstorming ideas for a new topic. Mindmeister creates a tidy mind map that can be saved and referred to out of class, enabling students to review new vocabulary. Learners can personalise their mind maps or create collaborative maps that they share.
With Cambridge exam classes I have encouraged students to use Mindmeister to organise their ideas when writing plans for their essays, reports, proposals, articles, and letters. We have also created a model mind map for the plans as a collaborative task using an iPad which was later shared amongst all the learners.
Anki is a flashcard app for iOS (iPhone + iPad), Mac OSX, Windows, Windows Phone, Android & Kindle. Personalised multimedia flashcards with sound, text and images can be created, or the ready-made flashcards can be used to test and learn vocabulary. Once the flashcards are uploaded, you can practice your vocabulary and monitor your progress. Anki is particularly effective for visual learners and makes remembering things fun and easy while on the move or at home.
Gaming is becoming ubiquitous with language learning, and many enthusiasts are sharing their ideas and reflections on their blogs, like Graham Stanley (https://gamifyingelt.wordpress.com/) and Paul Driver (http://digitaldebris.info/).
Scribblenauts is not a explicitly a language learning app, but you can create items by typing them on the screen, and they appear, so in a sense it is very appropriate as an app to learn and practice English by gamifying the learning.
The idea behind Scribblnauts is that you create a super hero or super villain persona, and use the power of your imagination to create objects that are used to solve puzzles.
Available for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android Phone and Windows Phone.
Where would we all be without WhatsApp? Free real time messaging to anywhere in the world as long as you have a wifi connection or mobile data for your phone.
Whatsapp also enables a range of multimedia learning opportunities. Just as we all have many images stored on our phones, they can be shared and used as a discussion topic ranging from an object or picture that personifies the learner, or a description of a scene. Video clips can also be shared in the same way and used as a building block for discussions, script writing, pre and post clip imaginative writing exercises and text itself can also be shared.
Available for iPhone, Android and Window Phones.
Memrise is particularly appealing to visual learners, because the learning is realised through the use of static image flashcards, audio and drilling the lexis and language chunks. Although the learners become prosumers, as they create and use the visual learning content to build their own multimedia vocabulary and/or set phrases, the language chunks are selected by Memrise. Learners are encouraged to upload their own ‘Mem’s” therefore personalising their learning experience to a certain extent. A good way to engage with English while on the go, with the option of competing against other learners too.
Available for iPod Touch, iPad, iPhone, Android Phones, Windows Phones and desktop computers.
The Evernote app enables the user to store handwritten notes, clips of web articles photos and images on iPads, iPhones, Android Phones, and Windows phones with the objective of creating a digital workspace that can be accessed from the device you own by syncing between. This way information can be stored and used on iPads, iPhones, Android Phones and Windows phones for use while on the move or in the study space. It also allows learners to make presentations using by selecting the presentation option, which will transform the notes into a presentation automatically.
Available for iPad, iPhone, Windows Phones, Android Phones
Adobe Reader makes reading fun and colourful.
Functions include highlighting text, striking through, underlining, adding typed text, writing or drawing anywhere on the document, and adding a personlised signature.
I use this app regularly on my iPad to make notes and highlight key points in articles, and I have used it for writing notes on scanned student assignments, so it is as equally useful for learners and teachers.
Available for Mac, Android and Windows portable devices, and desktop computers.