This has been the year of technology, it seems, from Olympic Twitter rants, to the debut of the economy Nexus 7, to the growing popularity of the Flipped Classroom. No sector of the human existence can deny the prevalence of technology in society for both work and play.
As a result, many schools are also launching initiatives to increase technology availability and use in the classroom, hoping to reach out and engage the generation of digital natives.
To help get your school year started off right, I’ve pulled together a list of the top eight iPad apps I have found useful for meeting the needs of ESL students in the classroom. Of course these iPad apps are also useful for other students, but I have tailored this list more specifically to the needs of the ESL students.
Hope you find these iPad apps another helpful resource as you prepare for the beginning of another action-packed school year!
- Simplex Phonics This app teaches more than 450 high-frequency words, available in 42 different lists, and arranged by difficulty. With each list comes a lesson teaching one of the basic building blocks of English spelling, including phonograms, sounds and spelling rules. A great practice app for both home and school.
- Word BINGO This game features play with the Dolch Word List! Students can choose from Pre Primer to third grade level on the game. There are three different modes in which students can play moving them to higher levels of difficulty as they browse the lists of sight words. This app is a fun way to practice skills that may not be so interesting otherwise.
- Sentence Builder This amazing app is designed to help elementary-aged children build grammatically correct sentences. Focus is placed on connector words that many ESL students struggle to master. The game features pictures and varied game play levels and even can be transferred to a “teenager” made from older students struggling with grammar and syntax. A must have for the ESL classroom.
- Speech Tutor This is a unique application, geared to help students learn proper sounds and pronunciation of American/English words. The app shows a person from “Side View” and “Front View” modeling each sound production, and can be viewed at three different speeds or even paused in mid-action. The app also features a palate diagram, which helps students see even where tongue placement should be. Though it is geared toward ESL students, this app would also be amazingly useful for students with speech impediments.
- Kidioms If there is one thing ESL students tend to struggle with more than anything else it is sorting out the meaning behind common phrases and idioms we often use without even realizing it. With this app, students are introduced to an idiom in a digital notebook. The app then gives students an example with a graphic. This app is perfect for meeting thebspecific needs of the ESL student while also helping them acquire vital Common Core Standard knowledge for third to fifth graders. The app includes games for practice to reinforce concepts learned.
- ESL Express: Words Frequently Confused Often, students experience difficulty when two or more words have similar sounds, therefore instruction in specific meaning and spelling is needed. This app works with students to learn the many pairs of similar English words, improving grammar and comprehension.
- Rainbow Sentences This app is another one designed to aid students with grammar skills by using color coded visual cues to help form well-structured sentences. The who, what, where and why parts of sentences are color-coded allowing students to begin recognizing patterns in sentence formation. Another great reinforcement tool for those struggling to learn the nuances of English grammar.
- Preposition Builder This app focuses on teaching students how different prepositions can alter the overall meaning of a sentence. To play the game, students drag prepositions to complete a sentence about the image viewed. The great thing about this app is, if the student chooses the wrong answer, the image and sentence change to show the student the meaning of the sentence they created. This is a powerful tool for correcting common problems ESL students have with English preposition usage. Each level of the game is part of an unfolding larger story which keeps student wanting to come back and master the skills to find out what happens. Another must have for the ESL classroom.
Have you found other great ESL classroom apps? Share them with us in our comment section!