Line Learner Lite

imageLine Learner Lite is an app that allows you to record a script and then, as the name suggests, learn your lines. Originally created to help actors to learn their lines, it is actually quite a useful app to use in the languages classroom. Some suggestions for use could be

  • Get students to write a script, then record their roles. Once they have recorded their lines, they can use the playback feature to rehearse and learn their role play before presenting
  • Students can use the app to prepare for oral assessment
  •  it provides another opportunity to assist students in speaking in the target language

The free version allows you to record up to 10 lines, and you are able to edit, re-record or delete a line if no longer needed. Another useful feature are the options for how the recordings can be played back, you can choose for the lines to be played back individually, or looped so that you can listen to the complete script. You also have the option to choose the auto pause function which leaves a gap of time between each line to enable the user time to repeat the line.

There is a full version also available, which allows you unlimited lines, however this is quite pricey at a cost of $4.99, and I find that the lite version has ample functionality for what I and my students require.

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Flipboard

image  Though not strictly an app to use in the languages classroom, I thought I would mention Flipboard as it is an app I use daily both for professional and personal reasons.  Flipboard takes any website, news feed, or social network and then builds them into a magazine style layout. As a user of Flipboard I have subscribed to things which I like to read, from blogs to publications and then Flipboard creates a single place for me to browse, comment on and share all the news, photos and updates that I am interested in. Once I have added content Flipboard, the app then organises the content in a graphical, magazine-like format.

I use this app constantly as it is a convenient way to for me to view all my personal and professional reading in one place. Once you have signed up, you will find FlipBoard easy to use best of it all it’s free.

Fotobabble

image I must admit I have yet to use this app in my classroom, however I can see that it has great potential in getting my students to speak in the target language.

Fotobabble is a free iphone app, that nevertheless works quite well on your ipad. It allows you to turn a picture into an audio picture story. Using Fotoabble is easy, as all you need to do is follow the onscreen prompts. Firstly, you need to upload an image into your Fotobabble. This is quite simple if you allow Fotobabble to access your camera roll. Once you have chosen an image all you need to do is press record to start recording your voice. If you are not happy with your recording, it has the function to re-record.

Some ways you can use it in your languages classroom:

  • You can get your students to comment on the photo
  • explain what’s happening in the image photo, or
  • tell a story related to an image.

This app allows students to quickly create short audio stories about pictures that either they take or images that you supply. As I said earlier I have yet to use this app, but am very keen to trial it with one of my classes. It is certainly worth considering using this free app.

Explain Everthing

image Recently I used Explain Everything to almost do a flipped classroom. A bit of background information before I begin extolling the virtues of Explain Everything. I was absent from school due to illness for 3 days and was running out of ideas and work to leave students. So rather than make up more busy work, I thought I would try using an app to record a tutorial. To do this I used Explain Everything. I was able to take photos of text I wanted to introduce to students, and then place those photos into the app. Once I did that I could then explain the text using the audio record function. For this lesson, this included introducing a new grammar construct, (Indonesian ter prefix used as a superlative) as well as explain new words and their meanings. Using the pencil tool, I was able to highlight words as I was speaking. Once completed, I was able to import my Explain Everything file as a mp4. The movie went for 11 minutes. I placed the video in the school’s shared dropbox system for easy access.

During the lesson, students were able to access the file and save onto their personal device, listen to the tutorial and then complete activities associated with the tutorial.

Sometimes it is inevitable that we need to take days off work, however it is often easier to go to school, even though you are not feeling well, because of the need to leave students work. More often than not the work I leave is busy work as it is difficult to leave language activities. With Explain Everything I felt that I was able to leave my students real work, where they actually used the class time for real learning.

After the lesson, I spoke to the teacher, who was a non language teacher, who took this class and she confirmed that all students worked well and were on task. I also spoke to the students in how they felt using an Explain Everything tutorial and their responses were very positive. So I have no hesitation in leaving an almost flipped lesson next time I need to take time off work.

Explain Everything is a very easy app to use, as well as adding images and audio you can also add video. Explain Everything is essentially an app with a whiteboard type screen that allows users to record audio, write, and move objects all while recording in real time. It allows users to annotate any object with the touch of their finger. It makes it easy for you to capture your screens and share it with virtually anyone. For a cost of $2.99 it is a must app for the classroom.

iMovie

imovie I am aware everyone has probably heard about the app iMovie and how it can be incorporated into the languages classroom.  However, when reviewing apps it would be remiss if I did not include this.  There are so many potential uses and it really is limited by your and your student’s imagination.

My students have created iMovies in the form of role plays.  That is, instead of students simply performing a role play in front of a class, in groups, students film themselves or use other apps to create avatars and then create a movie.  As part of our year 7 curriculum, students visit the Royal Melbourne Zoo where they explore the South East Asia enclosures.  Students are required to report about their day, and many students decided to take videos using their ipads to create and an iMovie.  This activity proofed to be excellent, as not only were the students engaged and immersed in the project, they also need to speak (narrate their movie), write (they needed to create a script), read (narrate their script) as well as listen (to their own voices being played back or when listening and watching other students movies) all in the target language being taught.  This really encompassed the four macro skills in learning another language. My students really enjoy using this app.

The app itself is very simple to use, however if you are unsure there are plenty of tutorials on youtube.

Whilst at bit pricier than other apps I have reviewed, at $4.99 it represents excellent value in terms of uses, versatility and creating engagement in the languages classroom.

Stick Pick

image There are times when choosing just one student at a time to talk and/or answer a question is appropriate. A novel way to pick students is by using the app Stick Pick. Stick Pick allows you to create class sets of student names, which then appear on individual icy pole sticks. When you want students to answer questions or present their work you can use Stick Pick to randomly pick student names. Once the app has chosen a name you can decide whether you want to place the stick back into the “can” to be drawn again or mark as used so the student will not be called on again until all names have been picked. If you project the app on a digital screen, you are guaranteed to have student’s full attention, as they don’t know who is going to be picked and the quite like seeing there name being selected. The other advantage is you don’t inadvertently call upon the same students time and time again.

Another feature of the app is that it contains over 140 question stems. The question stems are based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. The app allows for you to differentiate the question stems for each student based on their needs and ability levels. It was definitely worth the price of $2.99.

Appsfire

appsfire Appsfire gives you an updated daily list of free apps or apps which have had a price drop.  I have installed quite a number of paid apps for free onto my ipad, including apps such as BookComic! and Book Creator.

You can customise your search results, using the filters as well as choose and personalise app categories.

This is an excellent resource that allows you to uncover a lot of great free or low-cost apps every day.