Mobile learning (m-learning) has been recognized as one of the main additions to the process of learning and teaching a new language. Currently, there are dozens of language learning apps in the App Store (iOS) and Play Store (Android) markets. They interact with ESL students through quizzes, games, dictionaries, podcasts and tests. This enables students to choose when and how to learn: 30 seconds or 30 minutes, at home or on the go. Equally, lecturers can now incorporate the “gamification” element into their teaching, thus raising the interest of the class for a given topic.
In order to help you find an engaging application that best suits your English language level, we have examined a number of apps just to select a few that will turn your mobile device into a personal 24/7 English language teacher.
The top rated dictionary app with trusted reference content from dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com.
Contains search, favourites and audible pronunciations. Curiosity goes one step further when you can see what words are being searched for in your geographical area. The dictionary contains over two million definitions, synonyms and antonyms and allows offline access – no internet connection needed for most content. (App & Play Store, FREE)
English Grammar in Use
The application is based on the world’s best-selling grammar book by Raymond Murphy. Here you will find a massive bundle of fun grammar activities with imagery and sound, written especially for intermediate learners of English. More than two thousand questions, phrases spoken aloud, and an option to tap a word for its definition. (App & Play Store, $9.99 / £5.99)
Is your vocabulary big enough to save poor Stickman? Hangman is a well-known animated word puzzle game containing standard English words as well as IELTS and TOEFL vocabulary. Application supports two-player mode, allowing opponents to choose a word for each other. It’s a right-on boredom killer. (App & Play Store, FREE)
Practice all areas of English grammar with 10 unique activity types, and build your understanding of the essentials of English. The application features content at four main levels: Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced. The questions use unique activity types such as multiple choices or labelling; they are delivered to you in text, image or audio format. It is a very nice app with plenty of language practice and downloadable content. (App & Play Store, FREE)
Johnny Grammar’s Quizmaster
Johnny is a top rated English language quiz highly recommended for all ESL students. Test yourself against expert Johnny Grammar. Answer all three levels of grammar questions or compete in a quiz on the 1000 most commonly misspelled words in English. (Play Store, FREE)
60-Second Word Challenge
60-Second is a vocabulary quiz challenge with 10 common topics such as Film & TV, Travel, Small Talk, etc. It has 600 questions with feedback provided on wrong answers to enhance your learning. You can’t get any faster than learning English in just one minute. (App & Play Store, FREE)
Mobile Air Mouse
A useful app for techy and creative lecturers. It instantly transforms a mobile device into a wireless remote for the classroom computer. This means that once you have the free software installed on the main computer in your classroom, you can present Power Point or allow students that have Air Mouse on their mobile devices to take control of the computer. That allows them to write or draw on the board and interact with the learning material without leaving their seats. (App & Play Store, FREE)
Big City Small World is another British Council audio soap for learners of English. In this audio soap set in London, a group of young people from around the world share their lives over a cup of coffee. The application consists of 48 episodes to listen to, with a tapescript to read while you listen. (App & Play Store, FREE)
Anki is a program which makes remembering things easy. It is a flashcard genre where the card with a phrase or word is presented, while there’s a translation, picture or sound file on the reverse. Best used for learning new words or phrases. Besides helping you improve your linguistic skills and prepare you for a variety of qualification tests, Anki will also help you memorize lines like never before. (App & Play Store, FREE)
English Idioms Illustrated
What is the meaning of English idioms and where do they come from? To find out, join Professor Potts. Discover the secret history of over 160 beautifully illustrated English idioms, from “Achilles’ heel” and “Wrong side of the bed” to “Jump on the bandwagon”. (App Store, FREE)
These are only a few applications out of hundreds available out there. If you have tried a great application which is not listed here, please feel free to recommend it in the comments below!