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The Best Mobile Apps For English Language Learners


'the htc hero android phone on trial, it ain't no iphone.' photo (c) 2010, Phil Campbell - license:

I’ve been putting some effort this year into thinking how to encourage my English Language Learner students, particularly Beginners, to make language-learning a part of their entire day — not just the time they are in school or doing homework.

I’ve written about one attempt at Having English Language Learners Use Cellphones To Identify High-Interest Vocabulary.

And I definitely encourage them to use various online tools at home — if they have an Internet connection.

I’ve also been paying some attention to mobile apps — most of my students now have some kind of smartphone (always Android — an iPhone is just too expensive for them). Just as many of us use apps when we have a little time to “kill,” I figure students are often in the same position.

The issue, though, is identifying apps that are engaging enough for them to want to use it.

Duolingo seems to fit the bill, and is on The Best Sites For Learning Spanish Online and to The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Learning English. It’s rapidly expanding its offerings, and has been praised in the media a lot recently.

My students have recently downloaded it, and seem to like it a lot.

The British Council, of course, has some nice apps.

And Android Authority put together a decent list over a year ago.

Mobile learning: How students can improve their English anytime, anywhere is from The British Council. Launches App ELLs Might Like

What free mobile apps have you found ELLs to like, and be useful? I’ll add them to this list…. (I’m primarily looking for apps that students can download for their use outside of school, but would also love to hear about others, too).

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Hi Larry,
    Sorry if this post gets to you twice but I’m not sure if it got through the first time.
    Why don’t you check out – a service for learners I’ve just launched. It’s predominantly for language learners and it is also available in two free mobile apps: for iOS and Android.
    Hope you like it.
    Ray Sawka

  2. Try award-winning @SpeakingPal for a unique focus on the #English #speaking skill. The learner talks with a video character on his/her mobile and gets instant feedback on how all words and sentences were pronounced. Winner of SXSWedu 2013! Very interactive and engaging learning experience that uses automatic #speech recognition with proprietary scoring logic.

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