'the htc hero android phone on trial, it ain't no iphone.' photo (c) 2010, Phil Campbell - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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.

Lingua.ly Launches App ELLs Might Like

Duolingo Gets A Whole Lot Better…

Teaching tips: How students can use their mobile phones to learn English is from The British Council.

Speaking Pal is a mobile app that “Interact with a virtual video tutor in short fun dialogs on your mobile and get instant pronunciation feedback. A natural speaking experience powered by Speech Recognition technology and innovative scoring logic.” I haven’t tried it yet, but it does have quite a few positive reviews.

English Central, one of my, and my students’, favorite online English language-learning sites, has just unveiled a free mobile app.

The New York Times has published the above video along with an article reviewing apps useful for English Language Learners.

It’s titled English Grammar Aids for Both Native Speakers and Students.

English Grammar Activities App Helps Students Learn Grammar Rules appeared in Edudemic.

Beelinguapp looks like a potentially very useful app. It shows you the text of a book/story in the target language and the home language, and reads the target language to you as both sentences are highlighted. I like the concept a lot. It’s an electronic version of what I do with my adolescent ELLs now – provide them with a high-interest book in English and another copy in their home language – they read the English version with the home language copy also open. I’ll certainly encourage my students to download the app after Winter Break. Unfortunately, though, the app’s library seems pretty limited at the moment and, though it has free “books,” it seems pretty expensive to buy new ones.

Voice Tube looks sort of like a not-as-sophisticated English Central, though I don’t mean that as an insult. It has a limited collection of videos, but seems to have several, though not all, of the features at English Central. Nik Peachey writes about it here. It’s web-based, but also has phone apps,

Also, check out this older list:

The Best Tablet & Smartphone Apps For English Language Learners

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).