Mobile Apps for Grades 10-12

Mobile Apps for a Spanish Classroom

Since I am hoping to be a High School Spanish teacher I have researched some Apps that I could use in my Spanish Classroom to help my students learn the Spanish Language.

Duolingo

Duolingo is available online, for iOS and Android. One of the great things about Duolingo is that it is free and there are no annoying popups! Aside from learning Spanish, they also offer French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Danish, Irish for English speakers as well as English for non-English speakers. Duolingo is split into units that each have a certain theme and it is designed so each one goes up in difficulty. What makes it different is that it is not grammar intensive and there are no grammar lessons throughout the app. Each unit is split into various quizzes or sub-units of about 15-20 questions each. There questions vary from listening, speaking, writing, translating from English to Spanish, translating from Spanish to English, matching a word to an image, multiple choice and rearranging words to form a sentence. Since Duolingo doesn't teach grammar if you have no prior knowledge of the language it makes it tougher to gain proficiency if you are not willing to commit some time to it everyday as you suffer from word loss overtime. In a classroom this would be a good way to have beginner Spanish learners practice what has been learnt in class outside of the classroom. Since it is designed to go up in difficulty it follows the curriculum quite well. Also if students dedicate 20 minutes to it everyday it will take them about 3-4 months to finish all of the lessons and learn 1500 commonly used Spanish words.


Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone is available online, for iOS and Android and the demo version is free. The cool thing about Rosetta Stone is that it teaches you Spanish through Spanish. Everything is in Spanish with zero English translations. It is designed to be an immersive way to learn a language; the same way you would if you were a child learning your L1. One of the coolest things about Rosetta Stone is that you can schedule lessons with a live tutor every other lesson and that way you get to practice talking to a native speaker. On the other hand with the app you are only getting the demo version which won't help you advance very far in your Spanish learning. There is always the option of investing hundreds of dollars for the full version of Rosetta Stone which if completed will get you to a near-native fluency level. Due to the price tag this is probably not something I would use in my classroom, but it could be something I inform my students of in case they want to take their learning into their own hands and really advance in their learning of Spanish.  

FluentU

FluentU is available online and for iOS. When you sign up your first month is free afterwards you can pay $8/month for a basic account or $18/month for a premium account. What makes FluentU unique is that it takes real-would videos such as music videos, commercials, and news and turns them into a language learning experience. You can choose videos on various topics that interest you such as TV shows, movies, sports, etc. All the videos have interactive transcripts where you can tap on any word to look it up or you could also add it to a vocabulary list to reference later. There are also quizzes for the videos to help you learn all of the vocabulary. This app even keeps track of the vocabulary that you've learned and recommends videos based on the words you've already learned. I feel like this app would be great to use with audio-visual learners and help my students have an integrated experience with Spanish culture.

MindSnacks

MindSnacks is only available on iOS and is $4.99 to download. Since the app is actually designed for children to learn Spanish all of the graphics are also tailored for young children. Depending on the students I teach they might enjoy it due to the bright colors or they might think it's too juvenile. MindSnacks treats learning Spanish as a game instead of teaching phrases and grammar. On the homepage there are nine games that are each based on content that is centered on a certain theme. It is definitely a good app to review what has been learned in class in a fun and interactive way. I would recommend it to my students as a fun way to study for quizzes and tests.

Memrise

Memrise is available online, for iOS and Android and it's free! What is unique about Memrise is that it's sole purpose is to help you memorize Spanish words. There are various modules such as "Learn Basic Mexican" and "Advanced Spanish" and each module is divided into lessons. Each lesson typically helps you learn 15 words. With such an app you'd expect rote repetition but Memrise uses what they call a "science-based learning technique" that brings learning to life with little snippets of imagination and humour that make things easy to remember. I would recommend it to my students who have trouble memorizing vocabulary as well as incorporate some of their methodology into my own lessons.

Babbel

Babbel is available online, for iOS and Android. Registration to Babbel and the first lesson in every course are free but access to full courses are $6.95-$12.95 per month. Unlike some of the other apps Babbel's lessons first focus on building basic conversational skills. Babbel is similar to Duolingo but it offers some grammar lessons in between lessons at times. This is probably not an app I would use in my class but one I could inform my students about in case they were motivated to learn outside of the classroom.

Conjugation Nation Spanish

Conjugation Nation Spanish is available from iOS and is $2.99 to download. Learning verb conjugations is never fun but this app helps make it bearable. You can customize it to focus on a specific tense, specific pronouns and irregular or regular verbs. I can see this being a very useful tool in my classroom when much of the Spanish course is focused on learning verb conjugations and memorizing irregularities and exceptions to rules.

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