Smartphones and tablets give students access to all types of multimedia. Mobile access to Internet services offers a virtually constant, uninterrupted connection to learning resources. Access to sound files, mobile apps, podcasts, and video files from around the globe make mobile technology ideal for any student who would like to learn to speak a foreign language through multimedia.
Without a course or program, it could be difficult for an independent learner to organize a curriculum; but what if vocabulary lessons were at your fingertips?
Mobile apps are an emerging trend in learning foreign languages. Of course, the language will determine the type of course (e.g. Learning characters of an alphabet, phonics and vocabulary). Flashcards are a well-established study tool for students on the go, and technology has adapted this format specifically for the mobile user.
Brainscape is a mobile app that has preloaded flashcards for a variety of languages. The flashcard uses both text and audio to help the learner visually identify the word as well as hear the correct pronunciation. Learners are asked to rank the card so the program can determine which flashcards need to be in the rotation most often. The free version of this app is more of a try-before-you-buy offer. More extensive decks can be purchased through the Brainscape market.
Busuu is an online community where learners can practice their foreign language skills with native speakers. In its mobile app, Busuu uses written and spoken conversation, multiple-choice questions and sentence-building exercises for lessons. Vocab lessons use audio, text and photos for a comprehensive approach to learning. The online community offers free lesson plans the chance to practice your skills with those who speak the languages best! (All for free!)
Anki is a well-respected flashcard app in the foreign language community. The app is $17.50, which might seem expensive, but the access to preloaded decks and ability to sync information between your phone and your desktop is a convenient in-depth way to learn a language. The developer of Anki describes the app as part of a larger “ecosystem” of learning.
Podcasts, or episodic series of audio files, can be downloaded and listened to at anytime. This is perfect for the learner who has passed the vocab test and is ready to move on to listening and speaking the language in full sentences. The website Openculture.com has an extensive list of free podcasts to help you learn a variety of languages.
*Once you’re ready to listen to podcasts, you will want to download a podcast manager to help keep your lessons in order.
Throughout your mobile assisted language learning experience, it is important to find a speaking partner of course, if you have a friend who speaks the language you want to learn, you can always use your phone for its original purpose – to give them a call and have a chat! (or you can video chat!)
Author info: Amanda Watson is a freelancer blogger who writes about online mba programs and other topics pertaining to online higher education. You can reach Amanda at watsonamanda.48 @gmail.com