In this post Justin Birch explores how using apps and online resources can benefit ESL students with limited resources.
From spelling to grammar to intonation, learning a new language can be difficult. With its exceptions and broad geographical influence, the English language is no different. However, times are changing. Non-native speakers of English now outnumber native speakers 3 to 1. With the enormous increase in the number of students taking on English as a Second Language (ESL), especially those with limited resources, an array of wallet-friendly apps and online resources have cropped up to make the learning process speedier and less tedious.
Apps and online resources can make learning English fun. Instead of repeating common English phrases in a classroom setting, ESL students can play games and complete exercises while learning the ins and outs of the language, even if they are far away from a real teacher or school. The Internet TESL Journal created a site comprised solely of quizzes, tests, exercises and puzzles for ESL students. With thousands of contributions from teachers, students can take advantage of exercises that suit their needs. Users are allowed to choose their level of difficulty in grammar and vocabulary quizzes, and even crossword puzzles. In addition, the site offers a range of podcasts and YouTube videos, including those that allow students to listen and read along. For the technology savvy, the site is also accessible from the iPhone and the iPod Touch.
Though ESL classes can be extremely beneficial, they can also focus solely on the basics. Online resources and apps can supplement basic skills to allow students to learn slang and idioms. This creates more natural sounding dialogue and allows the student to better understand phrases and terms that aren’t available in a dictionary. Sites like ManyThings.org, not only feature games, quizzes, exercises, and vocabulary words, but also a collection of slang terms, English songs, proverbs, jokes, and American stories. Podcasts such as the Learn a Song Podcast, Jokes in English, and Listen and Repeat Podcast can also be fun ways to not only learn the language, but soak up the culture as well.