Do your students love technology? Teach them oral language with these 7 apps.


smile-122705_640Kids these days… am I right? Technology has gotten increasingly intuitive to use, and the digital generation doesn’t miss a beat. The fantastic thing is that technology can be used in amazing ways for educational purposes. Whether you’d like an overt tool for getting students talking, or one that allows students to lower their inhibitions as they work on a school project, this list is bound to have something for you.
  • ELD Links. This is our curriculum. We know that lugging around another whole binder of teaching materials does the opposite of getting you excited about teaching. So our program is specifically designed for iPad with the busy, overworked teacher in mind. Plus, since it’s intended to develop oral academic language, it makes it easier for you to circulate the classroom, hear your students talking, and practice with them.
Beyond our curriculum, Erin Wilkey Oh has compiled 6 other apps that can help ELLs develop their classroom speaking ability. These were all new to me, but have you heard of or used any of these?
  • Kid in Story Book Maker. This app sounds AWESOME for engagement. Kids can insert themselves right into a story about a social situation, helping ELLs practice routine contexts where language is necessary.
  • Tell About This. This app sounds like a great brainstorming app, designed to start the flow of ideas and speech. It has pre-loaded prompts, and allows for custom prompts, so ELLs can start talking about whatever sparks their interest.
  • ShadowPuppet Edu. This one sounds a bit more advanced, allowing students to create videos and record narration. It sounds ideal for group work, with ELLs or with other students.
  • Toontastic. This one is presented as an “all-time favorite,” which gets my attention! It sounds like it uses a traditional comic book set-up, with panels that guide story structure, and give just enough boundaries for students to work creatively on the fun stuff. It doesn’t seem expressly designed for oral development, but it does have a recorded narration aspect.
  • VoiceThread. This one sounds a bit more advanced as well, like ShadowPuppet Edu, with the added feature of voice and video comments. This one has potential outside of projects–teachers could use it for think-alouds in place of a first draft of responses to books or other classroom content. Since classroom writing projects can sometimes feel daunting to students, this is a low-pressure way to capture their thoughts, boost their oral language, and move them along in the writing process
  • Explain Everything. This one is introduced as a “superhero version of PowerPoint.” This one also seems to sneak the oral language in, with a stronger focus on the multimedia, which also mitigates some of the pressure for ELLs.
Do you have any go-to apps or software to add to this list? What are your favorites?

Submit Your Comment