Modern foreign languages - In the spotlight

27th January 2012 at 00:00

The smart multilinguist

Use of tablets and smartphones in the classroom is a burning issue. The buzzword "MALL" (mobile-assisted language learning) reflects the recent shift away from outright bans of mobile technology in lessons to embracing it as a learning tool.

Free animation, video-editing and audio-recording tools - such as iMovie, Pocket RecordPad, GarageBand and StoryKit - can be used for creative activities. Why not record a song to practise vocabulary? Or create a short film or storyboard to practise sentence structure?

Foreign media apps can give you instant access to authentic language experiences. Die Welt, Der Spiegel and Tele 7 Jours are all available in app format, as are TF1 Vision, ARTE Radio, Liberation, Mundo Deportivo and Elmundo.es.

Beyond the creative and cultural possibilities, there is potential to use the technology as a modern language lab, with a range of apps created specifically for language learners. For students who have smart mobile devices, these can be recommended for self-study. Try free flashcards such as Levitate German or Busuu's apps available in various languages that provide a range of vocab, comprehension and review activities for beginners and lower intermediate pupils.

Alternatively, some apps focus on specific skills, such as German Conjunctive, which lists verbs and their forms.

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