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Will iPad 3 Change Your Language Learning?

Everybody’s looking forward to it. Well, if you’re not, you may start checking out iPad 3 rumours right now – there’s something in each generation of tablets that language learners can find very useful. But just because it’s there, does it mean it must be useful for every language learner? Read on and answer this question for yourself.

1. It’s the apps, stupid!

Every smartphone and tablet device is only as useful as the apps that can be installed on it. It goes without saying that these little programs are what makes every tablet unique. An iPad in an accountant’s hands will work differently than an iPad of a language learner.

There are plenty of apps in Apple’s App Store, and many of them are especially useful for future polyglots. Making sure that your new gadget is an actual m-learning aid, and not just an expensive gizmo, frequently boils down to choosing the right apps for you. (Come back to this blog soon for a review of some useful iPhone / iPad language learning apps. Or, if you’re the Android type, check out this initial guide.)


2. Read, watch and listen anywhere

My first smartphone meant that airplane journeys were no longer a pain. I caught up on The Game of Thrones, listened to some music, and even got things done for work! Mobile and portable computing means that it’s easier to do the things you want to do – and an iPad, in someone’s wise words, was just “a brilliant device waiting for a use.”

So why not use it to absorb a foreign language? Customise and rock your RSS reader. Stock up on podcasts. Find and watch foreign language videos. Get a textbook. You can even access your flashcards to revise vocabulary.

Mobile devices such as iPad 3 are perfect for owning these unplanned, unscheduled pockets of idle time. So when your dentist’s appointment is late, or when you’re waiting to pick up that takeaway – make sure your foreign language is there with you.


3. A window on the world-  or a pillar to hide behind?

“Language learning would be really simple, if only I had…”

…an iPad 3? This cool new software? A better dictionary?

There’s always going to be the next big thing. And there will always be people who will put us all to shame by learning something awesome with just a pile of Post-its, some time and lots of energy.

Hugh Mac Leod calls these seemingly necessary things “pillars” – they seem to be there to support your idea, but in reality, they’re just big excuses to hide behind. They prevent you from doing some raw, bold, actual work – and very often, are not really needed to rock at what you’re doing.

Your teachers probably learned a foreign language without all the gizmos you’re craving today. So before you shell out on the next iPad – consider its usefulness. Will it really help you learn, or will the Angry Birds smash your motivation to pieces?


So what do you say, language learners? Will you be buying an iPad 3 soon? I’d love to hear your comments!

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