Here at bravelearning.com, my inner geek is permanently at war with my inner technophobe. And this post is definitely going to be geeky: it’s tech and software through and through, although with a twist this time.
I’m not always a big fan of tech-enabled learning. Some of the tools I’ve reviewed were pretty awesome, and sometimes I just preferred to give you no-frills, unplugged solutions for learning. But every now and then I come across a piece of software that was definitely NOT designed with language learners in mind. I try it out and, if I’m lucky, I find that it’s really well-designed – and that it could be very useful for improving the way people learn languages. Today, I’m going to give you a quick introduction to three such solutions – you may have heard of them, but have you tried learning a language with them?
1. Google Drive
This, for me, is the Dropbox killer. It’s not just about the available size: it’s the ability to easily share and edit the documents I’m uploading. I was quite fond of Google Docs before – working from several locations, on several computers – and now I’m equally keen on trying out the Drive (loving it so far).
Language learning idea: Google Drive is the obvious choice for storing and synchronising your notes from classes – but it can do a lot more: try creating folders based on skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing) and populating them with material you can access anywhere (like interviews, songs, reviews, essay drafts).
Whu-ha-where? This is a really, really fresh project from the people who gave you the (insanely usable) Wunderlist. This time, it’s a bigger idea: Creating and sharing workspaces, assigning and commenting on tasks…the Wunderkit is a gorgeous and easy way to work on anything.
Language learning idea: This software is just waiting to be used with your entire class – or with your language learning / speaking mates. Does your teacher know of a project you could work on? Do you find it hard to coordinate your notes, or just wish you had somewhere nice to practice your online speaking skills? Have a go at Wunderkit – you might just end up loving it!
The biggest mistake that smartphone users make? They don’t even use 10% of what it could do for them. Which, if you’re a smartphone owner and a language learner, annoys me twice as much. So be a good person and splash out on DoggCatcher. It costs about as much as a latte, and gives you an impressively effective way of managing podcasts – you decide when, what and how to download, and your media library fills up automagically.
Language learning idea: Get your tutors / friends from abroad to suggest good listening and video material. Organize your media with DoggCatcher. Watch, listen, but don’t stop there: write reviews, share comments, ask questions. Interact with the content – it feels much more interesting that way!
Have you tried any of these yet? Or do you have a favourite app which just happens to be really useful for languages? All of us would like to know. Comment below!
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