mobile language learning apps

I have decided to delve into MALL (mobile assisted language learning)  to better understand language learning apps, the philosophy behind the app and to explore current and future trends in language learning. Yesterday, I came across a timely infographic that asks if we are wired for mobile learning (it is from 02/11, but I have been out of the loop a while 😦 ). One of the first questions that came to mind upon reviewing the data is whether we are wired for mobile teaching. Clearly, for the most part, we teachers do not meet the criteria of “digital natives” (according to Wikipedia, “people who grew up with the technology that became prevalent in the latter part of the 20th century, and continues to evolve today.”), or if we do, it is quite a challenge to bridge technology with education that we are always working on how to get it right. But I digress a bit now…

Current trends are moving towards mobile apps on smartphones and tablet devices. Apps, in my opinion, are quite panacean; anything we want or feel we need to do can be simply remedied by an app… “there is an app for that.” So I want to learn a foreign language, and I can’t justify investing in Rosetta Stone nor do I have the time to take a formal course (there are multitudinous, but this goes beyond the scope of this post!), so let’s shop the app store. Searching for apps as, if you will, a layperson (i.e., not as language professor) is surely overwhelming. So many apps (this morning’s quick search of “language learning” numbers  728 iPad apps and 1135 iPhone apps!), that it would take an army of research assistants far endless weeks to investigate them properly (and as we all know in academia, assistants and time, together with money to pay for the apps, is something we don’t have).

So, I would like to ask you, professionals and laity, which apps have you downloaded, which would you recommend, and which would you dismiss. I’m interested in all apps: the good, the bad and the ugly (you’re not too surprised that I make a cultural reference with Ennio Morricone, are you? ;))

Thanks in advance for sharing and helping me better understand mobile assisted language learning.

5 pensieri riguardo “mobile language learning apps

  1. Hey Enza, two thoughts.

    First, here is a recent blog post I did on all of the apps on my iPad
    Its not really language learning oriented, but hopefully it will be helpful in your search.

    Second, I’d urge you to move away from the whole digital native/immigrant thing. Scholars began rebuffing the idea long ago, that an entire class of technology users can be defined simply by what year they were born, and even Prensky himself has said that his original view was short sighted. It became a meme, so people still use it, but “Charlie bit my finger” is a meme also. 🙂

    If one needs a dichotomy, I’ve grown a bit more partial to this one

    White, D. S., & Le Cornu, A. (n.d.). Visitors and Residents: A New Typology for Online Engagement. First Monday. Retrieved September 5, 2011, from

    The idea that some people are digital visitors (technology is a tool) some and digital residents (technology is a way of life).

    Here’s my take on it –

    1. Thank you, AJ, for your reply and your links. Would you kindly resend the link for the White & LeCornu publication? It doesn’t work.

      I totally agree with you about Prensky’s dichotomy. The infographic from Voxy prompted those introductory comments, but it good to know that other terminology exists when speaking of users. I’m looking forward to exploring it further. 🙂

      1. p.s. – I’m not big on dichotomies to begin with, they are too black and white with no room for the gray that always exists in the middle. The thing I like about White and Le Cornu is that they discuss it as a continuum.

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