More French iPod/iPad/iPhone apps

Jules et la foret d'Halloween Jules et la foret d’Hallowe’en is a cute story app with sound, word and pictures. As a language learner you can hear an authentic speaker and read along with it and look up the words you don’t know in the word reference app or a dictionary app. There is also the Histoires HD app which offers the first story free and then you can purchase others. The stories are well illustrated and read very clearly and well. These sorts of audio visual apps are perfect for improving your comprehension and accent. There are also the Gratis Anglais flashcards which are much more than simple flashcards. They are for French speakers to learn English but they do a wonderful job of teaching English speakers French! Then you can learn french with 7 jours sur la planete from TV5 Monde. You hear short videos of the news and then there are vocabulary and language building exercises. Perfect for more advanced students. The Speak Easy French Lite is a good audio themed language builder for beginners. There are plenty of apps at your level both free and paid.

French iPad/iPod/iPhone apps

ipad2 keyboardAs I said, I have been taking an iPad2 into my year 11 French class just to see what happens so I can make better ,educated guesses about how I might use iPads in class. The way the students use it is interesting and intuitive. They automatically work in pairs, not singly on the iPad. Some put it down on the desk and lean over it together. Others are very mobile in their use of it and love the kinetic screen and will change it around, hold it up with the screen facing them and touch the icons that way and then move it around again and then put it down on the desk. They love its mobility. Not once have they done the wrong thing. Not once have they been off task and not once have I had to ask them to get on with their work. They are totally absorbed. They leave the lesson asking me to be sure to bring it back next lesson and could I please find more apps. I have loaded apps for French at different levels and have just asked them to try them out and tell me which ones they like. They have automatically settled on the ones for their level and then have worked hard and enjoyed learning French that way. If there are sound files they have plugged in their ear phones. I have not had to “manage” them at all. It has all been self regulating. The sorts of apps I use and have downloaded for students are things like the word app, Busuu , which has been a huge hit, The Odyssey Translator, Larousse dictionaries,27/7 French Lite, Best of French Cuisine, TV5 Monde, le, France24 which streams live, mon guide ecolo,cote maison ,24/7 French vocab and verbe2verbe. There are others like Coffee Cup French. You just need to look and a lot of them are free or have a useful free trial version.

Is there an app for that?

ewot on iPad This blog looks really cool on an iPad2. That was the first thing I learnt about iPads. They make websites look fantastic and the display is very sensible. The graphics and text are very clear. I borrowed an iPad2 because I wanted to see what it could do compared with a MacBook and an iPod Touch. On the down side it doesn’t run Flash and that’s a problem for sites like Voki. The other thing which turned me off was it was location, location, location. Every 5 minutes there was a location message. No I don’t want to locate everything I capture and do. Settings became my best friend. I turned location off. I could turn my iTunes account on and off and my home network. It sent me the French24 news in English because of its location obsession. FRENCH news. Hint. I want it in French. Bottom right of the screen I could turn it into French. Good.Oh – it cannot do anything with screen shots. You take a screen shot by pressing home and on/off button. Click. iPad2 screenThen you cannot do anything with it other than email it. So the iPad is like my iPod Touch. It has to be tethered to a computer from time to time.I thought I’d have trouble typing because I am such a touchscreen klutz but I turned it sideways and could clatter away quite well on the touch keyboard. That made my life so much easier than on my iPod Touch. I downloaded some free apps for French. I am just wondering how schools will manage payment of apps for different things and if iPads are shared how that will be worked out. When I showed my year 11s the iPad and what I had put on it for French I was an instant cool teacher. I then wanted to see what they would do. While they were working on an exercise on their laptops I said they could try the apps out. It was interesting to see how much they all wanted a go. Then those who got a turn were totally absorbed. I realised it was harder to see what they are doing than if they are on a laptop because they lean over the screen on the desk. They were so excited and absorbed. They have begged me to bring it into class again tomorrow so they can try some more things. I have downloaded another half a dozen free French apps and we’ll see how they go. I can see they would have a good use in a French classroom for verb conjugation, dictionaries, language practice, vocab practice, language extension , research. I have had it a day. Already the iPad2 has worked hard for me. I’ll try it for a bit longer and see.

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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