We all love our mobile phones and we can’t live without them. The technological development has transformed mobile phones into smartphones and iphones, which have excellent features. We use them not only for communication but also for various other purposes such as entertainment, information and education. Recently, at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), the company declared that we are living in a post-PC world. “Especially with the iPad we are ushering in this post-PC world,” said Apple exec Scott Forstall who provided impressive statistics to back the statement.
Yes, mobile phone is a powerful tool that can be used by learners of English to develop their language skills. Let me share with you an encounter I had with a student a few days ago.
“Excuse me, sir. Can I come in?” a student drew my attention and entered my office. I offered him a seat and asked him, “What can I do for you?” He replied, “Sir, I want to improve my English. The books I’ve gone through haven’t helped me much. I’ll be grateful to you if you suggest a useful book?” I asked him a few more questions in order to assess his level of English proficiency and to suggest a suitable book. He shared with me the struggles he had undergone during the process of developing his English communication skills. While we were talking, his phone rang. When he displayed his Android smart phone, all on a sudden, his mobile phone became the focus of our conversation.
“For what purposes do you use the phone?”
“To make and receive phone calls and also to send and receive SMS”
“Don’t you browse the Internet on your phone?”
“Yes, at times I browse the Net. I check my email.”
“Are you on Facebook?”
“Yes, I am. I have many friends.”
“Do you post messages on your friends’ walls?”
“I post messages on my friends’ walls regularly. I visit FB every day and spend about 30-45 minutes.”
“You have an Android phone. It is a wonderful smartphone. Why don’t you use it to improve your English?”
“Yes, it is a good phone, but I don’t know how I can use it for improving my English.”
“Have you ever tried to download English language related applications using the Market option?”
“No, I don’t have any idea about it.”
I gave him some tips on how he can use the mobile phone to develop his English language skills. Those who possess Android phones can download over 200,000 different applications (apps) including English language related apps such as dictionaries, thesauri, crossword puzzles, interactive error correction quizzes, reading comprehension exercises, pronunciation practice and news stories (texts and audio). Here are the details of some useful apps which can help the learners of English develop their language skills.
Dictionary.com: This app delivers reference content from Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com. The app also features audio pronunciation, voice-to-text search, and Word of the Day. It has 375,000 words and definitions, over 300,000 synonyms and antonyms, phonetic and audio pronunciation, spelling suggestions, example sentences, favourite words list. My students and I have found the application immensely useful.
Test your English: This app is at three levels: Test Your English I, II, III. It helps the learner improve their English skills. Each level contains more than 900 multichoice tests. The types of tests are: ESL/EFL grammar exercises, ESL Business English tests, English synonym worksheets, idioms tests, common errors in English tests, etc. There are also many interesting reading passages through which English grammar can be learnt in a fun way.
250 Grammar Quizzes: This app consists of 250 basic grammar questions. Each test contains five questions. It helps learners understand English grammar better.
Crosswords: This application lets you download and solve crossword puzzles from around the world. New puzzles are available every day from major newspapers, plus hints, clue listings and many more.
The second part of the article will appear soon.
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