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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Support Learning with Apps

 Support Learning with Apps_a digital walk, by Raquel Gonzaga

This post is in collaboration with The 30 goals challenge, by Shelley Sanchez Terrell

Goal: Learn with an app
To accomplish this goal, learn with an app or help your students learn with an app

Motivation to go digital
A quick time-travel is required here. The year was 2011. The very beginning of smartphones & tablets epidemic in Brazil.
I realized I had something in my hand called smartphone, which was said to have many resources and possibilities, so I decided go check it out.
I got fascinated by the number of free resources that could be adapted for an educational purpose and decided to give it a try. How was I then to share my findings with colleagues and students?
A blog seemed to be the answer and then the idea turned into 'InformedTeachers', my channel to share my app suggestions and other tech-related EFL activities.

For each learning purpose, an App      

The first thing to do after you get your handheld device (regardless of the brand) is to check the App store.
And then browse through an unlimited number of apps for all sorts of purposes.
I started by indicating a voice recognition app and then homework organizers, dictionary , video apps, and a very useful one which has proved to be a resourceful one, the QR Code.
Related :  Using QR codes in the classroom
               QR codes in education, an innovative way
One thing I have learned is that indeed, there is an app for each learning purpose, but in order to organize your learning one has to choose their main apps.
Apps for language acquisition
The apps I have used for classroom routine and recommended as a support for home study:
* Monoligual (English-English) Dictionary,
*Vocabulary/Lexical book (I also like to call it Note-taking dictionary)
* Pronunciation Checker
* electronic notebook
*QR code reader
* Read it later app
* electronic flashcards
* Language Exams Apps
In order to facilitate their organization, encourage my teenage and adult EFL students to have a kit which they could quickly refer to.
A very important thing to say here is that the choice of app is a personal decision on the hands of the student.I do the research and suggest the apps, but the students make their own choices.
I also have observed more intensely over the past two years is that, once they realise the app can be an extra practice opportunity, they feel like using that on a regular basis and creating their own kit.
There is also the concept of BYOD, which stands for : Bring Your Own Device. The teacher then counts on the available devices students have. There is also the possibility of group work where one device can be used to work in a pair or trio if you choose to work with resources such as QR Code or e-flashcards for instance.
Here are some of the most popular posts  from my blog:
Apps for EFL studying_this is the kit
Apps to study grammar
Apps for Listening &Pronunciation

It is very rewarding to see that after being exposed to the benefits of Apps, even students with a simple handheld device can make use of them to improve their language acquisition outside the classroom, when they are on their own.
Becoming a tech-savvy teacher has helped me bond and motivate my students to take a step ahead in their foreign language acquisition, and encourage them to become independent learners.
Some classroom moments with handheld devices 

Who am I ?

Raquel Gonzaga, Brazilian EFL teacher and EdTech blogger.
I'm Tech-savvy and passionate about motivating students to go beyond their limits and trust their learning potential.

Currently teaching and working as an academic helper  at Cultura Inglesa São Paulo and Ed Tech blogger at  and Teaching English British Council where I write about apps for the EFL class and the importance of tech literacy for teachers.

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