Technology has revolutionized the way that languages are taught and practiced
Computer software now rivals traditional textbooks in the market, and oftentimes younger learners respond more to interactive, multimedia activities than the books their parents used to study. Not only are the following software programs excellent for self-study, they can add value to any traditional curriculum and cater to all different learning styles. With the wide range of products now available, every teacher has the opportunity to choose resources that match their means and goals.
OpenBook is a language and literacy based software designed for kindergarten through higher and adult education. The program is designed for language learners on levels 0 to 4 on the International Language Roundtable scale. Linguistic complexity is a focus in OpenBook in each chapter and activity. Lesson pre-sets are organized by age, grade, and level of skill to ensure that linguistic complexity is appropriate for the learner’s language level. Lessons are also tiered (below, at, or above grade level) to ensure that the complexity of each lesson is targeted to the learner’s needs. Complexity is also addressed through language supports such as audio, translation, and graphics for specific grade and language levels.
Rules by the Sound
The Rules by the Sound online pronunciation platform is an extension of the versatile Rules by the Sound workbook by Marjorie Feinstein-Whittaker and Lynda Katz Wilner of ESL Rules. The platform features 63 sound-loaded stories, presented in separate sentence and paragraph form, focusing on the pronunciation of mainstream North American English consonants, vowels, diphthongs, r-influenced vowels, and common stress rules such as -ed and -s endings, compound and proper nouns. The user has the opportunity to learn how the sounds are produced, watch a brief video clip of the sound being formed, and listen to a native speaker reading the sentences and stories aloud. The student can then record herself reading the sentences one at a time, or the story in its entirety, and compare the model and personal speech sample for accuracy. In addition to practicing the sounds in various word positions, the user can also address other key speech and communication skill areas such as rate, voice projection, linking, vocabulary, and topics related to aspects of American social and work culture. The platform is excellent for self-study or as a blended learning complement.
Discovery Educational Software
Discovery Educational Software is a small company based in Scotland and run entirely by teachers and former teachers. World of Words fosters vocabulary learning through pictures. 35 topic screens, each with its own built-in testing mechanism, offer a vocabulary base of some 1,000 everyday words. Junior World of Words is available with screens that are accessible to younger learners. Games Box develops further the idea of picture vocabulary by offering seven fun games all involving matching words and pictures. Two students can play against each other, or one can play against the computer with a choice of ability levels. Discover English is for those who already have a fair command of the language, but make mistakes with grammar, spelling, and idioms. A log-in system keeps a record of which exercises have been attempted and how well they performed. An editing feature is included for teachers to make up additional exercises.
English in a Flash
Students using English in a Flash software move quickly from learning English to learning in English. The program uses a research-based approach to teach the vocabulary that English-language learners need to discuss academic topics. Because students come to school with different levels of vocabulary, the program is designed to match the level of instruction to the needs of the student and makes sure the vocabulary gaps are filled. English in a Flash provides the practice and repetition to acquire the building blocks of language, helping them learn conversational vocabulary to communicate with classmates and teachers, as well as content-area vocabulary. By matching learned vocabulary to books for reading comprehension, the software takes students from building vocabulary to learning vocabulary through reading. The program also provides educators with feedback on student progress to help them personalize instruction and intervene effectively.
The Reading Horizons reading software is based on the acclaimed Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself method and is used by more than 50,000 teachers throughout the U.S. Research-based and aligned with Common Core State Standards, Reading Horizons is built on multi-sensory, Orton Gillingham principles of instruction and appeals to students’ individual learning styles — visual, auditory, tactile, or kinesthetic. The software provides EFL students with simple decoding skills that teach the logic behind English. EFL tools incorporated into the software include vocabulary development and alternative language narrations in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Haitian-Creole, and Japanese.
All Educational Software
Designed for learners of all ages, All Educational Software carries a number of ELL software titles that will provide the most comprehensive language curriculum. Build vocabulary and language comprehension skills with these interactive language learning titles that will immerse students in the spoken and written word. Practice your pronunciation and learn words for everyday real-life situations. Whether learning English for business or pleasure, these software titles will improve student’s language skills. All Educational Software offers educational software for all ages and all learners from toddlers and preschoolers to grade school, middle school, and high school.
Workplace English and Hotel & Hospitality English
Workplace English is a new self-study pack designed to equip office workers, receptionists, PAs, and administrators with the essential language to speak and understand English in their jobs. The pocket-sized book contains dialogues, highlighted key phrases, and functional language. It includes practice sections, vocabulary lists for quick reference, practical examples of typical emails and other office communication, an answer key, and a pronunciation guide. An audio CD accompanies the book, providing invaluable listening practice, and a DVD contains filmed dialogues to show the learner English language in practice, with naturally spoken English in different business situations. Hotel & Hospitality English is the new must-have resource to support hotel workers, especially receptionists, reservation clerks, telephone operators, and restaurant and bar staff, improve their English communication skills. Practical examples of typical emails offer invaluable support and a pronunciation guide gives the speaker confidence when communicating.
Live Action English Interactive
Students interact with real people and objects on the computer screen, as in TPR (Total Physical Response). For instance, in response to a command, a student drags a mop to a man on the screen and he takes it and mops the floor. Using natural and practical language, each unit presents basic vocabulary through a logical sequence of imperatives describing a familiar activity. A variety of productive activities in every unit include listening, reading, writing, vocabulary, verb forms, and spelling.
Tell Me More English Learning Levels 1 to 10 + 2 Business
Tell Me More English Software offers one of the most complete and comprehensive language learning program on the market. Developed by an experienced team of language experts, Tell Me More leverages the Communicative Approach. This comprehensive methodology is used in schools and universities around the world, making it ideal for ELLs and ESL teachers. With up to 12 distinct levels of English learning available, from Beginner to Advanced-Business, students control their levels of fluency. Tell Me More offers up to 20,000 interactive and engaging exercises including word puzzles, reading exercises, and cultural studies, keeping learning fresh, fun, and impactful. These exercises build fluency through six key language learning skills: reading, writing, listening, speaking, vocabulary, and grammar.
Clicker 6 and New to English
Clicker 6 offers increased student independence while making it easy to add appropriate layers of support for all. Clicker enables students to learn and progress within an easy-to-navigate, motivating environment. To support language learning, choose from sentence building, word banks, picture banks, matching, and listening and speaking activities. Clicker 6 even includes painting tools so that students can illustrate talking books and sentences! New to English harnesses the power of Clicker 6 and is aimed at students acquiring English. The series uses well-established language learning techniques to build students’ knowledge and confidence. With all three titles, At School, In the House, and At the Shopping Mall, children explore what they might see in these locations, and engage in a range of listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities. Each title presents language examples that are specifically designed to aid in the development of vocabulary, sentence structure, and functional English. The CDs have been carefully developed with ELL specialists for the classroom.
ESL ReadingSmart is an innovative, web-based ESL program designed to accelerate English Language Development for ELLs in grades 4-12. The program offers individualized, content-based instruction with an emphasis on literacy and academic language development. ESL ReadingSmart content is designed to accelerate English language development, support WIDA, TESOL, and state ESL learning objectives, track students’ English language development, and incorporate all four modalities of language learning. Teachers can implement ESL ReadingSmart either as a student-centered, stand-alone application, or as a learning environment that integrates online student work and classroom instruction. ESL ReadingSmart provides a placement test that generates an individualized path for each student to follow. Teachers can also select a specific ESL ReadingSmart level for a class, and the system will offer the same instructional path to all of the students in the class.
The student component includes a newcomers section, as well as a four-level Lexiled reading program based on multicultural, high-interest selections. The newcomers section facilitates the introduction of basic vocabulary and sentence structure needed by beginning English language learners. The reading program includes Lexiled multi-cultural, multi-genre reading selections that incorporate vocabulary support, audio tracks, activities, and quizzes.
MyEnglishLabs are online components from Pearson ELT designed to complement English language courses. MyEnglishLabs offer enriched learning opportunities, informed teaching, and flexible solutions. Fully integrated with a range of Pearson ELT courses, MyEnglishLabs provide interactive activities and powerful on-line tools that help to motivate and engage students. They include a wide range of activities that give students tips, automatic feedback and instant grades, allowing students to study at their own pace and keep track of their progress. The intuitive grade book and diagnostic tools provided with MyEnglishLabs reveal, at-a-glance, how students are progressing. Instant analysis of common errors and time spent on activities provides information that ensures valuable classroom time is spent on the areas that will benefit students the most. MyEnglishLabs offer extra online practice in all four skills areas with additional practice in the areas of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and spelling. MyEnglishLabs provide flexible online solutions for both students and instructors. Students can access MyEnglishLabs where and when they want to extend their learning beyond the classroom. Instructors can track students’ progress and assess problem areas using the online management system to better tailor their instruction.
Finish Line for ELLs: English Proficiency Practice
Finish Line for ELLs: English Proficiency Practice builds confidence and competence for testing day with exposure to similar item formats and skill areas found on TESOL standards-based tests, including WIDA’s ACCESS for ELLs and ELDA. This program for grades K-12 is designed to supplement existing curriculum and can be used for one-on-one tutoring and group settings. States that administer ACCESS for ELLs will find the WIDA PRIME Correlation to be a helpful resource for this program. Colorful workbooks use appealing art and photos to improve language proficiency in five content areas (conversational language, academic language arts, academic mathematics, academic science, and academic social studies) across the listening, reading, writing, and speaking domains. Ebooks of the workbooks will be available this summer and will include comprehensive reports to help teachers identify performance on a class and student level, and by unit and lesson. Annotated teacher’s editions provide excellent support for first-year and experienced educators, including model lessons, teacher directions for each page, instructional notes, and extension activities. An audio CD provides oral reading of the listening activities from the teacher’s edition.
Scholastic READ 180 Next Generation
READ 180 Next Generation is a proven-effective, comprehensive reading program for students in grades 4-12 that delivers intensive, accelerated reading instruction through three core components: individualized student instructional software; explicit teacher-led instruction, and independent and modeled reading. READ 180 Next Generation benefits all English language learners (ELLs) through explicit academic language instruction, writing techniques, and adaptive student software. Multicultural, age-appropriate, and relevant content engages students from diverse backgrounds. Anchor videos build background knowledge and introduce high-utility, academic vocabulary to prepare students for the cross-curricular content and literature they will encounter in the reading passages. Intelligent, adaptive student software provides second-language support in five languages and gives students targeted instruction at their own pace in reading comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, spelling, word recognition, writing, and conventions. The software also provides students with daily opportunities for oral reading and academic listening practice, including recording and play-back for self-assessment, as well as scaffolds the academic writing and revision process for students. Assessments aligned to the independent reading libraries, including paperbacks, audiobooks, and web-based eReads make each independent read fully accountable and allow students to track their own progress. Differentiated instruction is made easy with the fully web-enabled Teacher Dashboard and Interactive Teaching System (ITS), which provides teachers with anytime/anywhere access to curriculum and data. Teacher and Leadership Dashboards present teachers and administrators with actionable data on individual student and class performance.
Learn to Speak
Learn to Speak’s unique learning method recreates the type of immersive learning by placing the user into real-world scenarios for faster adoption of that language. Using interactive videos and speech recognition tools, users will be able to interact with native English speakers in no time. Learn to Speak English does so much more than just help memorize words — it will get the user speaking English quickly and authentically. Learn to Speak English was designed by university language experts, who combined language-learning theories with proven classroom practices to develop an ultimate learning environment for any kind of user. The result is a rapid language-learning approach that is used by millions of people around the world. The learning technique, called Flexible Immersion System, is exclusive to eLanguage’s Learn to Speak software. Learn to Speak English includes beginner, intermediate, and advanced lessons, as well as vocabulary exercises, speech recognition, and fun games. Users have conversations with native English speakers in 40 interactive, real-world scenarios.
Read Right tutoring provided through site-based programs or the Read Right Online Tutoring Service combines English language acquisition with English language reading improvement. Read Right for English Language Learners is based on this language acquisition model. Read Right evaluates English language learners for optimum performance level, then assigns students a set of recorded books to use to improve both reading ability and English language skills. Utilizing recorded books allows English language learners to hear and see the structure of language as it is read to them. Students then use silent reading, listening, and oral reading as vehicles for growing linguistic skills. Tutors working with the students act as coaches, providing instruction in vocabulary, making regular checks for understanding, providing input for accent reduction and improved pronunciation, and engaging students in oral language activities associated with the books in order to consistently and systematically grow English language skills.
Linguascope is an interactive language-learning website where students and teachers can find resources in French, Spanish, German, Italian, and English. Established in 1998, the website is now used by thousands of schools worldwide. In the U.K., 80 percent of the schools subscribe to Linguascope. The site covers all topics normally encountered when teaching languages, including ESL. Each topic area contains a series of interactive activities accompanied by printable worksheets that can be used to consolidate the lesson or as homework. Accessible online with the whole class using an interactive whiteboard, Linguascope can also be used in a group using a computer or individually at home. The website includes tools that students and teachers alike can use to create their own interactive games, comic strips, and even send e-cards. In the Media section they can even watch live TV in the targeted language. Linguascope also provides the teachers with a separate portal, giving them access to the Resource Area where they can search language specific resources by topic, upload, and share resources. SCORM 2004 Compliant Content in the form of learning and assessment units can be loaded into a VLE to track student progress. Teachers will also find a range of free downloadable e-books and an image bank with over 2,500 professional illustrations available to download.
Carnegie Speech is a software publisher focused on the use of technology to develop and improve language skills. Highly advanced speech recognition and intelligent tutoring software technologies inform and customize curriculum to meet the evolving needs of each learner. These technologies were developed at the Language Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, and are licensed exclusively to Carnegie Speech. NativeAccent prepares individuals from around the world to speak with, and understand, one another in standard American English. This web-delivered instruction includes lessons in phonemic pronunciation, word and sentence stress, fluency, and grammar that are sequenced for each student based on an online assessment and their native language, and which are constantly monitored and adjusted by the Intelligent Tutor software. NativeAccent has been successfully used by universities, colleges, and also at adult and community education programs across the country.
Rocket Languages’ Interactive Audio Lessons allow learners to take part in true-to-life conversations. By hearing actual native speakers, then having the conversations deconstructed, learners quickly get a sense of how the target language works and what the conversational conventions are. Rocket Record voice comparison technology enables learners to perfect pronunciation by mapping their voice waves against those of a native speaker. There are also Language lessons aimed specifically at the formal aspects of language learning. These lessons provide a great grounding in the grammatical rules of the target language. Combine these with culture lessons and students have a comprehensive, online language learning solution. Featuring twelve languages, the Rocket Languages range is extensive. With personalized progress tracking, individualized vocabulary lists, quizzes and self-tests, these courses offer great variety for learners.
Recorded Books offers technology solutions to make language learning easy and fun, giving educators and librarians support in motivating students to learn. The foreign language learning resources from Recorded Books consist of programs for all ages and levels of proficiency, and students who are speaking and learning English as a second or foreign language. Featured products include Pimsleur Language courses, Transparent Language Online, Signing Savvy American sign language resources, Transparent Language, KidSpeak, Sing & Learn by ABC Melody, SmartReaders, and SteadyReaders. Over 10,000 audiobook titles are available for adults, children, and young adults narrated by professional actors. In addition to downloadable audiobooks from OneClickdigital, the digital databases offered by Recorded Books are ePrep Test Preparation Services, Universal Class Continuing Education Courses, Law Depot customizable legal documents, and Zinio complete digital magazines.
Learning Connections literacy kits feature a wonderful children’s book, a literacy guide, and an educational activity. Learning Connections currently has 24 kits, six with the books on CD, including two in both English and Spanish. The books on CD are brilliantly read by actors and are especially helpful to families struggling in reading either English or Spanish. Listening to the books read on CD helps the parent, as well as the child, become more fluent in the language. Their literacy kits are designed to promote parent involvement and are written for pre-kindergarten through fifth grades. Most of the kits contain a bilingual guide, English and Spanish versions of the book, and an educational activity, all housed in a colorful child’s backpack. The six books that have a CD included are Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, The Cat in the Hat, Chrysanthemum (in both languages), Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type (in both languages), Green Eggs and Ham, and Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge.
JumpStart Early Literacy
JumpStart provides a depth of content in over 100 skill areas ranging from letters and sounds to word building, spelling, grammar and comprehension. The systematic lessons will help students master the basics of reading. Leveled stories and engaging activities, including activities away from the computer, reinforce classroom learning in a challenging and rewarding way. Detailed progress reports, take home literacy CD, and school-to-home reading tips in English or Spanish make it easy to track and share each student’s reading success.
The Learner’s Dictionary is a free resource designed especially for students and teachers of ESL and EFL. Along with access to the complete Merriam-Webster’s Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary, the site offers Learner’s Word of the Day, language exercises, audio pronunciations, an interactive Ask the Editors blog, and My Learner’s Dictionary, a way for users to create their own personal word study lists. The Learner’s Dictionary app is available as a free iPhone and iPad app. It includes voice search, powered by Nuance’s Dragon voice recognition technology, which lets users look up a word by simply speaking it into the phone, plus more than 100,000 words and phrases from Merriam-Webster’s Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary, 22,000 idioms and commonly used phrases. Also included are usage examples, favorites, and recent look-ups.