Are you looking to supplement your child’s English Language learning at home? Look no further! It can be quite tedious to repeatedly do the same exercises and readings. Variety, after all, is the spice of life! The digital world, not only is your child’s favourite pastime but also has a great number of opportunities for immersive learning and practising their English. So we put together a list of our favourite tech - from apps to AR technologies to simple youtube channels, that can help your child take their language to the next level.
Edutainment is a fun way to learn. The rabbit hole of Youtube runs deep, but that does not mean there are not tons of incredible resources that can help with learning almost anything - but specifically learning English. From beginner grammar to book analysis, in anything that you are studying, you should be able to find someone who runs a youtube channel to support your learning journey. Plus! The research backs it up - youtube and other videos can improve listening comprehension as well as build speaking confidence.
BBC Learning English
As the oldest and largest English broadcasting institution, the BBC has been a go-to for world news, television programmes and more, for the UK for decades. But did you know, they have incredible educational resources too? Specifically, their youtube channel, BBC English Learning, with weekly lessons which uses a multitude of formats, such as, “Six Minute English”, “BBC News Review” and “Tim's Pronunciation Workshop”. Each is designed to help your child (and you!) develop English language skills - grammar, pronunciation and conversation.
Mr T's Phonics
For the younger tots, amassing vocabulary is the challenge. So a fun (and educational) addition to your home routine can be the YouTube sensation Geraldine the Giraffe. With over 15 years of experience producing high-quality educational resources, let Geraldine be your child’s guide to English with Mr T's Phonics. Other than phonics, they also cover learning basic letters, grammar, spelling and punctuation - key areas for any preschool kids preparing for interviews.
VOA Learning English
If you are eyeing American schools or universities, Voice of America has a wonderful youtube channel that is great for learning English. Perfect for older kids looking to perfect their language skills. The videos cover a variety of topics including US history and culture with some lessons are also interactive which offers a great opportunity for real-time learning.
If your child is old enough to have an Instagram account, or if you are just looking for tips and tricks to help you teach your kids, Instagram and TikTok can be great resources. While research into mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) may still be nascent, early results show that the short, bite-sized information offered can help with informal learning, especially vocabulary and communication. We have weekly motivational quotes and tips on our IG page.
In English we love
Sama, an English teacher, has created this awesome Instagram page looking into the nitty-gritty of the language to clarify grammar and meaning. Plus, her stunning posts will ensure that the learnings can be easily grasped and remembered. Her series, “What’s another way to say…” is also wonderful when learning both speaking and writing.
English Without Tears
“A post a day keeps the errors away! 😉” And that’s exactly what Gabriela Torrens, the name behind the IG page, English Without Tears (@englisharound) offers. You can join her 154K followers to learn more about idioms, phrasal verbs, indirect speech and lots of other grammar “problem areas”. She also regularly shares posts and information from other Instagrammers, so you have all your resources under one account!
Create your own stories
Creative storytelling is not only a key part of English curricula but it can also be super helpful with learning the language and building creativity. In particular, recent research has found that digital storytelling, as enabled by technology, can help English writing skills by increasing the understanding of story elements and structure.
One of the most popular tools available is Storybird. Great for kids of all ages, it is a platform that inspires and prompts creativity through appealing illustrations and challenges. You or your child can join to create fiction in the following categories; picture books, comics, long-form stories, flash fiction and poems. Or, if you’re not feeling particularly inspired, you can also read others’ stories. While it is a paid app, it can help develop language knowledge, especially reading comprehension and writing.
For those that prefer learning through visual formats, Toontastic allows students to create their own animated movies. With features such as set design, character definition, narration and music, this is a great way to let their creativity run wild. There are three basic story options, short story, classic story and science report, each of which comes with a basic story outline. But other than that, your child is in the director's seat! Stories can be purely imaginative, or they can touch on other learning topics such as historical events, scientific discoveries, new takes on classic literature, and more. And, it has been downloaded over a million times and is teacher approved!
Virtual Reality /Augmented Reality
A new and relatively unexplored technology for learning is VR and AR. In our increasingly cluttered world, it can be hard to grasp kids' attention but by providing a truly immersive experience, as enabled by this technology, it can not only improve focus but also encourage learning. It can also open the door to different worlds and experiences, which can spark creativity and enhance learning.
Wonderscope is an award-winning app that uses augmented reality to transform ordinary spaces into extraordinary stories. They bring a range of books to life and allow kids to be a part of the story. It sounds like a dream come true! You can learn to read and talk to the character and even help them solve problems along the way. While it's only available on iOS at the moment, its been recommended by everyone from The New York Times to Variety, so it's definitely worth trialling. For older students, their Within App also provides a gateway into everything from Spacewalking to North Korea!
Google Arts and Culture
Who doesn’t love a field trip? And while going in person is amazing, if you can’t make it due to distance, cost or just don’t feel like leaving the house, you can check out google’s AR offering. Arts and Culture allows you to visit iconic sites, admire famous pieces of art, dive underwater, and even go back in time! This ever-evolving and growing offering is a wonderful way to encourage your children to step outside their comfort zone and be inspired by what the world has to offer. All while developing their English skills!
This list would be incomplete without the world’s most popular language app. While it is definitely better for beginners (and adults learning new languages), there are features that can help your child. By adding a gamification element, which allows users to compete in real-time against other players, the learning becomes super fun and addictive! You will unlock levels and win coins while of course learning the basics such as vocabulary and grammatical structures.
While IXL is a paid app, it is a great resource for all - from kindergarten all the way up to Year 13. It provides Real-Time Diagnostics, Targeted Guidance and Unlimited Practice opportunities. Plus for encouragement and recognition, they also hand out awards and certificates. So whether your child is learning about the alphabet or needs help identifying narrative and audience, this award-winning learning experience has it all.