11 iOS apps for the game playing teacher

esl apps for teachersThere are many apps which the smart phone (or tablet) owning ESL teacher can put to use in the classroom. This modern marvel is a learner dictionary,  a voice recorder, a phonemic trainer, a CD player, a PowerPoint viewer, and much, much more.

Here are 10 iPhone apps which you might find handy when playing games in your adult ESL class.  Android alternatives are most likely available, feel free to post alternatives in the comment section.

By the way, here at ESL Games Box are dipping our toes into app production, check out the Apps section to see how we’re getting on.

1. Photos – my Photos app is loaded up with a few photo sets of objects based around a variety of vocabulary themes like jobs, home and garden, new technology, wild animals, etc. A nice fluency exercise is to get the students to take it in turns in describing one of these objects to the class. Because this activity focuses on the students ability to express the use/appearance of the item, it isn’t actually so important that the English word for the object is known. The item name can be given in the students’ native language (assuming a mono-lingual class) or given by the teacher when it becomes clear that the object has been recognised.

2. Make Dice – I try to carry a box of dice with me to use for board games or activities like making comparisons. Make Dice functions as a regular dice roller or you can customise it to make up your own games, roll for tense or vocab theme for example.

3. Random Master also includes a dice function but it’s main function is as a random number picker or even better use it to randomly select items from a list. For example, you could use it to randomly select students in the class.

4. Story dice – Instead of numbers, these dice have pictograms on each face which students can use to create stories. See previous post: Story dice.

5. Akinator the Genie – This amazing little app asks a series of yes/no questions before attempting to guess the celebrity you are thinking of. It’s a fun warm up/filler.

6. BANG! BOOM! Buzzer – A buzzer is a very useful gadget to have in the classroom. Responding to an incorrect utterance with a robust BZZZZZZZ! never fails to get students all riled up and ready to take the game a whole lot more seriously. This app can also function as a countdown timer.

7. Party Game Timer – A simple countdown timer that makes a nice ticking sound and there are a variety of dramatic sound effects for when the count reaches zero.

8. Word Charades – An iOS version of  Taboo. This app contains decks of words (and taboo words) ready to use, plus the facility to add your own word sets.

9. Card Decks – With this free app you can create sets of cards to use for different games. You could make up a set of Pictionary cards or load it with words for Taboo. Alternatively just fill it with vocabulary  to review and pass the phone round the class, each student takes it in turns to describe the word on the card.

10. Conversation Cards – This app contains a deck of dinner party style conversation starters. A nice activity for filling up fifteen minutes at the end of class. Alternatively look at the conversation webapp on our apps page.

11. Quizzes are great end of lesson gap fillers, students must process the vocabulary and  discuss possible answers all of which can lead to interesting language analysis. Who Becomes Rich  is a who wants to be a millionaire type quiz show, the questions start off easy and get progressively harder. This app also has a submit a question feature which could be nice way to round off the lesson.

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