Tag Archives: mobile apps

Technology Tools for French Language Learners

Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend a French Immersion conference, focusing on French instruction. Some of the ideas presented at the conference, are ideas I already integrated into my French Immersion classroom, but the why and the how are worth mentioning to my greater PLN. These ideas are not new and may be familiar, but it’s worth taking another glance at a few tools that can be utilized when instruction students in a second language. Three different tools will be highlighted:

Read & Write through Google Chrome Extension or CD Software

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Read & Write Gold allows students to highlight text in a Google doc or on the Internet and the program will read the text for them. This is helpful when trying to read more complex text such as autobiographies from Wikipedia or researching scientific terms. It can also be helpful for students who have not yet developed reading strategies or vocabulary in French.

Below is a link to their website if your school does not already own this tool:


iTranslate app

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 11.01.54 PMWriting or speaking in a second language can be difficult if you do not have the vocabulary needed for the topic being discussed. The iTranslate app or an online French-English dictionary can be a very useful tool when used correctly. This tool should be used to translate one word at a time and not whole sentences. When translating a whole sentence from English into French, the meaning of the text can change or become a little confusing. To understand the full effect of a Google translate gap, check out the video Fresh Prince: Google Translated (Collectivecadenza, 2013).


An advantage to using an online dictionary is that you can also look for the French dictionary afterwards and find out the type of noun the word is, assisting with adding the proper “articles.” I will often use this tool to verify the correct article use in my written French. My favourite online dictionary is: http://dictionary.reverso.net/french-english/  An alternative online dictionary is: http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/french

When composing written or oral French, it is important to have the students think in French when trying to compose their thoughts, instead of having them translate in their minds. Translating materials is very difficult, even for very skilled writers. This is why authors hire translators to convert their books into another language and why the House of Commons hire translators to translate Member’s of Parliament’s speeches while they are delivering their speech.

iOS and Android apps

There are several great apps on the market for both Apple software and Android software than can be applied to French instruction. When choosing an app, it’s important to plan how the app will be used to enhance and improve learning. My recommended app page for elementary students provides a list of productivity and creation apps.  Meaning that students can demonstrate learning and understanding through the use of these apps, verses practicing or reviewing facts. Students have more options on how to represent their learning, as not all students prefer to demonstrate understanding through written text. These apps can also be used at the secondary level in either French or English instruction. If any of these apps are new to you, I recommend trying them out to see how they can be utilized in your classroom.


Collectivecadenza. (2013, January 15). Fresh prince: Google translated [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMkJuDVJdTw.


Mobile Apps are in the classroom, but is everyone on the same page?

Many teachers will tell you that they have tablets, iPads or iPods in their classroom and that they know how to use them, but my question is, are they being used to their full capacity? Mobile apps can be used for product, process or product/process reasons. Product-oriented teachers are those who primarily use mobiles app to revise and support curriculum. This may be through word searches, vocabulary building, math equations, etc. Their main objective is to have students using technology in their classroom more on an individual or by groups of two to support learning outcomes. If this is the case, why not use curriculum supported websites instead? It is meeting the same outcome and does not require a class set or a few iPads for the classroom. Classroom laptops can be just as portable and flexible with some learning. I believe some teachers fall into this category because they are unaware of the real potential of mobile apps or do not have the time to fully understand how mobile apps can be used to support learning.

The process-oriented teacher is a teacher who is not concerned if students bring in their own mobile devices, in fact, they encourage BYOD. Students learning with a process-oriented teacher allows room for personalization. Students are not mandated to all use the same app, they can be given a variety of app choices that meet the same objective. As teachers know, students learn in multiple ways (audio, visual, tactile…), so why not allow their mobile learning to be diverse as well? Since the process is at the heart of learning, teachers do not concern themselves with uploading and finding ways to download all of the student’s work. Sometimes learning is about how to get to the end, not to show proof that they have arrived at the end. If they have mastered the skill, and have demonstrated the steps to get there through opportunities of sharing, shouldn’t that be just as efficient? It’s another way to gain formative assessment on your students.

The product/process-oriented teacher, understands the benefits of both systems and believes that they both have value in learning. I fall into this category as I believe that students do need the time practice some skills without working through a process, whereas other times they need to experience several ways to achieve the same goal. With the right balance, students will get what they need out of mobile learning. Teachers who are product-oriented, need to remember that process is just as important and should take some risks to ensure that mobile learning stays interactive and collaborative, and not be used solely as a reward system for good behaviour or to practice rote memory.

Product vs Process