10 Online learning tools for young learners
Technology can help us immensely in our activities. In this article, I will introduce to you some of the most useful online tools that are available to us today and we can use to teach English as a foreign language.
The use of technology in education has become very popular in recent years. We have witnessed that unprecedented advances in ICT have affected the way we teach. The world of education and language education have been affected by these advances. In comparison with other disciplines, language teaching requires the use of technology more. Especially during the pandemic, students have become more familiar with online tools. Using online tools in teaching a second language has many benefits:
- It increases motivation
- It decreases anxiety
- It fosters more student-centered activities
- It provides students with authentic materials and audience
- It improves students’ language acquisition
- It stimulates students’ creativity
- It boosts variety and increases the diversity of learning environments
- It enhances the quality of the learning experience
- It makes content more varied and accessible to almost every individual learner
- It ensures more participation and engagement among learners
English language teachers are now making use of technology more than ever. They take innovative steps to integrate technology into their teaching environments. When teaching a new language, especially to young learners, it is vitally important to have variety in the class. Teachers are responsible for finding engaging activities to keep the students motivated. Thanks to online tools, teachers have a wide variety of choices. Online tools, if integrated properly into language lessons, can help the teachers to choose among various activities, prepare their own materials in order to meet the needs of the students, create more engaging, interactive, and motivating lessons. They make the lessons more fun, colorful, interactive, and engaging. It is very important for the teachers to choose the appropriate tools for use in language teaching. My purpose in writing this post is to introduce some of the most useful online tools in teaching English as a foreign language.
Quizlet is an online learning tool that allows students to create flashcards, short tests, and spelling Quizzes. Students can take vocabulary lists everywhere or create one according to their needs. It is more appropriate for students seven years and older.
- Quizlet reads the word and definition to the student out loud; therefore, students scan and learn the pronunciation of the words.
- Quizlet makes learning fun for the students.
- Quizlet helps students to prepare for the spelling bee contest.
- Quizlet helps students practice and test their vocabulary size.
- Quizlet helps students to become independent learners.
- You can create Quizlet; students can prepare themselves for tests.
Kahoot is a free game-based learning platform. Learning becomes more fun with Kahoot. Also, with Kahoot you can create your own quizzes and analyze the score at the end. Students of all ages enjoy Kahoot. As they receive points for their correct responses, it creates a competitive atmosphere in the class.
WordSalad is an app for generating “word clouds” from the text that you provide. It allows you to tweak the word clouds by changing colors, fonts, and word orientation. The app detects the language your text is in, does some magic, and draws a pretty picture. Once you have finished crafting your word cloud, you can export it on your device or share it with your friends.
StoryBird will help you build books in minutes. Storybird offers creation tools and a public library to writers and readers around the world. It is user-friendly and can transform learners’ experiences of reading and creative writing. Learners can browse for stories that they enjoy reading and create their own picture books, stories, and poems. Inspirational artwork can help them express their feelings. It will also give them the opportunity to develop ideas and feelings in a safe learning environment. There are “How to” guides which provide great support for beginners to start their first story. With an educational account, you can keep stories and poems written by your learners in your private Storybird class.
Kids A-Z / Raz-Kids lets you access eBooks and eQuizzes for the 400+ titles on Raz-Kids! Raz-Kids.com gives you hundreds of interactive, leveled books spanning 27 levels of difficulty, covering a wide range of subjects. Besides engaging kids at their reading level and in their area of interest, this award-winning website gives kids 24/7 Web access to the practice they need to become better, more confident readers. Meanwhile, teachers can customize assignments, view reports, and track student progress every step of the way. All student activity in the app is captured and reported to teachers at Raz-Kids.com. For this reason, it helps teachers monitor student progress and determine the instruction needed for each student.
Education.com is a useful website for young learners; since, you can find online games, lesson plans, hands-on activities and printable worksheets for students aged 4 to 12. There are EL support materials as well as other supplementary materials. I think both the teachers and the students can benefit a lot from this website.
ClassDojo is an interesting learning app for kids in the category ‘virtual classroom learning apps.’ This app allows parents, students, and teachers to interact with each other. For instance, students can communicate with their teachers regarding their educational needs, and parents can stay up to date with their children’s progress; this engages kids, as they can get the required attention in order to get a better education. This app supplements the classroom experience without replacing it, and at the same time it provides positive reinforcement and communication among teachers, learners, and parents.
7. Spelling Stage
Spelling words be challenging for kids. Nevertheless, with this app, they can become interested in spelling practice. The paid subscription offers a wide range of words for different age groups, from preschoolers to adults.
8. Epic (ages 2-12)
There are over 35,000 children’s books (and it includes a read-to-me feature for little ones who are still learning to read) which children will enjoy reading.
9. Hungry Caterpillar Play School (Pre-School/ Ages 1-5)
This app is perfect to help kids learn the skills that they’ll need for starting school. Hungry Caterpillar Play School has five main areas of learning for kids to play in — shapes and colors, alphabet, numbers, book reading, and arts and puzzles. What’s more, this app’s design has beautiful realistic and 3D details while staying true to the bright colors and style of the beloved Eric Carle book it’s based on.
LearnEnglish Kids is a website created to support parents whose children can’t go to school at the moment. You can find tips and advice about helping your children practice their English at home. LearnEnglish Kids is prepared and controlled by the British Council. There you will find lots of free online games, songs, stories, and activities for children. For parents, there are articles on supporting children in learning English, videos on using English at home, and information about English courses.
Language teachers are becoming more and more enthusiastic about integrating online tools into their teaching environments as these tools can create a more positive learning atmosphere for learners. They make the lessons more student-centered by allowing the students to create rather than being passive recipients. In order to support and enrich the language learning environment, we need to choose the most appropriate tools. It is certain that technology cannot guarantee success in language learning. Only the hands of competent teachers can make the technology useful and beneficial for the students. Teachers should be aware of the fact that all the tools work differently for the students depending on the need of the student. Experienced teachers will find the best ways to integrate technology into teaching environments. What are your thoughts? Do you think teachers will rely on more online teaching tools in the future?