Thursday, 7 October 2010

Free promo codes for Cambridge's Phonetic Focus app available

The very kind people at Cambridge Online have given me ten free promo codes for their latest iphone/ipod touch/ipad app Phonetics Focus to give away. These are only for the US itunes store (unfortunately) so you’ll have to have an account there to take advantage of it. I’ll do it like this: the first ten people to comment on this blog post will get one of the promo codes so you can download the app for free (retail price in the UK is £1.19, so I’m assuming it’s about $2 in the US store).

I don’t have a US account so I actually had to buy the app myself (!) but I didn’t mind. The app is based on the Cambridge website of the same name and is a website that I have been recommending to my students for months now to help them with their English pronunciation. There’s loads of great games and activities to do on the website, versions of hangman, matching, mazes, pelmanism.

The iphone/ipod touch app is a pared down version of what’s on the website, but it’s still the best ESL/EFL pronunciation app out there. There are four sections in the app:

The first section is the whole phonemic chart, you can click on the symbols and hear the sound.

The second section is simply an illustrated poster of the phonemic chart, showing the sound, a word containing it and a picture of the word. It’s a shame that there’s no interactive element here, it would have been useful to be able to click the words and hear them. The one useful thing you can do here is take a snapshot of certain parts of the poster using the camera icon on the page. 

However, the next section does give you those words from the poster on individual pages for you to click and hear. 

The last section is a short quiz section where you listen to two similar phonemes and have to choose the correct one.

The app isn’t as fully featured as the website (which is a shame) but it’s still one of the best EFL/ESL apps out there. I haven’t been impressed by the quality of ESL apps on the market, it’s mainly unexciting vocab list/quiz apps so it’s encouraging to see companies like Cambridge begin to release stuff which is a bit slicker and a bit more involved. Hope to see it continue.

So, anyhow, add your comments below and the first ten get the promo code to download for free.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Video review of flashcard apps for ipad and iphone

In my previous post I had a look at some of the flashcard apps available for the Android platform to help ESL students revise vocabulary. I've also now done a shortish video review of a couple of similar apps available for the ipad and iphone. The review itself was done on the ipad as I don't actually own an iphone but these apps are or will be available on both devices. I looked at Flashcards Deluxe Lite and Flashcards Plus and at the end I also created a short clip about the Quizlet website.