Your students are ditching the books for iPads.
And now you’re ready to see just how this technology can spice up your French teaching.
Because mixing in new teaching methods truly can open exciting doors for both you and your students.
But with so many apps out there, it can be a little overwhelming to get started.
That’s why we’ve selected the current 10 best apps for French teachers—so you don’t have to go digging around for the good stuff!
Why You Should Use Apps for Teaching French
These apps offer an array of benefits for any French teacher:
- New teaching experience. Apps are revolutionizing the classroom, and for the right reasons. Teachers now have tools to stay on top of their students, keeping records of students’ behavior and progress, organized all in one place.
- Convenience. Mobility means that you can literally take your devices anywhere and still have access to content. Gone are the days when you (and students!) had to carry heavy bags filled with various books. Having an iPad or a smartphone means that we can all make do with a single, weightless device. And unlike websites, apps don’t always require Internet connection.
- Variety of content. Apps are a great way to keep your students engaged. They never know what’s coming! Lessons are progressive, interactive and highly visual, and allow you to bring a wide range of content to your students, from audio and video to quizzes and games.
- Parent engagement. Apps can greatly improve your students’ progress by allowing you to build a relationship with their parents. Communication between teacher and family can greatly increase the chances that a student will effectively do their homework.
So, let’s dive into it, shall we?
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10 Best, Shockingly Good Apps for French Teachers
Ascendo’s French-English Dictionary
Even for us teachers, dictionaries always come in handy. This fantastic app lets you search and browse for words just like the good ol’ Larousse.
Ascendo’s bilingual dictionary is the most popular dictionary for iPad and iPhone, and was even selected by Apple as “What’s Hot” in over 40 countries. Compiled and updated by professional linguists, it works offline and boasts no less than 121,000 offline entries and 727,000 when you’re online. The dico includes translations, audio pronunciation, usage examples, gender of French nouns and even images for some entries.
To top it all, there’s also a phrasebook with 20 categories that can help you make lists for your students, along with a verb conjugator for thousands of verbs that you can email and print out (which is also excellent if you need to hand out clean, ready-made conjugation lists). Finally, you can use their multiple-choice vocab quizzes to make the lessons a bit more fun for your students.
Innovative Language 101
This app features an extensive library of French language lessons, which can be helpful to find inspiration while designing your own curriculum, or to add their content to your mix—which includes video and audio lessons.
Starting from absolute beginner all the way to advanced levels (and even business French), you’ll have access to multiple lesson tools, such as PDF notes, line-by-line transcripts and vocabulary lists with audio. All interactive content has a playback option, allowing you to easily replay difficult parts to your students, whenever you need to.
You can also stream or download content if you’re concerned that you may not have an Internet connection in class. The cherry? You can create your own learning plan and curriculum, allowing you to stay in control of what you want to teach. The app is not free, but offers a free 7-day trial.
FluentU is the app that allows students to learn French in a more natural way.
Teachers and students have access to a huge library of French videos, organized by skill level (newbie to native) and category, with new videos added each week.
Every word is carefully annotated so that learners have the support they need. Videos can be watched with or without interactive French or English subtitles, and every word comes with an in-context definition, image, audio and multiple example sentences. You can even tap a word to see how it’s used in other videos across the site. Say goodbye to spending hours searching for good videos on YouTube and hello to focusing on actually teaching your students.
Perhaps the most interesting part of FluentU is its Learn Mode. Learn Mode takes videos and turns them into French learning lessons. The lessons are fully personalized, so that the student’s learning history is taken into account when presenting questions. FluentU’s algorithm sets students up for success by teaching them based on what they know. You can assign videos, audios or flashcard decks to your classes as homework, and FluentU does all the progress tracking for you!
It’s perfect for in-class activities, group projects and solo homework assignments. The FluentU app is available to download on iTunes and Google Play, and you can also use the website from any browser on a computer or tablet. Try the free 15-day trial today and see what the buzz is all about!
Quizzes and games can be frivolous. Brainscape believes that its methods, based on findings in cognitive science, can help your students greatly improve their language skills.
Developed by former Yale and Columbia language specialists, Brainscape stimulates your French learners’ brains to help them learn French vocabulary faster.
The app features the most important French words, all introduced based on their level of complexity, making it perfect for beginners to intermediary learners. With over 3,000 audio flashcards and hundreds of key sentences, there’s enough to keep you busy.
Do a quiz or play a game together as a class using a video projector, or use the app as a group activity if your students are all equipped with their own mobile devices. Teachers can track students’ individual progress as the app gives you ongoing feedback and stats.
Voted Apple’s App of the Year in 2013, Duolingo is rapidly becoming the new way to start learning a language—and their tagline says it all: “A college-quality education without the price tag”!
What’s most revolutionary about Duolingo is that they’re proving that learning French can be as addictive as a video game.
The app basically revolves around a series of engaging mini-games, where gamers (read, students) win points for good answers, lose points for wrong answers, but also earn badges and lingots, and even compete against their friends (or other students).
All lessons use a lot of colorful visuals and cartoonish illustrations using 30 fun characters. New vocabulary is introduced through images and grammar points are explained in speech bubbles.
For teachers, that’s an incredible way to keep your students engaged through test-like games. Students are challenged to keep their score high and need to pay attention to new lessons to advance their score. It’s also great for motivation, as users can set a specific learning goal.
The app allows you to test your students’ writing, reading and speaking skills, and is also completely free with no ads.
News In Slow French
Let’s be frank. We all have high ambitions for our students, but teaching them French news can be a challenge.
Enter this app. The title says it all: Short segments of newsworthy topics are introduced via audio podcasts where the news is read at a slow pace.
Programs include a weekly news recap, which you can play at the beginning of class, and then let students discuss recent French news.
The app also features an extensive selection of topics, and all lessons include transcripts that you can print out, perfect to help you create a very comprehensive lesson.
You can stream and download the podcasts, so if there’s no Internet connection in the classroom you can still use these!
Edmondo is rapidly becoming the leading social learning community in the country. It allows teachers, students and their parents to connect and communicate, share documents, polls, assignments and quizzes. This is a great way to let parents know what’s going on in class, but also to ask students for feedback. If you’re planning to organize a cultural class trip for example, why not ask students what they think? Do they favor the French bakery or the French art museum?
The app itself is modern and sleek. Its intuitive interface allows all users to track a student’s progress over time. Students and parents need to log in via the app, and are required to submit personal information (nothing too personal), so check with your school first to make sure that this is in line with administrative policies.
The app is available both for desktop and mobile, for Google, Windows and Apple users.
If you’re having an issue with parent engagement, this is the app for you!
Remind offers teachers a free, safe and simple way to send reminders to students and their parents. The app lets you text them reminders, assignments, homework, assessment, voice notes from class or motivational messages directly to their phones without users ever seeing each other’s phone numbers.
This is also great if you’re having trouble coordinating face-to-face meetings with parents, as the app allows you to have an ongoing dialogue with them.
All reminders are sent as emails, texts or phone notifications. They have the time and date, and you can send group messages if necessary to save time. You can also schedule messages to be sent out at a future time.
Now, this one works for iPad, iPhone and Android, and comes either in a free or pro (paid) version. But you might love it so much that you won’t really mind the (small) price tag.
Teacher’s Assistant is the perfect way to keep track of your class’s progress. The app allows you to document in detail each student’s individual actions and behaviors, such as their infractions, personal achievements or participation in the classroom. You have the option to do so in real time, at the end of each class or anytime you see fit.
You can create and store your students’ list, organize them into groups, store their parents’ info, and even communicate directly with students and with the school administration through email reporting. The app is safe and protected, requiring a pin code to use.
Aside from being our favorite way to take notes, Evernote is a huge step towards the paperless classroom!
From short lists to lengthy courses and extensive research, you can use Evernote to create folders and organize notes by categories. The app lets you clip interesting articles from the web, so you can save anything interesting that can be useful to create your next lesson. Evernote has a great search feature and synchronizes instantly on all your devices, from mobile to desktop.
You can also use it at the end of the class to note what has been said in the classroom, or even to share certain notes containing tips, classroom etiquettes or exercises with students and parents.
Easy enough, right? Apps can dramatically enhance the French teaching experience and improve your students’ learning experience. Give it a try, and let us know what you think!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to teach French with real-world videos.