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Talking the Talk!


Talking the Talk!

School’s back! Get your students’ chins wagging with these three educational apps.

Sometimes you don’t even have to say a word to get your class talking! Let’s look at three apps that will make stars out of your ESL students.



• Cost: ¥240

• What it does:
This app promotes conversational fluency by giving students prompts for a frank discussion about personality types. Astroloquiz determines what your star sign should be based on how you answer a variety of fun “What if” type questions. All the while, it teaches adjectives and emotions and shows students how their personalities are different from their peers. The app includes a great overview of 90 personality adjectives and how they relate to individual star signs.

• Why it’s great for the classroom: Eight different voice artists worked on this app so your students will get great practice listening to different English speakers. Having so many personality adjectives in one place makes it a perfect one-stop shop for teachers looking to increase a students’ vocabulary and give them great prompts for meaningful conversations.

• Developer:INKids Education LLC
• Platform: iOS
• Website:



MadPad HDsmule-icon175x175

• Cost: ¥360

• What it does: MadPad HD is a video soundboard that has space for 12 user-made videos. You make individual 3.5-second recordings for each space. Students tap each video to see it and can easily adjust the speed of the video to determine what is being said in the video clip.

• Why it’s great for the classroom: You will get some good laughs from your students because of the variable speed that you can play the video at. Try out these ideas: 1) Have students figure out the order of a story created by a you; 2) Get students to read phrases in the 3.5-second timeframe then speed up the video and have them practice repeating the phrases at high speed; 3) Have students match actions on screen to spoken words; 4) Get students to match spoken words or pictures you’re holding to spoken definitions.

• Developer: Smule
• Platform: iOS



PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbitpopout-icon175x175

• Cost: ¥480

• What it does:
This is a beautiful, interactive digital book of Beatrix Potter’s classic Peter Rabbit. It uses authentic drawings from the original story and is read in clear British narration. Tap words to hear them sounded individually and tap the page marker to have the whole page read aloud.

• Why it’s great for the classroom: This app is better for intermediate and advanced language learners. Try out these ideas: 1) Without even reading the story, you can practice modals to speculate about the story; 2) Practice intensive reading by having students listen first, read alone or in pairs, then shadow the text (read the text at the same time as it is being read by the speaker); 3) Make a worksheet that students can fill out as they progress through the story for comprehension practice.

• Developer: Loudcrow Interactive
• Platform: iOS & Android
• Website:

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David Wingler is an Apple Distinguished Educator and an applications developer, having created close to 20 apps for use in K-12 education environments. He is also a teacher at Osaka Kun-ei Girls’ Junior and Senior High.

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