Category Archives: CALL / TELL

Using technology in the teaching and learning of languages

Start Learning a New Language in January!

Join the uTalk Challenge!

Software can’t teach you to speak and understand a language, but it can certainly help you get started with essential vocabulary and practice listening and speaking.  uTalk is an iOS app available for a number of languages that is both useful and fun.  Only the most basic level, however, is free unless you join the uTalk challenge.

If you sign up at, you’ll receive on January 1, 2016, a code to unlock the uTalk Essentials level of the app in your chosen language completely free.  Eurotalk, the company that makes uTalk, will check in with you each week to see how you’re doing.  If you complete the Essesntials level by the end of January, you can receive another language for February and so on each month.

Note:  The uTalk app is only available on iOS.  However, if you don’t have an iOS device, send an email to so that an alternative can be worked out.

For more information, including a video of some competitors in the 2015 challenge, go to



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Mindsnacks and Earworms

Are you looking for a new way to learn or review words and phrases?  Do you have a mobile device?  Take a look at Mindsnacks and Earworms!

Mindsnacks offers a series of ‘games for your brain’ in a variety of languages.  The games are easy but addictive and review vocabulary, spelling, and grammar.  In the game at the right, you click on the number you see and hear.  If you’re correct, the frog’s tongue collects the number.  Even better, the app keeps track of your progress, so you can easily see what you have mastered and what needs more repetition.

Earworms plays on the idea of catchy tunes that stay stuck in one’s head to teach essential words and phrases in a number of languages.  Available for iOS and Android, the apps are basically audio files that display words and phrases on a screen.  The site offers PDFs of both the lesson content and grammar tips.    The screen below is a sample of the Russian lessons.

Unfortunately, the lessons for these apps are not free, but you can sample them before you buy.


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FrancoLab: Practice French via Canadian Culture

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The FrancoLab site‘s tagline is  ‘Une façon simple de perfectionner son français’ and it delivers this service through a series of activities focused on Canadian language and culture.  Most of the activities are video-based, with downloadable pedagogical activities that accompany short videos on a wide variety of topics.  In the ‘Projects’ area, for example, is a series of short videos about a young French couple immigrating to Québec.  Other videos narrate Canadian folktales and legends.  There are also videos about vocabulary and expressions.  In the ‘Collections’ area are videos about the past of specific buildings and short documentaries about French among the Inuit.  Finally, a set of activities are based on the Ça bouge au Canada website.

Both learners and teachers can search the pedagogical materials by level in the ‘Fiches pédagogiques’ section.  There is also a ‘Quiz’ section to help learners check their listening comprehension.

Whether you are trying to improve your comprehension of French or preparing for a trip to Canada, this site is an interesting place to start.

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Interested in other tools to improve your French?  Try these:

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