Take advantage of the increasing number of computer-assisted language learning tools that are available for Arabic learners, to work specific language skills. These apps, whether websites or software that runs on your computer or mobile device, can be used to provide the time-intensive drilling and practice that is usually not feasible in class. They can provide excellent exposure and practice in comprehension, pronunciation, and structure.
“Any technology that allows students to do more and better mechanical work on their own, outside the classroom, is something that we need to be thinking about” (Kristen Brustad)
This article is based on the 15 Essential Skills of an Arabic Learner.
Using apps to learn Arabic
There’s no question that using apps to learn Arabic is important part of an Arabic learner’s tool kit. But many language learners discover that finding useful computer-based language learning programs, let alone making good use of them, is often not very easy.
Back in the day, when I was completing my Master’s degree in teaching English, I had an opportunity to take the first course on Computer Assisted Language Learning that was offered in my university. I enjoyed the course a lot, although it wasn’t mostly because of the curriculum that we were taught. My favorite part was sitting in the back row of the computer lab for the entire semester, using web searches, hacks, and authoring programs to begin to formulate all kinds of wonderful apps that would help me teach languages, while pretending to pay close attention to the lecture.
Most of these apps failed. And apparently I was not successful in fooling my professor, who later told me that despite my thoughtful nods during class, she was aware that I was doing my own thing on my terminal there in the back row. Apparently she wasn’t threatened by this, but felt it was an important part of the learning process. Al-Hamdu li-lleh for great teachers!
However, something must have connected in my brain, because I spent the following two decades developing educational software and working as an educational technology consultant.
Based on my experience over the past 20 years, let me give a few thoughts about what software (which I will from now on call “apps”, referring to programs running on any kind of device, whether desktop or mobile, including web-based tools), can and cannot do when it comes to helping you learn Arabic. Continue reading “Using apps to learn Arabic”