English language learning software/ websites
Considerations when using the software/ websites:
What are their strengths?
• Can be used independently by students
• Good at building vocabulary and short phrases
• Model correct English
• Provide feedback
• Available at different levels
What are their weaknesses?
•Tasks are de-contextualised – they are not curriculum linked. Language learning is most effective if linked to the curriculum.
•Many mostly focus on vocabulary, rather than sentence structures and longer texts.
•It is better to learn a language through ‘live’ speaking and listening activities with peers/ adults.
Advice for use of the websites:
- Monitor students’ progress and ensure that the activities they are completing are appropriate for their level of English.
- Supervise students where possible.
- Students should use the websites for short periods of time only as part of a wider programme of support.
- British Council website for teenagers:
Includes reading activities; videos for developing listening skills; writing and speaking activities (to be added soon); grammar and vocabulary activities; videos, games, puzzles and competitions; a magazine written by young people.
- BBC Learning English site:
Appropriate for learners with some English, rather than complete beginners.
Lots of activities and information including grammar challenges and pronunciation guidance.
- English Space
Has 60 hours of lessons designed for EAL learners in the UK.
- Podcastsinenglish.com - Natural conversations on a variety of topics including photocopiable listening tasks, vocabulary worksheets, webquests etc.
Software to buy:
- Babbel -
Courses at different levels to improve grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation skills. Includes a ‘review manager’ that identifies what has been learnt and areas that need further work and adjusts exercises accordingly. Also includes an integrated speech recognition tool that enables students to test and practice their pronunciation.
£8.95 per month for 1 month
£5.95 per month for 3 months
For dyslexic children but can be useful to help EAL pupils e.g. with phonics
- Clicker (Crick Software)
Software to support writing and also reading.Provides extensive visual and audio support, and includes sentence building activities.
For free downloadable Clicker Grids go to ‘English for beginners’ Clicker Grids CD contact MGSS on 024 7671 7800
- English Hero
Software to support reading, writing, speaking and listening.
- Includes a ‘text-to-speech’ feature which allows a learner to listen to a text read aloud.
- Whilst reading or listening to a text a student has access to a full Dictionary that not only provides a clear definition but places the word into a contextualised sentence, which aids understanding.
- There is also a Picture Dictionary containing thousands of pictographic images.
- To support writing, there is a Prediction tool which brings up a list of potential words as a user types. They can then click their intended word from the list and enter it directly into their text.
- Also includes a Pronunciation Tutor.
A variety of programmes with activities designed for UK school students learning EAL.