Apps for English Language Learners – Episode I – Bitsboard

By Meghan Fahey

In today’s rush for technology, it’s easy to get bogged down in the latest and greatest apps and programs. It’s also easy to jump on every single free app. I found myself several times in my first few weeks wringing my hands and thinking, “These all sound great, but which ones are actually useful? How do they actually work? When am I going to have time to figure this out? I wish there was someone who had a “cheat-sheet” or tutorial, or who actually tried all these and speaks ESL/ELL!” Well, through several formal and informal conferences with colleagues, I’m making my way through the maze of apps to find the gold nuggets for all of us. I’ll share my findings here on the blog in an ongoing series. Hope you find it useful! Below is our first ‘episode’.

Flashcards
Flashcards

Bitsboard is like a collection of all sorts of learning checks you could think of doing with a student. More than one student could work with it at a time, as shown with the games icons below. Nonverbal to advanced ELLs can use the fun games to quiz themselves with pictures, spelling, and a variety of other approaches to vocabulary and simple language comprehension.

Through the Bitsboard catalog you can instantly access thousands of carefully

Story Time
Story Time

curated lessons by fellow teachers, parents, and students from all over the world. Bitsboard is fully customizable.  You can easily create your own boards, add multiple users, and tweak the settings of every game to your liking. Bitsboard is a global learning platform.  You can share your custom lessons with one click with anyone via the Bitsboard catalog, so you and the gen ed teacher can be on the same page and, if the student has his own ipad outside of the classroom, they have a study guide right in their hands.

Fair warning: I had to sit down with my ipad and play around with this app more than expected. Like many apps, once you are familiar with how to work across the

Pop Quiz
Pop Quiz

catalogue and you know what each game looks like and how it operates, it is particularly useful. The website is helpful with an introduction to how to use it. And, if you are data-driven (or your school is), you can manage and track users (students).

For further questions and to suggest additional apps to feature, contact Meghan directly.

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