Here are reviews of four high-quality digital tools that can help teach English language skills, courtesy of Common Sense Media and its new Graphite service–a free database of teacher-written reviews of learning technologies.
1. Oh Noah!
Grade Range: K-3
What is it? Comforting character makes second-language mistakes no big deal
Pros: Videos are very short but still pack in lots of vocabulary and funny story lines.
Cons: Some games take a while to load, and some of the timed games move quite rapidly for young kids.
Bottom Line: Oh Noah! provides a solid start in Spanish while building self-confidence and relaxing kids through humor.
2. Mango Languages
Grade Range: K-12
What is it? Conversational instruction outshines many other language programs
Pros: The language instruction goes above and beyond basic vocabulary memorization; kids get realistic usage help.
Cons: The conversation-based program could benefit from more writing activities.
Bottom Line: Language instruction is presented in a digestible, yet thorough way, and kids are exposed to culture tips and other effective extras.
(Next page: Two more English language learning tools)