Nowadays, smartphones and tablets are helping both children and adults learn foreign languages. There are a lot of educational applications for learning new words, making sentences and repeating standard phrases. However, is educational software really able to make us speak a foreign language fluently? What features are important for a really effective application for learning foreign languages? Is it possible to create an application able to ensure developing all the types of speech activity?
There is a large amount of Android and IOS applications focused on developing different speech activities. However, the most of them are aimed at developing two kinds of speech activities: reading and listening. It is not enough! A person should develop all the main kinds of speech activity (reading, speaking, listening and writing) at the same time to make the learning process effective. In addition, people usually need mobile applications, which enable not only to improve the knowledge level but to control progress. A very important feature for educational mobile applications of this kind is speech recognition. However, it is the most difficult one to develop for both Android and IOS devices. In some cases it demands a large amount of time and resources, but it doesn’t function well.
So, the most important features, which a successful application of this kind should possess, are:
Interactive grammar exercises;
Reading small texts and interactive lexical exercises;
Improving pronunciation using speech recognition system;
Learning new vocabulary provided with images, pronunciation and some examples;
Learning answers for typical situations;
Checking the progress;
Listening words and small texts;
Creating sentences and phrases from words.
The complexity level depends on target group the app is aimed at and should take into account age features of potential users. There are so many languages in the world people want to learn and mobile devices can be very helpful in this process. So, development educational apps makes a large niche on the mobile application development market.