High School Spanish App – Spanish Teachers LOVE it!

Posted on September 12, 2013

The Best All-in-One App to Study Spanish and Learn Vocabulary

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Rory & Leslie Foster (Founders of Common Ground and developers of High School Spanish app) with their 3 bilingual children in San Jose Costa Rica on their summer ’13 Spanish immersion programs

Since day 1 (which was back in August of 2011 when we started working on content) this Spanish app has been developed with both students and teachers in mind. We wanted High School Spanish to be the best on the market, and to be as comprehensive as possible. We exhibited our first prototype at ACTFL 2012 and released the first public version in the App Store in February 2013. Just a couple of weeks ago we released v 1.7 & it’s amazing!

The 2012 – 2013 academic year was important for us as we traveled to several regional language conferences and got a sense for what teachers want from a mobile app and what students need to improve their Spanish proficiency. Based on feedback from teachers, this summer we completed a few crucial updates to High School Spanish so that it’s truly the best resource that Spanish students and teachers can have at their fingertips.

Here is what is new in the High School Spanish app and why you’ll want a copy for your classroom and be excited to share it with your students and their parents!

  1. Text to Speech integration: this is the fancy way of saying that you can press the speaker icon in the dictionary, flashcards, and elsewhere to hear words pronounced. It’s a great feature for improving pronunciation accuracy and helping auditory learners study.
  2. Quizlet Integration: Quizlet.com is arguably the most expansive flashcard database in the world. You can find flashcard study sets from basically every Spanish textbook series or vocabulary theme. Many of you Spanish teachers already use it with your students; if you don’t you should seriously consider it. It’s incredibly user-friendly and now you have access to it through High School Spanish App! We’ve been so excited to finally integrate Quizlet – and allow teachers to interact directly with their students and study the exact vocabulary you want them to learn – we hope you love it as much as we do!
  3. Wordreference Translation tool: Wordreference is our preferred online dictionary. We always suggest it to our students. When we first started building the app, they weren’t offering any way to integrate their dictionary into mobile apps – but about 6 months ago they began to support mobile integration!  We were so excited we switched our translation tool as quickly as possible. FYI: In the app, you’ll use the translation tool only if you’re searching for a word that we don’t have in our dictionary yet. We’re constantly adding new terms, but there are a lot of words out there! Building a dictionary is quite a project. Anyway, you’ll love the Wordreference integration!
 
How is High School Spanish a good resource for Teachers?
We wanted this app to be as great for Spanish teachers as it is for Spanish students. Teachers are so busy with the day to day cuidando a sus estudiantes that it’s tough to be innovative and generate or collect great resources for the classroom. A couple of the sections that teachers have been most excited about are:
  • Comprehension: We’ve collected and created a substantial list of RELEVANT reading and listening comprehension activities that are authentic texts and leveled 1 – 5 for you to use with your students. You could project from your iPad or have students work individually on them.
    • We just uploaded a reading on Mexico’s Independence Day (Sept 16) – check it out!
    • We are putting the finishing touches on Day of the Dead & Sea Turtles now (both relevant for fall months) and will be uploading them soon as well.
  • Grammar: Ever get bogged down in rules and charts? You’ll love the grammar section of the app. Not only does it lay out difficult grammar topics in common sense language with examples, we’ve also produced some videos of irregular verb conjugations to aid in recall.
  • Dictionary: doesn’t it bother you that your students use mindless tools to just give them a translation? They can look up comes and get the translation “you eat” without ever making the connection that it’s an ER verb (comer) in the present tense tú form! A few other insights about our dictionary:
    • Technology is great, but in many cases it’s doing the work for our students and our students are missing learning opportunities. With this in mind (and knowing that some people would hate it) we built the dictionary like a traditional dictionary – there are no plurals, no conjugated verbs, no phrases, etc. The idea from our perspective is to be a resource without doing all the work that actually helps a student learn.
    • Our dictionary isn’t unabridged by any means, but we’ve got 32,000 terms now and its growing weekly! For most entries you’ll even find synonyms, antonyms, and expressions as well.
  • Spanish Flashcards & Writing Tips: We didn’t make significant changes to the basic Flashcard Section (apart from the Quizlet feature above) and Writing Tips sections in this latest release; they’re still as strong as they’ve always been!
We think you’ll find that for $4.99, you can’t go wrong – High School Spanish App will help you in your classroom – it’s a must have for anyone teaching or studying Spanish. At a minimum, take a minute to read the reviews in iTunes – almost all 5-Stars!
Please consider adding High School Spanish to your list of recommended resources for students and share it with parents at your “back to school” night – or any other appropriate time. Now you have something to tell them when they ask: “What do you recommend for ___________ to get some extra practice at home?”
 
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