45 Must-have apps for the Foreign Language Classroom

A collaborative blogpost by 
Sylvia Duckworth (@sylviaduckworth) and Steve Lai (@sly111)

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When friend, fellow French AIM teacher and Canadian iPad guru Steve Lai contacted me on Twitter last week with an idea to collaborate on a blogpost, I was excited to jump on board.
A few months ago my school purchased 10 iPads and when I was asked which apps I wanted for my Core French Classes (grades 3 - 5), I started my research.
One of my first go-to resources was Steve’s excellent blog: TeachingWithiPad.org. I immediately went to a blog post called How Can I Use My iPad For Teaching? Practical Ways to Get Started” for loads of advice.
When it came to finding apps specific to the Core French Class however, I quickly felt lost in the iTunes store: where to begin choosing from amongst the gazillion apps? It was quite overwhelming so I started a blog to review French apps: FrenchAppsForKids.
In February, 2014, I invited U.K. Foreign Language iPad expert Joe Dale be the guest instructor at a workshop for French teachers in Toronto. His session was fast-paced and informative and gave me many other great ideas to use with my students.
Below is the “Must-have” list of apps for the Foreign Language Class that Steve and I were able to whittle down. The list is quite extensive, so if you are on a tight budget for the paid-for apps, we have put an *asterisk next to the essential ones. Here they are:
1) Content-consumption apps

Classroom Management
Class Dojo Free (Click
for the web version)
Random Name Selector (Free)
Team Shake $.99 (Great for picking teams/groups)

French apps for elementary students (K - 6)

(NOTE: Many of these apps have options in other languages that are included in the same app.)
StoryToys apps $4.99/ea (all excellent)
eFlash Apps for French $1.99 (turn on “Questions” mode in settings to make more challenging)
Canadian French $9.99
Fun French $8.99 for full version

General vocabulary
*Qui est-ce? Free ($1.99 full version)
4 images, 1 mot Free ($1.99 for ad-free version, recommended)
L'il Red $.99 (Wordless book, great for promoting dialogue)

Translation apps
TextGrabber Translate (Good for travelling to read signs, menus, etc.) $5.99

Verb conjugation
Learnbots Free ($3.99 full version)

General grammar

Le la Free (Great way to find gender of a noun very quickly)

2) Content-creation apps

Digital stories
*BookCreator $4.99
*Puppet Pals 2 Free ($4.99 All access)
Puppet Pals HD Free ($2.99 Director's Pass)
Tellagami Free
YAKiT kids Free
Haiku Deck Free Click here for example.

Songify $2.99
Videostar Free
GarageBand $4.99 (complete version, free for new devices)

*iMovie $4.99 (free for new devices) (Read Steve’s: The New and Improved iMovie 2.0)
DoInk for Green Screening $2.99
Titan Player Free (to download YouTube videos to camera roll.)
Action Movie FX Free but need to buy additional effects.
SloPro $3.99 (Read Steve’s review)

ToonCamera $1.99
Over $1.99
iPhoto $4.99 (free for new devices)
Pic Collage (Free)

Voice recorder
Voice Record Pro Free


Google Search (Free)

Quiz generator
Socrative (Free)
Kahoot! Is also great. Read my blogpost here. (No app but can save on iOS homescreen)

Best QR code reader:

To share projects:
Airdrop Free (available on new iPads) (Read Steve’s: How to use AirDrop)
Instashare (to transfer iPad projects to computer.) Free for iPad, $3.99 for computer (Click here) Note: need both downloads to use this app.
Dropbox Free (Read Steve’s: Dropbox for Dummies)
Google Drive Free(Apps like Book Creator will upload as .epub file. Can read on computer with Readium - a Chrome App)

SUPER COOL feature on iPad (Thanks, Joe Dale!)
Text speech:
Settings > General > Accessibility > Speak Selection (turn on)
- Go to web page in French, highlight, then click on “Speak”.


There is such a wealth of educational apps out there. We hope this list can narrow down some of your favourites. The iPad, if used to its full capabilities, is a fantastic teaching tool. With more knowledge/awareness of creation-type apps, we hope that you can create diverse, exciting and original projects with your class! Whether you are lucky enough to have a 1:1 iPad program, or if you just have one iPad, the possibilities are endless.

Over the past few months, the iPad has become an indispensable tool in my class. French vocabulary apps are a great way for students to spend some extra time at the end of class to build and practice their vocabulary. The creation apps allow the students to practice their French in authentic ways and to showcase their language skills. The camera allows students to personalize their projects and to make videos and trailers. The iPad is particularly conducive to partner/group collaborative work as the students play vocabulary games and create projects together. Finally, the boot-up ease of the iPad saves valuable class time compared to laptops.

Is the iPad a fad? NON! Is it an essential tool in the Foreign Language Class? BIEN SÛR, MON AMI!

Do you have any favourite apps that you would like to share with us? Please let us know in the comments!

About the Authors:

Steve is a French teacher in Richmond, BC, Canada. He teaches French to Grade 1 through Grade 5. He is an avid educational tech teacher, who is always looking to learn more. He has given various iPad workshops in BC, and uses his iPad every day in his FSL class. He enjoys blogging at teachingwithipad.org. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

Sylvia is an award-winning teacher who has been teaching Core French for 30 years in Toronto, Canada. She provides workshops on Technology in the FSL class and can be reached on Twitter and on Google + . You can find her resources at about.me/sylviaduckworth.



  1. I'd love to know, with lots of voice recording options available for free, if there's a particular reason you guys like Voice Record Pro.

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  2. Hi Tammy, Voice Record Pro lets you share your recording in a gazillion different ways, and in mp3 format (and it's free, too)!

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