I’ve written about learning new skills such as cooking and learning the specialist vocabulary can help you get great English. How about computer programming? You like computers and the internet because you’re using a computer now (even a phone is a computer nowadays) unless you had someone print out this page for you. Why not learn to program using English?
Learning a few basics about programming or web design is not difficult to do. If you make mistakes, it is really difficult to break your computer unless you are trying to change your computer’s basic functions.
Codecademy is an interesting place to start practising basic programming and all of the instructions are in English.
You could also look into programming Ruby or Python because both have large communities discussing problem solving in English.
Stack Overflow is also a useful site for solving problems. One of my former students said he improved his English by reading Stack Overflow every day.
These days a lot of people have smartphones. I think maybe only my parents have slim phones that only make calls and receive text messages.
Most people use their smartphones for games or internet surfing or email. Some people use them to time their runs and record how many miles they have run. However, there is a great tool for language learners that doesn’t need you to install an app. It can help coach your pronunciation. Your new speaking coach is the voice input tool. Every smartphone has one and this is how you use it.
First, open your notepad app, make sure your input language is English then click the microphone for voice input.
Next, speak, and wait for your phone to type what you said.
If the words look like what you said, great.
If not, keep practising.
Voice input is rarely perfect but it is often very good, even if I use my hometown accent. Keep practising and you can have more accurate pronunciation.
Since I became a teacher I have been interested in how people use technology to help them study. When I was setting up this website and the social media that I use to let people know about it, I found some interesting ways to use Pinterest and Evernote for language study.
Use Pinterest as a Picture Dictionary
Some people use Pinterest as a visual dictionary. This is an interesting way to study vocabulary and helps you to study by remembering words with pictures even if you can’t draw.
If you use Pinterest, you should follow my English pinboard.
Use Evernote as your Internet Notebook
If you use Evernote, you can take photographs of paper notes, posters and signs and search for the text in the photographs. You can also add web pages, emails, document files and audio. It syncs between devices easily. There is a post on the Evernote blog about how to use it to study in more detail here.
Why not join Evernote by clicking here.