Those interested in learning a new language outside of school have a lot of options. There’s CDs to pop in the car – great for listening, not so great for reading. There’s always books, which have the opposite problem. And there’s tons of great, interactive computer programs, most of which come with a pretty big price sticker.
How about an interactive, fun iPhone app for less than the cost of the CD or book?
Maria’s Spanish Class, designed by Pigobo, is a tightrope walk between study and games. As someone who has both studied a second language and taught ESL, I think this is a great program for anyone interested in beginning Spanish.
One instantly attractive feature is the profiles – as in more than one. When you open the app, you set up your own profile with your name, and your progress is tracked as you go through the course. Because you can create multiple profiles, family members can use this app too, and work at their own pace.
I will say that, like with most language learning programs outside of the classroom, you need to be a fairly self-motivated student to get the most out of this app. Maria’s Spanish Class has nine levels plus a Grammar Index, and each level includes a Study and Practice module. For example, in level 6, Routine, you can study new grammar like reflexive constructions and prepositions. Each sub-topic is clearly defined with examples, translations, and other notes.
You can also study the topic’s vocabulary. New phrases are displayed in both English and Spanish, along with an excellent audio recording of the phrase spoken in a native accent. You can also hide the Spanish translation to practice – read the English phrase, say it aloud in Spanish, then tap the sound icon to hear if you were right.
After study comes the fun part. The Practice section features game-like quizzes for each level which focus on a different aspect of your lesson. Practice sections includes filling in the blanks, a drag and drop multiple choice, or Picture Popper, where you are given a collage of images with one phrase, and you must find the image that matches the phrase. After each practice, Maria shows you your score, and provides an interesting historical or cultural fun fact.
For less than the price of a book, you’re getting a comprehensive program that covers reading, writing, hearing, speaking, and visualizing beginning Spanish. The bottom line? Maria’s Spanish Class is a fantastic deal.
Maria’s Spanish Class requires iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later and is compatible with both iPhone and iPod Touch.