Of all the types of iPhone apps I believe can change the way we learn, language learning apps are my favorite. As a former ESL teacher and a student of the Portuguese language, I know that no matter what lessons or classes you’re taking, if you really want to learn a language you’re always looking for more, more, more resources. Language apps – the good ones – are more affordable than books or CDs and provide a more well-rounded approach to learning.
iStart Spanish, designed by Mirai LLP, is absolutely no exception. No matter how basic the course level, a language app must cover a vast amount of information, and so organization and format are incredibly important. iStart Spanish is very intuitive to use. When you open the app to the main menu, the lessons are listed and labeled. You can scroll through and skip or repeat lessons as much as you want.
Tapping on the lesson gives you an overview of the focus. I really enjoy the way the lesson is set up. Basically, you have three teachers – one who speaks English, and two who speak Spanish (one from Spain and one from Colombia). You can tap play at the top to listen to the lesson all the way through, or tap on each teacher’s text to hear just that part spoken. This makes it easy to repeat and isolate certain parts of the lesson as much as necessary.
At the bottom, you can access a list of vocabulary from the lesson, with definitions and audio examples from both Spanish speakers. Tap the add icon at the top to add any word to your own personal list of vocabulary words to study anytime. Each lesson also comes with a short multiple choice quiz, and a progress bar above the main menu tracks how you’re doing.
iStart Spanish has a clean, easy to use format and great audio. At the price of a latte, it’s a great app to consider if you want to brush up or get started on your Spanish.
iStart Spanish requires iPhone OS 3.0 and is compatible with both iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.