Student Insight Into Grammar Apps

by Brooke Simmons

The NY Times recently reviewed three apps that have the objective to improve English grammar for both native speakers and the everyday student through the use of technology. These apps not only teach, but test your ability for conjugating words, word tense, and everyday grammatical mistakes such as misused contractions, punctuation, and pronouns. I, myself, do not possess proficient grammar skills due to the multiple acronyms and texting abbreviations used now-a-days. It is very easy to become lackadaisical when it comes to something you do every day, and these apps help you become mindful lazy language practices.

The apps “Practice English Grammar” designed by Cleverize, “LearnEnglish Grammar” from the British Council and “Grammar Up” created by Webrich Software, offer free grammar basics for both Android and iPhone users. Each of these apps provide various interactive activities including matching games, timed assessments, and correcting errors within sentences while using the English language as the foundation. After completing the task you are given, each app provides you with a progress report that allows you to check how you are doing, which in my opinion, encourages you to continue using the app to improve your skills.

Although these apps can be used by anyone, the free, basic lessons are generally effortless for someone with an education passed the fourth grade. If you are looking for more challenging lessons and exercises, the apps offer different modules that require a payment ranging from $1 per module to $10 monthly. I could see how this would discourage most people from proceeding with the app passed the basic levels. Although the more advanced premium modules go into greater depth, I cannot see myself  purchasing them. As a college student,  I’d rather not spend my extra money on an app when I have higher essential purchases that need to be made

To my own research, I found the app “Practice English Grammar”  appealed to me most based on its overall design, presentation of material, and organization of different levels. Instead of being like most learning games with dull and mundane presentations, “Practice English Grammar” is colorful and made me even forget at one point that I was doing a grammar activity. The app appeals to different learning styles such as fill in the blank, multiple choice, and even games. It alternates between these different styles which gives each learning ability a chance to shine  while also keeping the app interesting. I believe that this is an optimal quality for a learning application to have, considering everyone has a different learning style.

While the NY Times only presented facts about the apps, I don’t believe that the review can truly help and/or persuade someone into using the app. Ratings and reviews from everyday people giving their honest opinion would be a more ideal promotional method. In my opinion, I would rate the “Practice English Grammar” app a solid 7/10. The free basic lessons are good for a quick, fun refresher on your grammar skills, but I would not pay for the more advanced modules. Perhaps if the basic app gave samples of what the more advanced modules consisted of, it would persuade me further into purchasing it.

With technology playing an important role in a person’s everyday life, having these options available opens a new window of learning right at your fingertips. Instead of searching the latest trends on twitter or posting what you’ve eaten for lunch on Instagram, you could use that time to enhance your grammar skills.

See the NY Times article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/29/technology/personaltech/video-feature-english-grammar-aids-for-both-native-speakers-and-students.html

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