Mobile phone apps

With the development of “smart phones” and their “apps” (applications), as well as iPads and tablet devices, the use of mobile phone technology for web-browsing and online social media access seems to be rapidly supplanting the use of desktop and even laptop computers. This presents fresh new challenges (and opportunities!) to teachers, just as they may at last be getting comfortable with incorporating computer-based online learning into their classroom activities.

Listed here are a number of mobile phone apps available on iPhone and Android that teachers might find useful, either for use in classroom cultural awareness activities, or as resources for students to use in homework assignments with intercultural understanding components.


“Sparked” online volunteering

Known as “microvolunteering” or “crowd-sourcing”, this phone app and website allows anyone to spend just a few minutes of spare time completing missions for causes they’re passionate about. The idea is to break down a project into thousands of individual tasks which (usually untrained) individuals can easily do in their spare time. Students can help a museum catalog old photos that have been digitized by adding key words that describe what they see. Other projects include reporting on pot holes, locating playgrounds, reporting pollution, and helping to translate text.

Start microvolunteering…

SBS’ “Your Language” app

Packed with over 60 radio language programs, the SBS “Your Language” app gives you an SBS Radio in your pocket. Features of the SBS Your Language app include: live 24/7 radio program streaming of SBS Radio One, Radio Two, SBS PopAsia and SBS Chill; Program catch-up: every program is available for 7-days on-demand; and Podcasts featuring interviews and features.

Learn more about SBS’ “Your Language” app…


Alla Breve – language learning

Multi language vocabulary learning cards that you can customize. Responds to your regular vocabulary and learning needs. Uses the device microphone to allow you to record yourself and work on pronunciation. Has native speakers to let you learn exactly how words and phrases should sound with a native speaker accent.

Learn more about Alla Breve…

Louvre Museum official app

Discover the Louvre and its finest masterpieces, from the pharaohs of Egypt to the treasure of Pompeii, from Greek mythology to French Romanticism, from the invention of writing to the coronation of Napoleon I, from Leonardo da Vinci to Eugène Delacroix, let the Louvre’s artworks guide you through thousands of years of art and history.

Visit the Musee du Louvre…


Fotopedia Heritage

The Fotopedia Heritage app for the iPhone and iPad draws on 20,000 curated photos taken by thousands of photographers from the Fotopedia community, featuring high res images and information of over 890 UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Learn more about Fotopedia Heritage…

Map Master

For geography nuts, “Map Master” is where it’s at (!!). This educational phone app/game tests knowledge of famous places and capitals around the world. You can also compete against up to 10 friends on the same device.

Learn more about Map Master…


All for Good (Catalista)

All for good” is an open platform for finding and sharing volunteer activities across the web. A number of developers have created apps to let you “find and do good” on your home page, mobile devices, and more. “Catalista” is an app for iPhone & Android that uses the All For Good database and your device’s GPS to provide you with local volunteering opportunities.

Learn more about All For Good/Catalista…


Toontastic is a creative learning tool that enables kids to draw and animate imaginative stories and share them with friends and family around the world. It guides children through the storytelling process – introducing concepts like Narrative Arc, Conflict, Resolution, Characters, and Settings – and opens the door to cultural learning opportunities through its Global Storytelling Network.

Learn more about Toontastic…


Miss Spell’s Class

Miss Spell’s Class is a free original word game that lets players test their spelling skills against the most commonly misspelled words on Players must quickly decide whether each of 20 words is spelled correctly or incorrectly, as speed and accuracy count to get to the top of the class! Available on iPhone or online via the website.

Learn more about Miss Spell’s class…

“Do Good” by Tonic

Each day Tonic gives you an opportunity to do (and share) a good deed. Tonic’s app leverages millions of users to unite individual acts of kindness into a significant movement, benefiting causes, events, animals, and people. Whether it be building a well in Liberia or uploading your favorite pet photo, Tonic offers a platform to LEARN, DO and SHARE.You can then share the goodness with your friends to get as many people as possible doing good everyday. Available on Android and iPhone.

Learn more about Do Good by Tonic…


Google Translate

With Google Translate you can:

  • Translate text between 63 languages
  • Translate by speaking the text instead of typing it (17 languages)
  • Listen to your translations spoken aloud (24 languages)
  • Communicate with another person using speech-to-speech translation in Conversation Mode (ALPHA, 14 languages)
  • Spell out the translation of non-Latin script languages (e.g. Chinese, Japanese, etc..) in Latin characters to read it phonetically (e.g. Pinyin, Romaji)

Learn more about Google Translate…