Four applications that I use every day and one website I use way more than my bank account would like. Here you go!
I have used other methods to learn Spanish and some are very helpful. For example, good old-fashioned flashcards are awesome! Plus, I played a game on my phone that taught Spanish vocab. But the game got old quick, and flashcards can be cumbersome. Enter DuoLingo. What a great resource! I got the full version which is not cheap; however, it costs less than buying Rosetta Stone, so I felt like it was worth it. Duo offers a variety of learning games that keep things interesting. For example, I love the stories. They are a little silly, but I still really enjoy them.
My sister teaches Latin and she says there are four aspects to learning language: reading, writing, understanding, speaking. Duo gives you opportunities in all four categories. Nothing–and I mean not one thing–compares to speaking it with native speakers and making lots and lots of mistakes. But DuoLingo gives me a starting place. Try the free version before you invest. It’s pretty good; I just wanted to learn Spanish faster and needed more content.
Way of Life App
This is one from the class of applications called “habit makers.” I got the pro version after using the free app and finding it an effective way to keep myself accountable. It’s not complicated to use, just enter the habit you want to track, then mark your progress every day. Your choices are “yes,” “no,” “skip,” or “erase” (the last for when you input wrong data). That’s it. The pro app has no limits on the number of habits you can track: I currently have 18. My list includes things that don’t come naturally for me (like uncluttering); things that should not be hard for me but are (like putting my glasses in the case at the end of the day); chronic struggles I will always need extra motivation to achieve (flossing, amirite?!); and lots of wellness related goals (like exercising, tracking food choices, and more). If nothing else, the app helps me remember to do things I think are important but frequently forget (like daily sunscreen). I rarely do everything on the list, but I frequently get 80%. Plus, I’ve made my optician, my dental hygienist, and my dermatologist very happy. #worthit
This is actually one of the daily goals on my Way of Life App—using my Verses App. This is admittedly a niche app and certainly not for everyone as it is a scripture memory app. It’s certainly useful for me, though. I input my weekly sermon text and work on it a little each day (thanks to the Way of Life app). There are several activities (loosely defined as games) that lend themselves to scripture memorization and I find them motivating. In addition, there are a number of biblical literacy tools including an activity to help you memorize the order of the books of the Bible: simply sort the scrambled list of books in the Old Testament or the New Testament. I bought the pro version of this app because I wanted to add other versions of scripture. You might be fine with the free ones, but I wanted to branch out a bit.
BookOrganizer: The free version of this app was just enough to tease me. I bought the complete app almost immediately, but y’all! This is fantastic! See, I have been known—on occasion—to purchase second copies of certain books. It happens like this: I hear about a book that sounds great, I buy it online, put it on the to-be-read shelf (“shelves” if I’m honest), and forget I’ve purchased it.
POINT OF CLARIFICATION: Yes, Sassafras, I HAVE heard of libraries. It turns out, when you are me, it is cheaper (and a whole lot less stressful) to purchase books (see below) than to pay overdue fines. So, settle yourself right on down there Sass. I’ve got this.
But back to the app. You can usually add books by scanning the bar code, though occasionally you may have to search or enter manually. Then, you can organize books into stacks. For example, I have a “theology” stack and a “children’s book” stack. And others. I have other stacks too . . . ! It’s just that “theology” and “children’s” are the biggest ones—as is true for everyone I’m sure.
Now the website. As you might can guess from my excitement over the BookOrganizer app, I buy a lot of books. Luckily, I found betterworldbooks.com. This virtual used-books store offers free standard shipping and affordable expedited shipping. Plus, for every book purchased, they donate a book to a person in need. (Which is to say, a lot of folks in this world have books thanks to me.) And Better World Books does lots of other great stuff—like offering employees paid time off for volunteering—in an effort to increase equity, to decrease illiteracy, and just . . . well . . .to create a better world.
What about you? Fave apps or websites? Let us know in the comments.