Wednesday is usually Spanish day, in our homeschool. It’s not all we do – we also did spelling practice, individual reading, and various workbooks – but a chunk of the day was set aside for Spanish tuition, and Spanish educational apps.
We’ve been using Duolingo for a long time. It falls in and out of favour. It’s an app, which is always an attraction in itself. (There’s also a website but we only use the app.) It’s free, which is a big plus point for me. Most importantly, it can be used independently, without needing my input, to learn and practice Spanish vocabulary and sentence structure. The downside, for my children, is the spelling and typing, the limited graphics, and the lack of high interest rewards. (It takes a very long time to earn Lingots to dress Duo the Owl, and there’s no other “fun” features.)
Gus on the Go
Today, we started using a new language app, called Gus on the Go. My goodness, it is super fun! Bright, colourful, and highly interactive – with lots of vocab, quizzes, and mini-games. (In fact, the mini-games were my son’s favourite part.)
The app is aimed at young children. Touchscreen devices, like iPhones and tablets, enable the very young to operate this type of program accurately. There’s no typing, just touching and listening, so it’s not necessary to be able to read or write. Having said that, it does have practical benefit to any kids who are around beginner level for a particular language. Older children can read the words, as they appear on the screen, and associate the spoken word with the written word.
My children have been studying Spanish for a few years, so the value of Gus on the Go (Spanish version) lies more in the fun gameplay than the actual Spanish content. Now that I know how it works, I’m going to think about buying a different language version as it would better suit absolute beginner level rather than beginner to intermediate. (Of the languages available, Mandarin Chinese is very appealing.)
Gus on the Go is not a replacement for something like Duolingo. However, it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a fun beginner’s app. I think we’ll keep it as an educational game, for short study breaks, and persevere with Duolingo as our main Spanish app. I’d recommend Gus on the Go for students aged 3 to 7 years old, as a learning tool, and for most primary ages as a fun game. (The bubble-catching mini-game was one of our favourites!) For students aged 6 or older, or who are confident beginners or approaching intermediate level, I’d recommend Duolingo as a learning tool.
Gus on the Go is available in the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon*. There are 28 different versions; each language is a separate app. At the time of writing, it cost £2.99 GBP per app. The Ingush version is free on iOS, in the App Store.