Have you heard that expression before?
It describes an application / piece of software that is so valuable or useful you want to buy the computer just to be able to use it.
The first killer app was a program called “VisiCalc.” It was a finance spreadsheet that saved accountants a lot of time. Before this program was invented, an Apple computer was bought for fun. But after this killer app came out, people bought the computer just to use the app.
For me, the killer app for the smart phone was Google Maps. I resisted buying a smart phone for years. Then on a trip to Lisbon I got so lost trying to find a restaurant where my friends were, I was about an hour late and almost missed them. Of course I asked directions on the street. But Lisbon streets are like a plate of spaghetti. Plus, the look on everyone’s face said, “Who is this idiot who doesn’t have a smart phone?”
So now that you know what a killer app is, is there one for English?
Is there one app or program or website that is so valuable it would be worth buying a computer /smartphone just to be able to use it?
I say, Yes.
I’ve tested many myself, talked to friends about which they use, experimented on my students, and read the research.
Also, I asked you yesterday to tell me which apps you’ve used and what the results were.
Most of you said you improved “a little” or “I didn’t.” (75%)
But we want to know about the students who improved “a lot.”
Study the winners, right?
So what app or apps did the successful students use?
I was surprised.
Some used Duolingo. Some bought the To Fluency program. One person used an app called “Simpler” which I had never heard of.
And while I’ve had friends tell me they’ve improved with Duolingo and Memrise, I’m not a big fan.
In fact, almost everything you can find online that teaches you English makes at least one of these mistakes:
- over teaching (i.e. too much information about grammar)
- you practise translating vocabulary (You develop the translating habit and never learn to think in English.)
- it’s boring. (If it’s boring, then you simply won’t do it.)
So how did the successful students improve “a lot”?
What was the one thing they all had in common?
That’s what I’m calling the killer app.
And I’ll tell you what it is tomorrow.
And no, it’s not my program.
Instead, expect the unexpected…tomorrow.