iPad and iPhone apps for learning Indonesian

These are just a few of the apps we’ve come across that are worth exploring. There’s also a great list of Modern Foreign Language apps at

Apps for digital zen (tools / “productivity”)

Synchronises with Google Calendar, just like iCal, but unlike iCal keeps any colour coding.
Use it to: Update your timetable (in Indonesian!); share a calendar with your group with an action plan for an assignment; set up SMS reminders with vocab lists; put in the dates of Indonesian holidays; count down ’til the holidays…

Store files in the “cloud” and many iPad apps export to Dropbox directly. Think of it as a portable USB flash drive.
Use it to: Keep a backup of your work; access your files from anywhere; update files on the run.

Your portable brain. Record notes, save photos, passwords, jottings, etc.
Use it to: Record notes anywhere, anytime; take snapshots of board work and make it searchable via handwriting recognition; take meeting minutes; share group folders for collaborative tasks

An excellent way to catch up with your RSS feeds. Presents feeds magazine-style and is a pleasure to read.
Use it to: Subscribe to your favourite Indonesian magazines, blogs, websites, etc. Get them ‘home delivered’ whenever there’s new content without having to remember to check for updates.

Google Translate
This even has speech-to-text-to-speech translation capabilities.
Use it to: Look up single words or get the gist of a sentence. But often a dictionary app is better because you’ll see the words in sample sentences hence getting an understanding of context.

iAnnotate PDF
App for annotating, organizing, and sending PDF files. Gives you a range of highlighter tools and colours, stamps, free-hand drawing, etc.
Use it to: Mark-up texts for analysis (e.g. highlight all the words you know; circle the nouns; put squares around any advertising, etc.); get your work edited by a peer or teacher; collate documents for easy reference later.

Writing / Note Taking

Apple’s slide making/presentation app.
Use it to: Create and present slideshows; flashcards; talking books; choose-your-own adventures; etc.

Making Sequences
Put user-created images/tiles in order. Great for storyboarding.
Use it to: Consolidate any sequencing task; recount the steps for an activity; write procedures; make action plans.

A great note-taking app with synchronised audio recording – hit record and your handwritten/typed notes will be synced up to the audio. When you re-play, tapping at a particular point in your notes will take you to that corresponding point in the audio. There’s other audio note apps around, but this one allows you to use different colours, fonts, bullet points and insert images and web-shots. The updated version also works well with a stylus for handwritten notes, giving you a writing space that then shrinks your writing to fit with other typed text neatly.
Use it to: Take notes; meeting minutes; dictation exercises (play back the recording and check/edit work); annotate web shots and images (and take notes around them); create and answer worksheets (with audio!).

Apple’s word processing app.
Use it to: Access and create documents and import/export in a variety of formats (e.g. MS Word); use it with an bluetooth keyboard for extended writing tasks; word process!

Side by Side
View Web pages on one side and take notes on the other. Syncs with Dropbox.
Use it to: View authentic texts and take notes in Indonesian!

Take screen-shots, annotate, and mark-up images with ease.
Use it to: Annotate and mark-up photos and screen shots; use the stamps to illustrate work; use it as a portable whiteboard; have races to write vocabulary and hold it up for all to see!

A StoryLine begins with someone picking a phrase: it may be a quote, a vocabulary word, whatever. A friend illustrates the phrase as best they can. A third friend titles that picture (without seeing the original phrase), a fourth illustrates that title, and so on, building a chain of goofy drawings and interpretations.
Use it to: Reinforce new phrases and vocabulary. Very similar to Pictionary, but with a twist! Encourages group work.

Brainstorming & Mind Maps

Cool post-it style brainstorming app. Users can “flick” their post-it notes from their own iPad or iPod to the host’s iPad to display all together.
Use it to: Collaborate on a card cluster; sort ideas (or vocabulary) into categories with colour coding; write continuous stories; summarise work at the end of a lesson; jumble up words/sentences to be unjumbled together.

Another great mindmapping tool (coloured branches!).
Use it to: Construct a mindmap about a topic following mindmapping rules.

Syncs with online version to create collaborative mind maps.
Use it to: See the changes over time made to a collaborative mindmap.

One of our favourite brainstorming apps. It just seems to flow, looks good, and makes sense. Nice incorporation of graphics in popplets. Now synchronises with online, collaborative Popplets.
Use it to: Brainstorm graphically; draw connections; rearrange and re-flow.

Content Creation / Storytelling

An iPhone app, but works well on the iPad too.
Use it to: Record audio and automatically blog it. Great for podcasting.

Coach’s Eye
Record commentary and annotations over the top of video.
Use it to: Add subtitles to video; add annotations to video; create your own karaoke; point out certain features of a video.

Comic Life
The iPad version of Plasq’s excellent software for creating comic strips.
Use it to: Annotate and storyboard images and photos from the camera reel on the iPad. The finished products look fab! Excellent for year book contributions and worksheet creation too.

Comic Touch
Create comic-style annotations on photos/images.
Use it to: Add speech bubbles and captions to photos/images; create a cartoon story using your own images.

Garage Band
Apple’s “must have” music/audio creation tool on the iPad and iPhone. Also brilliant. A real “OMG” moment when you first use it.
Use it to: Create podcasts (and royalty-free background music for podcasts); record and analyse your speaking; record interviews and oral assessments; distort voices; record audio responses to certain beats; analyse spoken texts in terms of pitch and volume.

Apple’s “must have” movie/video creation tool on the iPad. Brilliant. Check out the “trailer” creation option – it includes a storyboard next to filmed footage! Great for teaching/learning the process skills involved in digital storytelling.
Use it to: Answer all your movie-making and editing needs.

Puppet Pals
An excellent stage!
Use it to: Create your own puppet show video with audio. Update to pro to be able to use your own backdrops and characters!

Shadow Play Wayang Kulit
An Indonesian alternative to PuppetPals
Use it to: Create your own play with a typical Indonesian subtext commenting on political issues!

Create books with audio.
Stretch the concept of “book” to much more than that! Read Ibu Tundi’s use of StoryKit to conduct a “continuous interview” between students at two different schools: http://www.indo5.net/apt-app

Digital storytelling made easy (slides with audio).
Use it to: Create a slideshow with audio and upload it to YouTube in a few simple steps.


Dragon Dictation
This advanced dictation software now speaks Indonesian!
Use it to: Test how students’ pronounciation stands up! Can Dragon Dictation understand them? Also useful for students who have difficulty writing, and for creating transcripts.

Make photo greetings that talk!
Use it to: Put words into someone’s mouth; create characters based on someone else’s description; create avatars.

iPrompt Pro
A great teleprompter.
Use it to: (Students) Create prompts for role plays and other speaking tasks. NB: This also makes it a writing task!

Interview Assistant
Enter interview questions and record responses for each one with ease.
Use it to: Set up templates for speaking assessments; record interviews; practice interviewing!

One of the better audio recorders around.
Use it to: Record spoken texts; record loooooooong audio.

Talking Tom 2 (et al)
Records your voice as a talking tomcat. “Talking Gina” is a giraffe one, “Talking Ben” a dog, “Talking Larry” a bird, and so on.
Use it to: Practice vocabulary; drills; create mini (non-identifying) videos; update to Pro for clothing such as Chef’s hats and Pirate costumes and act out in style.

Location-based Apps / Augmented Reality

7 Scenes
Link media to places to create digital stories based in real life.
Use it to: Create augmented reality digital stories; tours; scavenger hunts; murder mysteries; tours; interviews; “Amazing Race” style challenges; game-based learning exercises.

Aurasma Lite
Create animations (3D!) and images/photos on top of reality.
Use it to: As above with 7 Scenes. I can see great potential in creating school tours with this! And the ninja is a lot of fun.

QR Code Reader and Scanner
One of the many QR readers around.
Use it to: Follow the clues in a treasure-hunt; access online information from offline texts (e.g. from a bulletin board; classroom window; etc); access a video to see the meaning of a paragraph or sentence; access the website associated with a product. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code)

Designed for the iPhone/iPod. Record audio and link it to a particular geographical location. Great for location-based activities.
Use it to: Create location-based treasure hunts; tours of school; create a “media scape” on the school oval.


Broadcast quizzes and users respond from their own devices
Use it to: Check for understanding; participate in a vote; hold elections; revise content.

(Comes installed)
Free video-conferencing Facetime-to-Facetime (both iPads must be on WiFi). Also works with iPods, iPhones, and laptops/desktops.
Use it to: Video conference. We’ve used this for barrier games – hook up laptop to data projector in classroom, and video conference with class-mates who have the iPad elsewhere in the school (even outside the door). Unfortunately it does not work on our school network and we’ve had to use 3G for internet access.

Google + (for Google Hangout)
A video-conferencing option – a good choice if Skype/FaceTime are blocked at school.
Use it to: Hangout! We’ve done multiple tours and conferences with Google Hangouts with no problems using our restricted school internet access. Google Hangouts has replaced our use of FaceTime and Skype.

Screencast a PowerPoint/Keynote presentation from your iPad to remote viewers.
Use it to: Broadcast a presentation to parents/students at home; invite guest speakers to share a presentation with the class.

Skype for iPad
Skype hardly needs a description, it’s a verb unto itself!
Use it to: Video conference.


Ekspedisi Cicin Api 2011
Produced by Kompas, this app contains issues of a National-Geographic-style magazine about locations along the Ring of Fire. In Indonesian.
Use it to: Explore natural wonders of Indonesia; learn the science behind Krakatau; discover how earthquakes have changed the world.

Google Earth
Beautifully designed app for exploring the world.
Use it to: See Indonesia (turn on geographical features to see why it is called the “Ring of Fire”!).

Memory: Matching Pairs
Create matching pairs games with up to 5 seconds of sound per image
Use it to: Revise vocabulary; test listening skills

VLC Player
Plays just about any type of video file.
Use it to: Play video when iTunes won’t. Has a streamer and remote control also available – great potential for whole-class viewing exercises controlled by the teacher/one student.

World TV HD Lite
Who needs Foxtel anymore? Watch TV from around the world.
Use it to: Compare different world-views on current events as they happen.

Vocabulary Learning / Flashcards

A+ Pro
A nice way of creating flashcards. Audio and visuals can be included, and it looks swish!
Use it to: Memorise vocabulary items in terms of sounds and images rather than translations

Language Perfect
The iPad version of the popular online vocabulary learning challenge. There is also a separate version for the World Championships held every year.
Use it to: Learn and reinforce vocabulary items. Add to your Language Perfect score!

Create spelling quizzes in any language (spoken and written).
Use it to: Learn vocabulary; quiz yourself; generate wordsleuths; share the quiz with other users; track student achievement.

Fab app! Works with the “smart cover” on the iPad for look-cover-write-check
Use it to: Revise vocabulary; test yourself.

Vocab Battle
Take or pick a photo and put your face in the game. Then fight it out against a nearby opponent using Bluetooth; or invite your friends online; or find a match through Game Center.
Use it to: Challenge friends to vocab battles (there is no single player mode).

Vocab Video
Linked to the gesture method and developed by Independent Schools of Victoria. Students video record gestures related to vocabulary items. Indonesian interface available.
Use it to: Learn vocabulary items and test yourself. Create vocabulary lists for other people and test them!.

There’s also a lot of vocabulary learning apps around, but they are often versions developed for other languages. Some are better than others.

Indonesian-specific Apps

7-Eleven Indonesia
Find the location of 7-Eleven stores in Indonesia and see street-view pictures of them.
Use it to: Get a sense of what Indonesian street-scapes are like; access and decode advertising.

50 Resep Nasi Goreng HD
Nasi Goreng is a staple in Indonesia!
Use it to: Learn new recipes for nasi goreng. Follow instructions and create MasterChef worthy dishes!

Aneka Resep Kue
Lots of recipes (in Indonesian) for yummy kue!
Use it to: Practice following instructions.

Animal 101 Indonesian
Cutsey app for learning the names of animals. Huge leap in levels between the beginner and advanced.
Use it to: Evaluate app design and make recommendations for improvement.

Antara News
Antara‘s news app
Use it to: View/read the news from an alternate source to Kompas and The Jakarta Post. Compare and constrast!

Antologi Keris
A collection of comics from a variety of artists all with their own story to tell about the keris. Beautifully illustrated.
Use it to: Learn about the keris; practice reading skills; create activities with authentic images of market scenes, battles, streets, etc. The profiles of the artists are also excellent reading texts.

Bola Sports News
A magazine dedicated to the soccer world!
Use it to: Explore Indonesian perspectives on international soccer.

Berkah Ungu
From the band Ungu, their songs and video clips, music scores and updates.
Use it to: Find out all about the band; write them fan mail (or critique mail!).

Buku Sekolah
All of the Indonesian curriculum textbooks available for download.
Use it to: Extend background speakers/follow the Indonesian curriculum; authentic texts; even just the illustrations are great to use!

Cosmopolitan Indonesia
Popular lifestyle magazine for women (in Indonesian). May not be suitable for younger learners (adult content but not explicit due to Indonesian censorship laws).
Use it to: Learn what girls in Indonesia are interested in; the latest fashion trends; movie reviews; makeup tips; shopping tips; etc. Compare with the Australian version for cross-cultural (and censorship) analysis.

Detik.com for iPad
Detik’s news feeds.
Use it to: Access the latest news from Indonesia

Access the latest catalogues and promotions from a variety of stores and services (e.g. banks) in Indonesia.
Use it to: Support learning in a shopping-themed unit; grab discounts online!

Gatra Magazine
Issues of Gatra for a range of prices.
Use it to: A good resource for upper-school studdents to read different opinions on social and political issues. Similar to Tempo magazine

Gramedia’s e-book reader with store.  Lots of free books.
Use it to: Read the latest books in Indonesian (great for books that accompany films!)

Groovia Lite
A “one stop multimedia service” for Indonesians, brought to us by Telkomsel (Indonesia’s largest telecommunications provider)
Use it to: Watch TV!!!!!! Incredible!!

An OK kamus app, but Google Translate is better a lot of the time.
Use it to: Double-check the meaning of words when you think Google’s got it wrong.

Indonesian Eye for iPad
Exhibition of Indonesian art.
Use it to: As a stimulus for description; get a sense of the Indonesian art world; enter a virtual gallery.

The Jakarta Globe
Jakarta daily newspaper (in English).
Use it to: Get an appreciation of the news from a middle-class/upper-class Indonesian perspective.

The Jakarta Post
Daily Indonesian newspaper in English
Use it to: Get an appreciation of the news from a middle-class/upper-class Indonesian perspective. Compare it to other news sources in Indonesian.

Kamus Lengkap Pro
An OK kamus app.
Use it to: Get the translation of words with sample sentences to check for context.

Popular forums in Indonesia.
Use it to: Participate in forum topics; get ICT advice and help; find out when the next iPhone is due out.

Komodo Encyclopedia
A cutesey interactive ‘encyclopedia’ about the komodo dragon, available in both Indonesian and English.
Use it to: Practice reading about Indonesian animals, habitats, and endangered species.

Kompas.com for iPad
Indonesian newspaper with the largest circulation.
Use it to: Read the news from Indonesia, in Indonesian. Compare with other news sources. Absolutely invaluable text.

Kompas.com Editor’s Choice
Cut down version of Kompas
Use it to: Catch up on the news when you don’t have time to read the entire newspaper.

Majalah (Gramedia)
MUST HAVE – $1 magazines designed for the iPad including Hai!
Use it to: Read all of your favourite magazines!! Magazines also have audio and video content embedded.

Masak Apa?
What to cook when you don’t know what to cook! Focused on tips and Indonesian ingredients.
Use it to: Great resource of Indonesian recipes. Lots of authentic images of what ingredients look like in Indonesia.

Masakan Indonesia
Cutsey recipe app (in Indonesian)
Use it to: Learn more recipes to impress others with your culinary skills.

MetroTV News
Serves up MetroTV’s news in one app, much like ABC’s iView.
Use it to: Catch up on the news and compare to other sources.

Movies currently playing in Indonesian cinemas (in English and Indonesian)
Use it to: Find out what to purchase on DVD a few months later! Read synopses and reviews of current films.

Orange Plus Digital Magazine
Lifestyle and travel magazine in Indonesian
Use it to: Plan your next trip to Indonesia; find out popular holiday destinations for domestic tourists; budget for a trip; compare domestic tourism suggestions with international ones.

Pavilion Mall
Shopping centre directory in Jakarta. One of the first Indonesian iPhone apps.
Use it to: Find your way around a shopping mall; put your shopping vocabulary to use.

Radio Indonesia Alarm Clock & Recording
Easily record (selected) Indonesian radio stations – and wake yourself up with them too!
Use it to: Record your favourite programs; record snippits for listening tests; email yourself radio shows to listen to later; wake yourself up to Indonesian radio instead of Kyle & Jackie-O.

Radio & TV Indonesia
Allows limited viewing of some internet channels.
Use it to: View and listen to Indonesian television and radio. Unfortunately channel choices are quite limited.

Raos Pisan
Restaurants in Indonesia with user reviews.
Use it to: Read and review Indonesian restaurants in Indonesia. Similar to Urbanspoon.

Revi & Awang Sepak Bola
Cutsey iPad book about sepak bola.
Use it to: Read a story about sepak bola; use it as a model for your own digital story; read aloud for someone else until the second last page and make them guess what happens next.

Scoop Magazine Reader
Indonesian magazines and e-magazine store. Some excellent cooking magazines in particular.
Use it to: Access magazines not published by Gramedia.

Selera Nusantara
Recipes (some in English, some in Indonesian)
Use it to: Impress others with your culinary skills; gain an understanding of the different dishes unique (“khas”) to different areas of Indonesia.

Seputar Indonesia
Daily newspaper in Indonesian (free)
Use it to: Compare to other news sources (this one is aimed at middle-class Indonesian men).

Sparkling Surabaya
Pretty pictures of Surabaya (in English)
Use it to: A stimulus for discussion; make yourself jealous about people who visit Surabaya!

Tempo Media
Tempo Magazine in both English and Indonesian.
Use it to: Read commentaries and opinion pieces about Indonesian politics and finance.

Themis Reader Light
Undang-undang Indonesia (!!) Reference. Pro version with all the undang2 also available.
Use it to: Brush up on your knowledge of Indonesian law.

Timun Emas
A well-illustrated version (Japanese manga style) of the popular Indonesian folk tale, in Indonesian.
Use it to: Practice reading and listening with embedded cultural understandings.

The Busway app/timetable for Jakarta. A very early iPhone app.
Use it to: Plan a journey on the busway; learn major landmarks in Jakarta; discover the Indonesian transport system.

There’s a lot of Indonesian radio apps around as well – worth checking out.

Indonesian musical instruments

Angklung (free)








Game Tools
Dice, timers, buzzers, score cards – everything you need for in-class (and out of class!) games.

Too Loud?
A decibel meter!
Use it to: Monitor classroom noise. When it gets to the red zone during “quiet work”, students are too loud! And during speaking work, if it’s green, they’re too soft :)


What would you add to this list? Please comment below!

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