We are paid for teaching. That’s fine. But we shouldn’t forget learning and getting help from others is no shame.

Here are some recommendations you should have a look at.

Free media collection

The world of the internet, while gradually being usurped by the refuse of marketing, is still home to many enthusiasts. The people behind the internet archive are some of them. This is a non-profit site, where you can find copyright-free material like literature, audio files, video and images. It might take you a while to find your pearl there, but it’s well worth a try.


A reliable bilingual version can be found at the PONS website. The Linguee project is also a good candidate here. It comes with the additional feature of seeing the word “in action” by showing you many examples produced by professional translators. Others like Leo or present their findings as word lists and lack extensive usage notes. Thus they can be helpful for teachers, but may be misguiding for learners. Things are better with Langenscheidt or Cambridge, which just like PONS above offer you the complete contents of their printed counterparts. Collins has many great printed dictionaries, but their bilingual online dictionary drew many blanks during my test.

Many monolingual dictionaries are also interesting for teachers and learners. Oxford University Press offers their free English dictionary in collaboration with Lexico. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, still the flagship of Oxford dictionaries, is also available, but some extra tools require a purchase. The dictionary itself is free. The same is true for Cambridge dictionaries. You can choose from different dictionaries from their main site or you directly jump to the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary from here. Collins has a very similar offer and can keep up with the others in every respect. Another strong competitor is Longman. Both Collins and Lexico (Oxford) also offer a Thesaurus on their sites linked above.

If you want to access the 600,000 words of the Oxford English Dictionary, however, you will need to be a paying user.

One final thought: It is sad to see the offline applications on CD or DVD go. Their functional scope was superior to their online pendants in most cases. They were expensive, yes, but I miss their focused servitude without any ads popping in my face as well as their independence from the internet. I don’t miss their system-crippling copy-protection schemes.