How Bournemouth University has moved language learning to the ‘cloud’

Bournemouth University (BU) has just announced a strategic investment in SANSSpace™, a unique online language lab programme, in their Languages Resource Centre, for use by the School of Tourism and BU’s independent language learners. SANSSpace has been developed by SANS Inc. in the USA, the exclusive developer and worldwide licensor of the Sony Virtuoso™ digital language lab solution

What makes SANSSpace stand out from any other online programme,’ says Paul Barnes, the BU Language Centre Manager, ‘is it’s ability to interrogate video and audio files on any device and from any location. We used to have an older networked lab that limited and constrained access. We have been looking, for some time, at solutions that purported to have a cloud capacity, but found they couldn’t play video and didn’t work across student devices like smart phones, tablets and iPads.  We have been working with SANSSpace over our network, with teachers and students over the last two months, and find it incredibly easy and intuitive to use. SANSSpace can also be easily linked and blended into any other web space. We can also see that it can be applied to other areas outisde of the curriculum; anywhere that requires the interrogation, marking and assessment of video files.’

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Advancing Education: NAACE and LMS for BYOD

The acceptance of a BYOD programme in education will mean an increasing use and importance of video in teaching and learning. One just has to look at how

Universities are now investing in ‘Massive Open Online Courses’ or ‘MOOC’; or equally how any VLE and media publishers are also investing and placing increased levels of video within their web space. If video on demand is going to grow at  such an exponential rate, how can this be managed to ensure effective teaching and learning?

Read the full article in Adavancing Education / NAACE March 2013

‘Free for all’ of content

The consumer based model suggests that access and downloading of video will be a relative ‘free for all’ where choice is driven only by what content is posted and  the ability to access it. However there is no pedagogical or practice based blue print for teachers and students to follow. How for instance, will a teacher or instructor be able to effectively manage video downloads around core curriculum and teaching and learning? How will a student be able to seamlessly interrogate, respond and work with teachers using video in their course work? How will assessment and quality control be maintained?

SANSSpace answers the questions…

SANSSpace answers the question about access and interrogating video from any device, it answers the question about managing access alongside MOOCs by tracking and marking and qualifying content and SANSSpace also blends and protects the IP of content providers like Pearson too. SANSSpace is the learning management solution for BYOD.

The future of language learning is in the cloud

A cloud-based language learning lab that ensures teachers and students are no longer confined to a set teaching time in a designated classroom.

Language teaching no longer requires a specialist language laboratory filled with expensive equipment. To successfully engage students with the wonderment of language learning, teachers must also embrace new technology, which I have seen first-hand can have a positive impact on teaching and learning. For me, SANSSpace represents an important milestone in the development of effective teaching methods for language learning.

Will Harvey, Head of Modern Foreign Languages, Didcot Girls School

There is a quiet evolution taking place in the language learning arena. The era of teachers imparting their knowledge to students from the front of a class has long gone. Instead teachers have an array of tools at their disposal such PCs, SMART Boards, state-of-the-art language labs and projectors to bring language learning to life through video and audio. However, although access to technology has increased the breadth of the material available, teaching is still often confined to a couple of lessons a week. As a language lab based in the cloud, SANSSpace allows students to play audio and video language resources to brush up on their learning via their PC, iPad or smartphone when they are away from the classroom. A language lab in the cloud gives students the ability to practise regularly – something that every MFL teacher will tell you is the key to mastering any language.

See full review in case study section….

A learning management programme for ‘BYOD’

The acceptance of a BYOD programme in education will mean an increasing use and importance of video in teaching and learning. How will teachers and instructors successfully adapt and manage the use of video for their students? A unique new online learning management programme called SANSSpace has the answer


It is now a commonly accepted maxim that student’s access to learning resources will be done on their own devices such as – iPads, Smart phones and tablets. Given the screen quality and the increased speed of the networks (4G) video will become even better, to both view and play anywhere and at anytime. Distance learning programmes, VLEs and many more content aggregators and publishers will be offering video as an integral part of their online delivery. There will be problems and challenges with this increased use of video. How will teachers access and manage video content on student owned devices? How will students interrogate and respond to video resources? How will teachers coordinate and control appropriate video course work? How will teachers track and assess student interrogation and responses to video resources?

A new online programme called SANSSpace can really manage and control video on student devices. Developed by SANS INC the US Development team responsible for Sony Virtuoso language labs, SANSSpace gives teachers and students complete control and access of any and all video resources. Originally designed as purely a ‘cloud’ based language lab, the increasing use of video across the curriculum is transforming SANSSpace into a learning management programme for BYOD.

At the heart of SANSSpace there is a comparative recorder and player of video and audio files, allowing for teacher and student comment, responses and interrogation of those files, wherever they are stored on the network. SANSSpace is a ‘cloud’ based plug in which is accessible from any device, seamlessly ‘blends’ into any web site and is available anytime, anywhere. There is a permission based access programme to both define who has access and for how long; critically any video content played through the programme cannot be copied or downloaded, thus protecting any institution’s or publisher’s ‘IP’. Finally there is a teacher marking and assessment programme to enhance communication and results back to students.

Language Lab ‘App’ for iPads and Smart Phones

SANSSpace developed from Sony Virtuoso networked language labs, now offers student and teacher access via an ‘App’ for iPads and Smart Phones

SANSSpace has a unique online comparative recorder and player of audio and video files combined with a powerful teacher assessment and communications programme. SANSSpace is a ‘web plug in’ solution that adds an additional and seamless extra level to any web site; allowing a student password access to interrogate any teacher posted audio and video files. Students can leave personalised comments on any posted video with their own text audio or video comments for a teacher (or fellow student) to comment on or assess at a later time. There is also a live streamed multi person web chat feature in text audio and video too for ‘real time’ tuition.

SANSSpace is accessible from any device with access to the internet. So students can download the player and related resources on the move, at home or within school.  The audio and video content played within SANSSpace is also ‘protected’ and cannot be transferred or played outside of the format, which helps both publishers wishing to protect their own ‘IP’ and teachers wanting manage and contain important curriculum resources.

For more information on the ‘App’ please contact [email protected]

Language learning on the bus to school

Interactive language learning will now be possible on the bus to school, in the university library or from a student’s bedroom, thanks to the UK launch of a new cloud based software program from ConnectED.

SANSSpace allows students to play audio and video language resources to brush up on their learning via their PC, iPad or smartphone when they are away from the classroom. The software provides every language teacher with the key to what they say is essential in mastering any language – the ability to practise regularly.

Teachers can set homework via SANSSpace, asking students to listen to an audio file or watch a video clip, record a translation, or respond to a series of audio or video questions. The ability to create collaborative groups within the software will ensure students can work together on extended assignments to improve their understanding of the language and their communication skills.

Teachers are in full control – by using content they have already purchased within SANSSpace or uploading freely available content from the internet. They can keep all their students’ tasks and assignments together in one place – for simple marking, assessment and reporting.

Mark Stimpfig, managing and sales director of ConnectED, which exclusively distributes SANSSpace in the UK, said: “With SANSSpace, teachers and students are no longer confined to a set teaching time in a designated classroom. Learning can now take place anytime and anywhere in the virtual world.  This is what language teachers have been calling out for – the chance for students to practise their speaking and listening skills outside the designated teaching hours. This is the first truly virtual language laboratory to be launched in the UK.”




SANSSpace is set to transform language learning across the country and installation is about to proceed at a number of universities and secondary schools. It is currently being used by a number of institutions in the Middle East and the United States. Dr Mustapha Masrour, teaching administrator and director of both the Language Learning Centre and Foreign Language Education at Hofstra University, New York, is using it with their 11,000 language students: “SANSSpace is a radically new way of delivering data to students and other users both on and off campus. Its online digital recorder provides students with more time to speak, listen, and self-evaluate than in a traditional classroom setting.”


For more information, please visit or call 0844 800 9375.

The benefits of using a ‘cloud’ language lab


Now students can benefit from using a language lab outside of the classroom using their own devices anytime anywhere

The original tape based language labs were one of the first technologies to be used in a classroom; their aim was to improve the four basic skills of language learning, listening, speaking reading and writing. Since then newer technologies have replaced the old analogue tape machines.

Language labs are now ‘digital’; they play video and can access web sites and other interactive media. Students learn and improve on the four key skills using contemporary media combined with a new array of editing and recording tools which help embed language skills more effectively.

In one sense though we haven’t moved on, as whether you have an old analogue or a modern  digital language lab, the use of it can only happen inside a languages classroom. Until now…as ‘cloud’ language labs can be accessed across a whole campus or from student owned devices at home or on the go.

A language lab in the cloud

Called SANSSpace and developed from Sony Virtuoso networked software labs in the USA, students and teachers can now get all the benefits of improving the 4 key language learning skills – anytime anywhere. SANSSpace has two unique features which make it a true language lab in the ‘cloud’. Firstly the comparative recorder and player allowing students to individually practice record store and share their responses to text, audio, video resources. Secondly a sophisticated teacher communications programme to allow for summative assessment and marking by individual or cohort grouping. Also because SANSSpace runs via a web browser the programme is accessible via student owned devices, wherever they can get an internet connection.

Key benefits of a language lab

It is important to reaffirm that the benefits of using a language lab remain the same. A lab will improve listening skills – in a classroom and individual using audio and video files. It will improve speaking skills – individual, paired, groups again using audio and video files. A lab will facilitate the better presentation and demonstration of language skills, using text, audio and video instantly. It will monitor and guide students – discretely and in group intervention as required. Statistics show that labs will increase the number of students taking languages, attract more boys to study languages, significantly improve the Speaking Test results obtained and encourage peer-assessment and parental involvement.

Now even more accessible

It is equally important to now say that using the new SANSSpace cloud language labs make all these benefits more extensive and more accessible. There is less need to wait for classroom access, students can log-on in their own time, download resources pre-prepared by teachers and practice all the 4 key skills, wherever they have time and on their own devices. All that they have worked on can then be marked and assessed by their teachers so that their learning is truly embedded, as they have more time to review, practice and improve.

GEMS WORLD ACADEMY chooses Sony Virtuoso

One of the world’s top international schools, GEMS WORLD ACADEMY in Dubai, has invested Sony Virtuoso language lab software. Himmat Sandhu the Director of Operations at GWA comments…


Sony Virtuoso gives us both the ability to manage this rich media effectively and improve their learning of languages. Students practice learning a language using audio, video and internet files as individuals, in pairs or in groups. Our teachers spend more time working with students as both a whole class or in differentiated groups, delivering improvements in the critical areas of speaking listening, reading and writing. Many of the other labs we looked at could not provide clear and synchronous audio for the students and teachers. When we tested and installed the Sony software the audio was excellent and ticked all the key IT boxes. The distributors, ConnectED have provided our Academic staff with an immersive staff training multi-media programme, which looks not just at how to use the wide feature set of the software but also how to integrate audio, video, internet and other multi-media files into a seamless classroom delivery.

PC Pro Magazine gives Sony Virtuoso top marks

‘Provides unmatched potential for learning and interaction’

PC Pro magazine has given Sony Virtuoso language lab software a 5 star rating in its October 2012 issue

‘Sony’s user interface stands out, and will appeal to students and teachers alike. Launching files, collecting work and closing files is highly intuitive and, while mistakes can be made, they are easily rectified.

The two greatest features for teachers are the ability to listen live and interact with what students are saying in their oral work, and the ability to operate all the features anywhere in the world so long as the student has Soloist on their machine.’
Read more: Sony Virtuoso and Soloist review | Software | Education | Reviews | PC Pro