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.