« Some California High Schools Offer 'Seal of Biliteracy' | Main | Former Undocumented Immigrant Goes to the Olympics »

Innovations: Practicing a New Language Through Technology

One feature of some language-learning labs these days is software that permits students to speak a foreign tongue into a recording device and see how closely their pronunciation and inflection match that of a native speaker, I read in an article written by my colleague Michelle R. Davis and posted at edweek.org this week. The article tells how some parents believe that costly language-learning labs are a worthwhile investment in schools. One of the points in the article is that students can practice speaking a language through some technology tools with less embarrassment than if they would have to try out the language in front of their classmates.

I haven't yet seen any of the kind of labs described in the article in public school classrooms for English-language learners. If you have one at your school district, please tell us about it on this blog.

A comment about the article posted by John Krouskoff from New York state's Clarkstown Central School District spurred me to check out a new free technology tool, called VoiceThread, that I think could be useful in a language-learning classroom. I'm not someone like Larry Ferlazzo, who blogs about technology for language learning on a daily basis, so I may be easily impressed, but I put this tool into the "cool" category.

With VoiceThread, a group of people can comment through recorded messages or text, on an image posted online, such as a drawing or photograph. The founders of VoiceThread call it "a tool for having a conversation around media."

What's important for students who are afraid of making mistakes in a new language is that they can record a comment and delete it until they feel comfortable posting it for others to hear or see. VoiceThread sure has gotten a lot of online publicity, but this was the first I'd heard about it.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments

  • Charles: ELLs in our state ARE required to take State standardized read more
  • Melissa: Maybe I'm just becoming jaded, but this feels to me read more
  • Anonymous: Are you kidding me....UNO is an organizaion that literally destroys read more
  • Meg Baker: Are any schools using ACCESS scores for purposes other than read more
  • Dr. Mendoza: This is great news i must say. Hopefully this DREAM read more