Client (Student) Module
Students can work with or without a teacher monitoring them. Students log in, then select their course and the desired lesson from the pull-down menus.
- Each lesson is a sequence of items (activities or exercises), usually with instructions telling students what to do.
- Items normally have visual or sound material of some kindshort or longthat the student views, reads, or listens to: clips or images, audio clips, written instructions, documents (perhaps a section of a textbook), Powerpoint presentations, etc.and call for an oral response the student records or a written response using radio buttons for true-false, multiple-choice, and aural discrimination questions, checkboxes for checklist answers, and text boxes for fill-in-the-blank boxes or larger ones for free-response or essay-type answers.
- Items usually have audio clips with recording pauses for responses, but some may simply ask a student to recorddescribing a picture or asking questions of someone shown in one, for instance, summarizing or commenting on something presented in a video clip or document, or recording text the module displays or that the student has written.
- Some items may be listening-comprehension or aural-discrimination activities that call for clicking or typing to respond but do not require recording. Others may be entirely text-based, with reading and writing but no sound clip or recording.
- A quickly-created "just in case" lesson can have items without any audio clip or text, so that a teacher working with a class who hasn't had time to prepare a lesson can improvise one by asking questions and making the Client module record each student's responses.
- Items may also feature other combinations of video, an image, a Web page, a sound clip, recording, written questions, typed answers, etc. Combinations of functions and resources allow integrated teaching of all skills (including knowledge of the civilization), with one resource of an item that targets one skill reinforcing other elements that target other skills. (For a white paper detailing combinations of functions and how they might be used, click here.)
(Click on the image above for a larger expandable view.)
LangLab combines recorded responses with the model utterances of the item for easy comparison no switching back and forth between tracks is required.
Lessons are flexible:
- They can have as many items as desired.
- Audio clips can be short or long. They can have a single prompt and recording pause or many prompts and recording pauses, for practicing some aspect of phonetics or grammar.
- Items can ask students to respond by clicking on radio buttons and checkboxes, or by typing answers in text boxes, rather than by recording.
- They can also ask students to record something without listening to something first: a poem, song, or prose displayed in the text window. When students can sit together, they can use a stand-alone microphone to record a conversation divided into segments (items). LangLab's Let'sT@lkClient module, however, supports pair and group discussion for students who cannot sit together and share a microphone, and the Let'sT@lk modules give an instructor far more flexibility in forming pairs or groups.
- Simultaneous interpretation items can have a student listen to something in one language and record an interpretation in another language. The same mechanism lets a student listen to a clip and record what the speaker is saying in the same language.
- The text window may display just a brief instruction telling students what to do, or it may display questions and answer boxes, or a longer text students read, such as a passage from a novel or a scene from a play. As students type answers to questions, the window scrolls automatically. The teacher can use fonts and colors to draw students' attention to key elements in the window.
- Small pictures linked "internally" to items pop up when a student comes to the item and disappear when the student goes to another item.
- External materials (video clips, larger images, documents, Web pages, etc.) linked to items pop up when the student clicks on the URL button.
- Short explanations of what buttons do appear when the student holds the cursor over the button for a moment. Messages also remind the student of what is being played or replayed: the original clip, the student's recording that includes the original clip, etc.
- A teacher using the Monitor with a class can take control of the Client module for each student and play a clip or initiate recording for all, stopping as desired. This mechanism not only lets the teacher comply with rules for listening or recording of standardized tests, it also lets the teacher use "empty" items with no audio clip or other resources, so that the teacher can ask questions live and improvise lessons there was no time to prepare before class.
The student can replay the original clip or the recording with responses as often as desired. A progress bar shows the student where in the clip the current point is and where recording pauses occur. With a single mouse click it's possible to jump forward or back in a clip to practice something. A recording light with a time counter tells students when to record and how much time is left to respond.
Lessons are automatically retrieved from a server and the students' recordings are automatically saved on the server. Teachers can easily retrieve a recording by choosing the student's login name, the lesson, and the item from menus.
Teacher/Student Interaction and Feedback
The client module includes a Call Teacher button allowing students to call and speak with their instructor in real time. The teacher can also record comments inserted at any spot in a student's recording. A message notifies the student whenever a teacher has inserted comments in the student's previous recording for an item. The teacher can similarly comment on the student's participation in pair or group recordings (using the Let'sT@lkClient module), and the Client module will notify the student who uses it to listen to the conversation afterward if the teacher has inserted comments in a segment.