Learning new languages is always a challenge, more so in a classroom environment, where you have a bunch of students with varied learning capacities and mindsets. Language labs are pretty common these days, but the first one was probably in University of Grenoble in the year 1908. Modern language labs are also known as digital language labs or multimedia language labs, and these are quite common in universities, schools and academies. Known options like Robotel language lab have been revolutionizing the process of language learning with apt use of available technology. Here are some of the other aspects you need to know about educational technology and language labs!
Understanding the need for language lab
Experts agree that the ideal way to learn a new language is to get face-to-face and personal coaching from a tutor. However, given the number of enthusiastic students and limited tutors and language experts, the choices are pretty limited. Language schools do their bit to reduce the class size or the teacher-to-student ratio, but again, these are profit-making institutions that must break even. In most schools, one language expert is working with at least a bunch of 20 students. This is exactly where a language school comes handy, simply because students get more time to speak. Eventually, fluency in any language depends on practice, and language labs offer the environment that these professional classrooms require.
What to expect?
Current language labs use a bunch of choices and options to make the learning process more effective. Students usually have one or more of laptops, tablets, smartphones and Chromebooks, while tutors get their own workstations, which is usually a PC or a laptop with an additional monitor. The setup also includes a server, which can be cloud-based or locally hosted. To facilitate learning, students get headsets that can eliminate room noises, with microphones that cancel voices of the students concerned and not of those around. For the language lab to work, communication and interaction are important aspects, for which data network of the school can be used. For the entire system to work, the right language lab software is also important, which ensure that the students and tutors can work with one another and can get access to resources as intended. It also helps in getting responses from students and feedback from teachers.
As organizations and institutions get bigger, language labs are becoming and more relevant for learning languages, simply because it allows students to participate in the exercises and get adequate practice. These aspects are practically not possible to achieve in a classroom environment. These systems and setups are also relevant for institutions as the demand for language courses continues to increase. With some amazing services, more and more language schools are opting for language labs that works like an investment for the future, and more components, systems, tablets and elements can be added for further expansion. Feedback from students has been particularly great so far in most regions.
The only thing that matters in selecting the right language lab is the kind of support offered by the concerned development. Find a company that specializes in educational technology and has been working in the industry for at least a while. You can ask for references, seek demos and understand the advantages of using their system before taking the final call.