How things have changed in Windows 8:
However, if you remember Windows 3.1, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
Faculty Workshop Spring 2014: "Mira, mamá! Sin manos!". Practice speaking L2 with automatic intelligent feedback by operating LRC PCs through speech recognition instead of keyboard/mouse
- When: March 28, 2:15-3:15, April 4, 2:00-3:00
- Where: LRCRoomCoed434
- What: Language learning speaking practice assignments with automatic intelligent feedback using Windows Speech Recognition
- As part of the foreign language tools we installed with Windows 7 this past Fall, we got speech recognition on the LRC PCs for 6 languages (English, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish ) representing over 85% of our enrolment.
Unlike the speech recognition that comes with learning content packages like Auralog or Rosetta Stone
- which had to be purchased, for individual languages, but stopped functioning on the server on a long time ago,
- was limited to built-in content ,
- was restricted by a separate account system,
Windows Speech Recognition is
- free (with the operating system), runs on the local lab pcs, and should be a bit more robust,
- content agnostic and hence can integrate flexibly with your curriculum and contribute meaningfully to your students’ progression,
- can be integrated with the existing user accounts.
We combine Windows speech recognition with the new LRC screencast software, MS-Office and Moodle to offer a simple self-access assignment type that
- is available on all 45 LRC PCs (= scales even to large enrolment languages and 1st-year classes that cannot use the 24-seat Sanako for face-to-face speaking proficiency training)
- and blends the “artificial intelligence” of speech recognition with human intelligence to provide students with immediate automated feedback during pedagogically sound speaking practice, with minimal grading overhead for the teacher (= grade secure assignments by looking at the very end of a student-submitted screencast).
This workshop will show actual speech recognition usage and assignment samples
- so far in English, French, German;
- if you want to bring your own samples to this workshop – there might still be time- , or to an upcoming faculty showcase, I can help you during my biweekly LRC clinics (see LRC main schedule, or schedule your own).
We will step you through – hands-on, including tips&tricks – a sample voice training and assignment completion: Better than my made-up assignments would be if you could bring one or more concrete tasks to be solved using speech recognition that we could prepare assigning to your students. Here are some parameters for that:
- Speech recognition can replace mouse and keyboard when operating the computer. Voice commands are simpler than sentences, so this could be a beginner task, as long as you have students study the (limited) command vocabulary (which I will make available during the workshop).
- Speech recognition can replace any writing task with dictation. Suggestions for proficiency levels:
- I have dictated a web page assigned for reading comprehension in a textbook used in 1200 or even a as a false beginner.
- However, a one-time training helping the computer recognize an individual’s voice is required and comes sentences that vary in complexity between languages
- English: very easy, Beginner level;
- German, French: let’s have a look together, I’d say 1202 level;
- Japanese: 3000 level, I was told;
- Please test with me during the workshop: Spanish, Chinese.
- Download the SlideDeck (too big too embed)
- have not pre-installed in the LRC (for that the extension would need to be more manageable by the teacher during face-to-face classes, which include exams),
- but can (with some reservations) recommend the Google Dictionary extension (even though it is only available for Chrome). Here is why:
- Google dictionary extension provides an interface to Google define and translate
- that is convenient (as quickly accessed like glosses) for reading activities in many languages (Q: is the privileged word sense displayed here intelligently chosen?)
- while (for some languages more than for others) providing access to additional word senses, usage examples and historical background information
- Interface 1: Tooltip,
- for English with audio
- for other languages without audio (even though audio pronunciation may be available in Google translate for that language):
- convenient access (I have been loving the tooltip interface since Google toolbar days)
- limited, but useful information,
- Interface 2 (“more”)
- For English, a click on “more” leads to the Google “define”search operator (the related etymology search operator has been reviewed here before):
- Interface 3: unfold the search results by clicking on the down arrow at the bottom to access additional information: =
- additional word sense entries
- frequency data
- translation/dictionary entry:
- for our learners of languages other than English, the translation appears right in the tool tip, see above;
- for our ESL learners, this seems a few too many steps for accessing this information, although a monolingual dictionary is useful in many instances also.
- For languages other than English, a click on more leads to Google translate, which (should get its own article, but for what it is worth) can be
- more limiting than “define”: While you are given multiple word senses for
- for many languages the results are much more limiting:
- Still no per-user tracking? Here it would make sense for the user.
Neallt 2014 is featuring a presentation on “Using Quizlet.com to generate and share vocabulary activities” (William Price, University of Pittsburgh). I cannot attend, but the program inspired me to hold my own sneak preview:
Quizlet.com is yet another site that provides a variety of flashcard and quiz activities for a given wordlist. A nice example is the “Speller”activity – which proves a text-to-speech generated aural cue for dictation (not included in this video):
Then the application re-prompts for user input and allows user correction:
This is a “Test activity. Foreign language character input seems easy (but does beg the question since the inputs appear only when they are needed…)
Mix-and-match is called Scatter:
Quizlet supports many dozen languages, including non-western, including ancient, not differentiating between modern and ancient Greek, but the browsing capabilities – admittedly a hard task – are somewhat flat (search and language)):
And boasts 20 million sets (as of today – many consisting of 2 terms or few more). As so often, usefulness for class instruction hinges on the availability of textbook-aligned vocabulary lists. However, if you have them with your textbooks, Quizlet makes it automatic to generate uploaded materials into exercises.
However, as said, you may not like how much you have to dumb it down.
- Available here – in spite of the prominent user login button, you do not need to sign up.
- Rather simply click the “Select Chapter” to get started.
- You then have access to some of these types of exercises, per chapter:
- Free (a (free) account is not needed):
- Tutorial Quiz
- Web Search Activities
- Heinle Playlist
- Google Earth Coordinates
- Web Links
- Not free
- What this content is good for:
- Practicing. Including with a tutor, for since this content is not assessed, there is no ethical issue if the tutor helps with these materials.
- It is from edition 8, which is not the current edition – but I expect it to be still reasonably to the current chapters chapter:
- Le commerce et la consommation
- Modes de vie
- La vie des jeunes
- Les télécommunications
- La presse et le message
- Le mot et l’image
- Les transports et la technologie
- A la fac
- La francophonie
- Découvrir et se décourvir