At Brookfield High School, a new world language lab helps students improve speaking and conversation. They can communicate with partners through headphones, and record their conversations to review their speech later. The recordings help improve their accents and language development.
The $100,000 lab is for English speaking students learning a foreign language, and for English language learners to improve their spoken English. the 30 computers have software called Soloist which allow for conversations with peers and teachers, as well as record their voices.
“I feel a lot more comfortable speaking when it’s one-on-one with someone across the room,” said Alex Heckmann, a senior taking Advanced Placement Spanish. “Despite not having the face-to-face connection, you still feel like you’re talking right to them.”
Students find that the software is easy to use, and that the activity helps them in preparing for the AP test.
“You catch mistakes that you wouldn’t normally hear yourself say,” Heckmann said. “Because when you’re speaking, you’re not playing back everything you said. But then hearing it back, you’re able to pick it up, like ‘Oh that’s not the right form. I need to fix that before the AP test.’”