11b) E-learning based tools for speaking activities in foreign language learning

Insa Hartung (German Department, University of St Andrews), Sandra Reisenleutner (Germanic Studies)

Second Session (12:20 – 13:20) 
Discovery Room 2

What is this about?
E-learning has become more integrated into language teaching and is often used to support independent learning. Many activities focus on writing, grammar, vocabulary, reading or listening exercises, whereas speaking activities are less focused on. As contact hours of language classes are often limited to two or three hours a week, speaking should also form part of the self-study process and support language learning outside of the classroom. In order to meet this need, e-learning tools and websites, where speaking can be practiced, have been created. One of them is Voxopop, which offers the possibility to design talk groups in order to let students interact verbally in the target language outside of the classroom. This tool provides additional exercises for extra practice and can encourage rather calm or shy students to speak. Furthermore, it enables students to listen to themselves, reflect on their contributions and work on their progress. The presentation focuses on the use of Voxopop for language learning and will give some recommendations of other websites where speaking and pronunciation can be practiced.

How will colleagues benefit?
Working with speaking activities via e-learning gives language teachers the chance to include verbal exercises outside the language classroom. Moreover, this allows for more focus on pronunciation and articulation as well as grammar and structures; thus, more detailed feedback can be provided to the students. Students may as well gain more self-confidence in speaking, which might then be reflected in class contribution

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