Most teachers and schools simply don’t have the capital to set up an expensive language lab. Check out our ROI calculator to see just how much you’d need to spend to get a lab off the ground. But thanks to today’s new technologies, there’s no need to invest in costly equipment and software. If you’re looking to give your students the best learning experience possible, use these low-cost ways to get your students talking.
Use Mobile Apps
These days, nearly every student will have their own phone. Take advantage of that by having them install educational mobile apps. For example, our cloud-based speaking app lets students access their lessons, exams, and other content from anywhere in the world. They won’t have to make a trip to school to practice their speaking skills or complete assignments. Best of all, you can assign them more difficult or creative homework, as they’ll be able to interact with the software on their phone.
Extempore is best for assigning students work, but there are other apps out there to help them learn new material. FluentU is an app with a huge repository of English videos and quizzes, while Sanako is an app known for its excellent text-to-speech capabilities. You might even want to encourage your students to download games in English to help them learn while having fun. Trivia Crack is a fun trivia game they can try, while Word Search Puzzles is a great word finding game.
Just because you don’t have a lab to work in, doesn’t mean you can’t use technology in the classroom. Take advantage of a projector, computer, or television to watch videos in English during your next class. If you have to, buy a couple small tablets that students can pass around. While that will involve some expenditure, it is far cheaper than the equipment used in a language learning lab.
Choose your favorite English films, and have students watch clips during class. Then have a discussion about the clips, asking questions like who the main characters are, what they are doing, and what will happen next. YouTube is another great repository for English videos, from English conversations to viral videos. You can find plenty of free content here to discuss with your students.
Listen to Audiobooks
Another language lab-inspired idea you can try is listening to audiobooks during class. Hook up a speaker so that everyone can hear what’s happening – you can find plenty of inexpensive options on Amazon if your classroom doesn’t have one.
At first, you might choose simple books like “Green Eggs and Ham” or “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” But as your students get more advanced, you could try more complicated stories, like one of the Harry Potter books. Get your students’ input, as you shouldn’t make them listen to something they won’t be interested in. Listen to a chunk of the book for five minutes each day, and ask students questions about the plot to ensure understanding.
Bring in a Recorder
One important aspect of a language learning lab is recording conversation. This helps students listen to their mistakes and gives you a better idea of their speaking capabilities. However, you can easily achieve the same thing by bringing in your own recorder to class.
Grab a cheap voice recorder off Amazon, or if you don’t want to spend any money, just use a recording app on your phone. Then, have students speak into the recorder one by one. You can then listen to these recordings after class and see what areas they need to work on.
There’s no reason you have to spend thousands of dollars to give your students the English education they crave. Use these less expensive methods to get the same results without going bankrupt.