The Extempore team’s mission to support language educators in the facilitation of instruction and assessment of oral skills aligns with ACTFL’s position on the role of technology in language learning.
When I introduce Extempore at conferences and workshops, people often ask whether we are a stand-alone language software like Duolingo or Rosetta Stone. No, we are not. The Extempore App was designed by language teachers to use as a tool in their own classrooms, mainly to assist in facilitating tasks to develop listening and speaking skills. Unlike those programs, Extempore understands the crucial role of educators in language instruction and has been designed as a tool, not as a replacement. Among other things, language students use Extempore to:
- listen to and view authentic materials from the target culture selected by their instructor.
- practice presentational speaking in collaboration with their instructor.
- work on pronunciation skills at their own pace.
- keep a portfolio of speaking activities to assist them in self-assessment and self-reflection of their progress.
Among other things, language teachers use Extempore to:
- assign listening activities that can be easily completed outside of class anytime, anywhere.
- create files to model pronunciation for their students to listen to and practice with.
- increase the amount of presentational speaking activities their students complete, thus allowing students to practice this essential mode of communication more frequently than if it was only done during class time.
- collect speech samples from students to track their progress and assist them in portfolio-based assessment.
- develop data-driven benchmarks that can be used for program assessment and improvement.
We are excited that ACTFL’s statement makes it very clear that technology cannot and should not replace teachers in language education. This statement validates our mission and reinforces our desire to find ways in which our app can best support language learners in the 21st century classroom.