Dear Extempore… my language lab is feast or famine. What do I do?

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Dear Extempore,

I’m Director of Technology at a K-12 school and I write to you in desperation, please help me!

We have a very expensive language lab that we bought years ago. It takes up a large room, 30 computers, microphones and headsets. We pay for the software, and we pay for support, and we pay every time something breaks, and we have to be there when the teachers are using it, and the teachers have to be there when the students use it… but that’s not the worst part. Do you know what the worst part is? It’s ALWAYS EMPTY SAVE FOR TWO WEEKS A YEAR DURING FINALS!

How can I manage this a bit better? Do you have any advice?


Desperate Techy

Dear Desperate Techy,

we understand. It’s tough to be a techy sometimes!

We have discussed this internally with the Editorial Team and after much brainstorming, diagramming, sketching and illustrating, we have come to an unavoidable conclusion: you, my dear Desperate Techy, are using last century’s technology!

Here’s a secret: you don’t have to be tethered to a language lab. Your student’s don’t have to be tethered to a language lab, either. What you need (wait for it…) is called Extempore, and it operates as a Mobile Language Lab. This means you can use Extempore as if it were a language lab, or you can use it as a true app, regardless of physical location.

So, do you want your students to record together in a room, like it’s 1990? No problem! Roll your iPad/Laptop cart in, have them open Extempore, sign in with their Google Account (you are a Google School, right?!) and let them start recording. You can even use that large room where your language lab used to be.

Are you feeling a bit more adventurous and you want them to practice from home? No problem! Have your teacher create an assessment, and the students can take it from home, on their laptops, personal iPads, parent’s smartphone… you name it.

Are your teachers feeling a bit mean and they want to use Extempore for a final exam?. Well, that’s easy, too! Have them create an assessment with tight parameters (limit the time to review the question to, say, 10 seconds, and give them only one try) set a start and due date for the assessment and voilà! you’ve just saved your teachers from having to have 30 ten-minute conversations in their office.

Isn’t it great to be alive in 2017?