Today, if you want to install a language lab in your school, you need to follow a cumbersome process: contact a language lab company, involve your IT department, get a consultation, a quote, set up the infrastructure at your school… and of course find the space to put it in.
If you have ever used a web browser (and you have, since you are reading this!), you can use Extempore without further IT help.
If only one teacher wants a lab, the school has to buy it for everyone… which generally means that if you are an instructor who wants a language lab for your class, you have to convince your colleagues, lobby your administration and IT... and it probably won’t be cost-effective for the school to install it, anyway.
Because there is nothing to install and because you pay only per student, you choose to whom you roll it out. Many of our customers start small (for example as a way to teach speaking skills to ESL students) and then just add more students to their account as other colleagues adopt Extempore to practice speaking skills in whatever languages they teach.
There are no install fees, no maintenance fees, no per-teacher fees, and most definitely no upgrade fees - you benefit instantly from all upgrades and new features. All you need to do is download the latest version of the app to ensure you have access to the newest features and improvements. See more on how to buy.
We built extempore in the cloud to make it easy to use for schools of all sizes.
Why was Extempore built on the cloud?
With cloud based, mobile language software, teachers can teach and students can learn anywhere and on any device. Moving away from costly computer labs with installed software supports language learning in multiple ways:
It’s easy to get up and running : with cloud based technology, there's nothing to install. Just open an account online. Configure classes and you can be teaching in minutes.
Free up coveted classroom and computer lab space : because cloud based learning tools are platform agnostic, they can be used on virtually any device: a tablet, a PC or a Mac. Classes and assignments can be accessed on a school-provided or personal device and students can switch back and forth: data is always in synch. For example, students can do oral exams on a school computer during class (essentially treating Extempore as a virtual language lab) and then log into their home computer, or a parent’s iPad, at night to complete homework activities to practice speaking skills.
And now you have a state-of-the-art assessment tool which you can use for regular speaking practice, oral exams, homework, AP Exam preparation and anything else where speaking practice is a must.
If you are considering a legacy language lab such as Sanako’s or SANS’ you know that one of the first steps is to engage your IT department: they need to set up servers on your school so the labs can work. They usually need to modify the school network, and of course, they have to find a room, purchase computers, headsets, etc… and set everything up. This is not a small undertaking, and it can take many months.
As a cloud based speaking practice app, Extempore is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. Instructors can create a free trial account and start using the app without anyone’s assistance. The mobile app is free to download from the App Store or Google Play. Unlike with a language lab, you can be up and running and assigning speaking exercises in minutes.
Unlike other language assessment tools or Labs, Extempore has a mobile version for instructors. Instructors can grade oral activities on their computer or on the go (ever feel like you waste your time during swim practice?) - just connect a pair of earbuds to your phone and you can listen to your students’ responses, grade against a rubric, and provide written or oral feedback.
Some of Extempore’s clients use the app on a daily basis (for example, those teaching a speaking and listening skills English class), some use it only sparingly as a way to facilitate oral language assessments, or as homework. Regardless of how you use Extempore, you will not have an expensive language lab taking up a classroom whether it’s used or not.
Additionally, you can use Extempore in your own classroom, where you and your students are most comfortable. No need to move 20 students from one room to the next just to practice speaking skills. Simply have them take out their phones (or roll in the iPad cart), complete the activities, and put them back away. You can accomplish in 5 minutes what would take you a full hour with a traditional language lab.
As we do every year, we use the summer break to push updates to the platform. Some of these updates are major new features; but many others are small tweaks, performance and usability improvements that are reported to us during the year. That being said, we’re excited to announce the first one of the summer![...]
Posted on 2020-06-26 by Thomas Murr
Guest Post by Susana Perez-Castillejo, PhD, Assistant Professor of Spanish, University of St. Thomas. Beyond the Zoom breakout rooms for speaking activities and shared Google docs for collaborative writing practice, there are other tools we can leverage to make our synchronous class meetings a bit more interactive. These are ideas I have been learning these past few[...]
Posted on 2020-04-16 by Thomas Murr
Nowadays technological developments have affected our lives, how we communicate, how we learn and, of course, our way of teaching. Indeed, it is almost impossible to find a language class that does not use some technological support. Computer assisted language learning has changed the practice of teaching (Chapelle & Voss, 2016). Technology in Language[...]
Posted on 2020-02-10 by Thomas Murr