Microsoft's new speech recognition technology is able to transcribe conversational speech as well as (or even better than) humans. The technology scored a word error rate (WER) of 5.9%, which was lower than the 6.3% WER reported just last month.
You might think that Google Translate would be a way of replacing language lessons, rather than supplementing them. Thankfully, you’d be wrong. And here’s some tips as to why.
Mike Reading, of the Using Technology Better YouTube channel talks first about how to use the app, with a few tips on how to get the best out of it.
Then, perhaps more usefully, he talks about the ways you can use it in the classroom – not to encourage laziness amongst students, but to get them to discuss accuracy – give them some text, let Google translate it and then have a discussion about is accurate or not, where’s the grammar wrong, and so to learn to understand that translation can be more art than science, and that technology can help them interact with information in a different kind of way.
I particularly encouraged them to think about 'authentic' apps rather than those made for learning. This is because in many ways I feel that most made for learning apps have made very little pedagogical progress beyond their roots in CALL from the last century.
I also believe that encouraging students to get 'hands on' with authentic apps has a much more important role in helping them to develop digital literacies which they can use outside of the classroom.
Philip Haines is the Senior Consultant for Oxford University Press, Mexico. As well as being a teacher and teacher trainer, he is also the co-author of several series, many of which are published by OUP.
"1001 Ways” is a fun and educative mobile app that allows you to learn English accents from all over the world. All you have to do is watch a video of a person speaking and guess where the person is from. Test your listening skills and become an accent expert!
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