Language lab Overview

Language lab transforms any computer classroom into a versatile language learning environment and brings the best value from your existing class-room model. Before we dwell into the lesson let us understand what is meant by a language lab and how it is useful. This will help you co-ordinate and put in your best foot forward while taking an actual lesson.

Modern language labs are known by many names, digital language lab, multimedia language lab, language media center and multimedia learning center to name but a few.

Modern language labs in general offer the following features

  • Text, images, audio and video can easily be integrated; teachers can alter materials to fit their requirements
  • Learners can record their own voice and play back the recordings, interact with each other and the teacher, and store results
  • Teachers can intervene and control the learners’ computers via the teacher’s console, track of learners’ work, etc.
  • Self-access for independent learning which includes access to resources outside class

The purpose of a language lab is to involve students to actively participate in language learning exercises and get more practice than otherwise possible in a traditional classroom environment.

Common components in a modern language lab

  • Teacher has a computer with appropriate ERP for conducting language exercises
  • Teacher and students wear headsets that block outside sounds and disturbances
  • Students have a media player/recorder for listening to audio and recording speech
  • Teacher and student positions are connected via LAN (local area network), in some cases also via separate audio cabling
  • A server computer or a separate storage device is often used to store lesson materials in a digital format

Why use a language lab in language teaching?

In an average foreign-language class, all students combined speak only 23.5% of the class time (DESI 2006, pg. 48-49). In a 45-minute class, 23.5% equals approximately 10 ½ minutes. As this number is the speaking time of all students put together, the time each student gets to practice speaking becomes less as the class size increases.

The table below indicates the amount of speaking practice each student gets during a 45-minute foreign-language class, depending on class size:

10-student class 30-student class
Traditional classroom 1 minute 21 seconds
Classroom with language lab 11 minutes* 11 minutes*

With a language lab, all students in the class can speak simultaneously without distracting each other, regardless of the class size. Without a language lab, in a class of more than 10 students, each student gets less than one minute of speaking practice.

Teacher-led language teaching activities for versatile and engaging lessons

  • Enables teachers to conduct versatile and effective lessons that combine speaking, listening and written text — learning by doing tasks that suits all learning types
  • Improve even the most difficult to teach elements, pronunciation and intonation, with model imitation and a wide array of discussion activities
  • Individualize teaching – group and pair students, allow students to work on exercises at their own pace, monitor and record progress
  • Create interesting and engaging lessons by utilizing the latest multimedia teaching content and allowing your students to gain valuable hands-on practice

Classroom management for using class time for what it’s meant for teaching and learning

  • Personalized learning and support for all students is enabled by monitoring student screens and remote control of student PCs
  • Lesson time is spent on interruption-free teaching and learning, thanks to functionalities such as internet- and application-blocking

Tools for language learning at each students own pace or even independently

  • Language learning can take place anywhere with an advanced student recorder that allows independent language learning
  • Important self-evaluation enabled by recording student speech and exercises
  • Improve writing and speaking skills simultaneously by subtitling media files