Can you hear that? Practice speaking and listening using free tools
How often do you listen? Especially to your own voice? For those learning a foreign language, speaking is a core skill and technology has made it really easy to practice speaking and listening back to our own voice. ESL learners are lucky, since most of the apps available today were made for English. It is, after all, the language used in over 55% of the Internet.
Practice speaking and listen to your voice
It is very important for language learners to be able to listen to their own voice, since it helps them improve their pronunciation and intonation, both extremely important in verbal communication. There are many ways they can record their voice, play it back and share the recording with their teacher, relatives and friends. You could also do the same and share your voice comments with them.
Using a mobile device
iOS devices come equipped with the Voice Memo app, which allows easy recording and sharing via email or other apps, such as Dropbox. There are other apps, like Recordium, that allow editing too.
Most Android devices come with a sound recorder app as well and you can download apps like WavePad that allow editing.
Talking to a personal assistant
All modern smartphones come equipped with a personal assistant. iOS has Siri, Android has Google Now and Windows Phone has Cortana. Learners can easily converse with this form of artificial intelligence by asking questions -- either asking for information or instructions on various topics.
Using a desktop browser
You don’t necessarily need a mobile device in order to record sound. You can do a lot using your desktop or laptop. You can talk directly to Google Now from the Google Search page. Just click the microphone on the right side of the search box.
Also, here are some services you can use for free:
Vocaroo allows recording, saving and sharing using the computer microphone. Simple and easy to use, Vocaroo is very popular in the K-12 space, since it does not require registration. It also allows uploading existing recordings made with a portable voice recorder or a desktop application.
AudioBoom is a popular web and mobile app that includes a platform for sharing and discovering audio content. Learners can create a voice blog or personal podcast (up to 10 minutes for free) and make it public if they want. Audioboom can be used from simply sharing a thought or the sound of the train leaving the station, all the way to creating a full-fledged podcast.
Similar to AudioBoom, SoundCloud is a very popular web and mobile app that is used by music artists and DJs, as well as podcasters to create and publish audio content. SoundCloud is a platform for sound sharing that learners can easily tap into. What makes it different is the ability to add text comments to specific points in the recording, so you could actually send targeted feedback to your students, correcting their pronunciation, grammatical or syntactical mistakes. You can even include a link for your own recording.