Martin Fries, Head of Modern Languages and French – Epsom College
At Epsom College, our Sanako software is installed on Microsoft Surface Pro 3 devices on our wireless network. The absence of wiring cannot be overestimated when it comes to the one essential factor in teaching nowadays – time.
Pupils pick up a tablet and a set of headphones each when they enter the room, log on with their usual school credentials, Sanako Study launches automatically, and within 3 minutes the class is ready. The simplicity of this is particularly important for those teachers who are not the most confident with technology, and who might therefore not consider using a language lab. Once logged on, there are a plethora of activities which can be done, in groups or individually.
Pupils will have on average three hours of language lessons per week, and therein the most important factor often suffers, which is time on task. Through the individual allocation of tasks, and focus on those facilitated by the wearing of headphones, pupils will have a greater exposure time to language production in the lesson than might otherwise be possible. And speaking and recording answers with (positive!) time pressure, similar to a real-life situation, or indeed an oral exam, is only one skill among many that can be practised.
From the student perspective, the fact that spoken replies are not overheard by other pupils (unless used as examples of good practice) is hugely beneficial on a psychological level, because pupils can lose their focus when put on the spot by the teacher, in front of the class. Building up confidence in this way is a natural process, and once reassured individually by the teacher that the answer is correct, even a shy pupil will be ready to contribute more and more in class.