MP3 Players in language learning

You might have heard that Duke university last year gave out iPod MP3 players to all new students one of the uses of this is

iPods Assist with Spanish Accents
This article is taken directly from Duke Universities site:

Duke University junior Keith Rand says he has always struggled learning languages. This semester, he is confronting that challenge by taking an introductory Spanish course that packs two semesters of Spanish into one. It is also a class that is pioneering the use of iPod digital-audio players for education.

“I was kind of skeptical about [the iPods] at first to tell you the truth,” Rand says. “You know: ‘They’re giving out these free iPods as a marketing scheme for Apple.’ But it’s actually been really useful.”

Rand’s progress in his first-ever Spanish class is documented in recordings he makes each week with his iPod for homework and tests. During his first week of class, Rand recorded a conversation with a classmate that is limited to the most basic Spanish phrases (listen to Rand’s Spanish after one week). After just two weeks of class, a recording of his first oral exams shows that his vocabulary is expanding

Students in a Duke University Spanish class use iPods to complete oral comprehension exercises at their own pace. Students use iPods to record their speech.

Visiting assistant professor Lisa Merschel is the course?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s instructor. She says, when she first found out iPods would be available for her class, she was limited in her imagination about the pedagogical uses of the devices.

?¢‚Ǩ?ìIn the first two days, I was thinking, ?¢‚ǨÀúWell I would play some songs for them,?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢?¢‚Ǩ¬ù she says. ?¢‚Ǩ?ìAnd then after that I became much more imaginative in my use of the iPod and have expanded quite a bit and am surprised about how many ways I can use it to students’ benefit.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

So far, Merschel has had the students use the iPods to: hear dramatic recordings of the novellas they read ; record responses during oral quizzes; play back her verbal comments on quizzes and homework; review the pronunciation of each week?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s vocabulary words, a use suggested by a student (listen to an example); and listen to audio exercises inside and outside of class. She also assigns weekly ?¢‚Ǩ?ìaudio diary entries,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù for which students record themselves speaking on a topic. And yes, she provides a handful of Spanish songs, like Gloria Estefan?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s ?¢‚Ǩ?ìAyer.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

Rand says the iPods are most helpful when he does oral comprehension exercises in class, for which he listens to short segments on the iPod and then fills in blanks on a worksheet.

?¢‚Ǩ?ìWe?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢re able to keep up [at] our own pace,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù he says. Each student can focus on the sections most difficult to him by reviewing them on his iPod, Rand notes, without the entire class having to repeat those segments.

He also finds useful the recordings of vocabulary words — ?¢‚Ǩ?ìaudio flash cards?¢‚Ǩ¬ù — that Merschel records each week.

?¢‚Ǩ?ìI?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ll come out of class and listen to vocabulary for a little bit,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù he says.

This list of Spanish vocabulary words was recorded by Professor Lisa Merschel to make “audio flash cards” that students can listen to on their iPods to review pronounciation.

Another student, Lissa Smith, who works full time on campus and audits the course, says she appreciates the convenience of being able to review pronunciation walking to school or driving.

?¢‚Ǩ?ìIt?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s especially nice for me because I often work and travel for my work,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù she says, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìand when there are places I can?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t access a computer this is really great for me.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

Lauren Berkowitz, commutes to the class from UNC, where she is sophomore. She likes how the iPods increase the number of ways she applies her burgeoning Spanish skills. Her only regret: as a UNC student, she?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ll have to turn in her iPod at the end of the semester.