Assessing Student Speaking – English

I’ve been helping English Central put up a teacher’s area on their site. It is still in the initial stage but all the same, Ready To Go. Click HERE to join as a teacher and start inviting students! I’ll be posting a nice screencast later today, describing all the features available for teachers to track student progress. If you haven’t visited English Central yet, WATCH the DEMO and see how powerful it might be for your digital students!

Sign up as my student and help me test the Teacher’s interface!

Join us on EFL Classroom 2.0 where we are discussing and commenting on English Central and language learning/teaching.

It isn’t easy to assess student speaking! First, it is time consuming. Typically us ESL / EFL teachers have hundreds of students – so it is hard to give them both individual practice or even an individual assessment. English Central allows teachers at a minimum to get some feedback about student ability.

Further and most importantly – English Central’s voice recognition technology is highly motivational to students. Students can choose their own content, at their own level. (but soon teachers will be able to preselect videos for students on their own channel – THIS IS COMING!). It “flattens” things in that learners can now practice anywhere, anytime and the teacher still have information about what they are doing. The class can now truly have “no walls”.

English Central is in no way a replacement for face to face communication! Language at all times, is about human beings talking/communicating – about that dance and bounce of meaning between people. Still, I think this tool really “takes things up a knotch” as far as online learning is concerned. Now, for the first time, we can get students producing language (and Voicethread was a great addition in this area too!) but also getting feedback. English Central has amazing pronunciation / vocabulary feedback. If only for this aspect, it really is a pearl among oysters. Watch the demo here.

Myself, I’ve been involved with TTS (Text to Speech) for 5-6 years. Promoting both Karaoke and Bots for language learning and reading development. However, I’d been waiting for a way that students could actually be encouraged to produce (in the spirit of Swain’s CO [comprehensible output}. Students need this as well as CI {comprehensible input}.

Please leave your comments here on this thread and let’s build ideas for English Central. I’ve already asked the developers to;

1. Make the inviting students easier — have an internal email server + an embed button so students could just click and sign up for the teacher’s class.

2. Export/printable stats for student(s). So teachers can discuss with parents / administrators.

What do you think about English Central? What can be improved? ....

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi David,

    Following your lead, I started using English Central with my students. So far I have only assigned one task to them (you can check it here:, but despite some drawbacks (our school doesn’t provide microphones and since some students couldn’t accomplish the task at home, because they had no mic or no internet connection, I arranged for them to meet me after classes and they used my laptop)the results have well been worth it. Most of them are now competing among themselves to see who gets a higher place in the Portuguese users ranking and are going through more videos than I had asked them to. So, naturally I am very happy with it.
    Thank you, for pointing out English Central. It’s quite an asset for any EFL teacher.

  1. December 4, 2009

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by eflclassroom, David Deubelbeiss. David Deubelbeiss said: Teachers needed as testers! […]

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