Smart speakers motivate students to practice oral English
By Judith Vives
New technologies have changed the way we study and learn, also when it’s time to learn new languages. The most recent revolution in language teaching arrives with voice assistants.
Voice assistants are an artificial intelligence application able to interact and communicate with people through conversation. The first virtual assistants emerged in mobile phones, such as Apple’s popular Siri.
Nowadays we already have many other virtual assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa, or Google’s own search engine, which help us manage a ton of things: we can ask them to put on music, turn on the lights at home, or tell us the weather forecast.
Artificial intelligence to learn English
Voice assistants can understand us when we talk to them and follow a conversation, something that makes them especially useful for learning English and other languages. For example, in English classes, where students share a different mother tongue.
When students speak English to each other, it can be difficult to learn: if the level is low, the grammatical structures can be too simple or incorrect, creating vices in learning.
This can be solved with a voice assistant: if we configure it to English, the student must use this language to operate the device. The use of voice assistants can be much more motivating and fun, because it never ceases to amaze us that artificial intelligence can converse with us.
A few months ago, Google announced that its voice assistant could be bilingual: Google Assistant is able to recognise various languages, like English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Japanese.
Furthermore, most of today’s assistants have a translation function in different languages in real time.
A voice assistant can also help us with other issues such as solving math problems or looking for information on a specific topic. If we do it in English, we get the benefit of improving our language skills.
New technologies help you with languages, so you have no excuse for not learning or improving your English. And remember that to certify your level of English, you can take the official exams of Trinity College London.