What Audacity!: Decreasing Student Anxiety while Increasing Instructional Time

What Audacity!: Decreasing Student Anxiety while Increasing Instructional Time

Peter B. Swanson (Georgia State University, USA), Patricia N. Early (Georgia State University, USA) and Quintina Baumann (Cobb County Schools, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-917-0.ch011


Promoting student engagement in the second language classroom can be difficult for teachers. Multiple obstacles such as perceptions of the irrelevance of authentic language applications and the affective barriers (e.g. performance anxiety speaking before peers) tend to hinder student oral language performance. For teachers, especially for beginners, other obstacles appear such as being given the most challenging assignments with little to no professional support. Many times these educators scramble to squeeze the most out of every minute in the classroom for instructional purposes while trying to increase student achievement. Three free and open source software options are presented and findings from two studies of focusing on the use of Audacity indicate multiple benefits for both teachers and students. Afterwards, the authors demonstrate how to use Audacity for oral language assessment and discuss its implications for the world language classroom.
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Because younger teachers are more likely to have grown up in a technology-rich environment, their comfort and skills with technology may lead to an increased use of computers for instructional purposes (National Center for Education Statistics, 2000). Furthermore, many of these novice educators are confident using technology but perhaps lack the time and resources to develop technologically rich lessons (Pierson & Cozart, 2005). Even with an abundance of available software, hardware, free ware, and webware, Cuban (2001) finds that school systems have not been restructured fully to support the integration of technology for instruction. In an effort to balance student security and privacy with access to instructional technology, schools have restricted access to a plethora of opportunities for students and teachers, including many interactive web tools, such as blogs, Skype, and YouTube. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for teachers to lack the administrative privilege to install or configure software, even free or open-source software, on their classroom computers.

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