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Listening stations can be a very useful tool for learning languages. However, in order for the listening stations to be highly effective, they must be set up properly. This includes incorporating all of the necessary equipment into the overall design of the listening station. Some pieces of equipment which are ideal for a listening station include intercom systems, audio paring engines, broadcasting engines, virtual recorders and evaluations tools.
The equipment mentioned above all assists in the creation of effective listening stations for different reasons. Intercom systems allow the instructors to listen to the students and communicate with the students. This enables the instructor to hear problems quickly and make corrections immediately. Pairing engines enable the instructor to put the students in pairs or groups to interact and communicate with each other. This can often be done without having the students move to sit next to each other. Broadcast engines allow the instructor to transmit audio to all of the students at once. This is worthwhile for instructional segments of the class. The virtual recorder enables the student to record his own voice for use in self evaluations. Evaluation tools allow the instructor to evaluate the performance of each student by administering tests and examining the way in which the student responds.
A language learning lab is an excellent tool for learning languages because it provides the students with an opportunity to become active participants in the learning process.
Unlike conventional classroom structures where the students are given instruction and there is limited interaction between teacher and student, a language lab provides an opportunity for unlimited interaction between student and teacher as well as interaction among the students. The students also take a more active role during the process of reading, writing and listening in the desired language. In a language lab students have the opportunity to listen to native speakers of the language, record themselves speaking the language and converse with other students. The increased involvement by the students facilitates the learning process and greatly increases the students' success rates.
A wireless listening center offers greater flexibility to schools who utilize audio equipment for the learning process. Purchasing wireless headphones along with a cordless transmitter unit will enable the school to set up an effective wireless learning center. This setup is ideal because it allows the students to move throughout the classroom easily because they are not restricted by power cords. It also provides greater flexibility in the layout of the listening center. The wireless transmitter units typically have the capability of transmitting audio on one or more frequencies and can often transmit sound for approximately 100 feet when free of obstructions.