• Of the four basic communication modes, the most prevalent daily skill is "listening".
  • As English Language Learners expand their skills, effective "listening" is a prerequisite to effective speaking. If a learner cannot hear the sounds of English, they will be unable to reproduce them.
  • Numerous classroom challenges exist related to listening, including:
    • Learners tend to focus on their instructor's specific voice. They may soon be able to understand the instructor, but cannot easily understand other speakers.
    • Learners may be able to understand each other (ESL-Speak), but not understand native speakers.
    • The learner lacks effective control over the listening process. Often they hear any given phrase a single time. At best upon request a teacher may repeat phrases. (Contrast this with student control over reading. Whether looking at a text book or handouts, each individual learner has the ability to read and re-read any section numerous times.
    • Students often take notes to try to provide clues to pronunciation. But if their primary language (L1) does not include all the sounds used in English, these notes may not be able to accurately reflect English pronunciation.
  • Learners can extend their practice outside the classroom with take-home class materials, notes, and homework assignments. Instructors can easily provide written worksheets, readings, and reference sheets to learners. But what about the spoken language?

The ESL Audio Kiosk

  • The ESL Audio Kiosk system described on this web site represents an approach to the challenge of providing enhanced structured listening opportunities to learners.
  • The "Digital Divide", is a term used to describe the current reality where some learners may have access to advanced technology, while other s have little or no access.
    The ESL Audio Kiosk system is specifially designed to provide a "level playing field" in programs that have learners with limited access to technology.
    If your program is comprised of students who both posess advanced technology such as SmartPhones, and are comfortable using the technology there are better options. If this is your situation, consider distributing audio material using Internet based podcasts.
  • The Kiosk system is designed to use simple and inexpensive technology costing as little as $10 per student. This puts it within the reach of all students and programs.
  • The Kiosk system was created to empower the learner to control their own listening process.
  • Instructors can utilize the Kiosk system even if their personal technology skills are minimal.
  • Even instructors with minimal technology skills can use the Kiosk system.
  • Simple and inexpensive student MP3 players are available whose controls are limited to play/pause, volume up, volume down, next selection, previous selection.
  • The goal of this web site is to provide not only background information about the ESL Audio Kiosk system, but also to provide all the supporting information needed to implement the system.
  • The software application at the heart of Kiosk functionality runs on Linux and Mac OSX. More information is available about suggested hardware including very low cost Linux netbooks.
  • The Kiosk application was written in 2012-2015 by Peter Schmitt. It is copyrighted under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2. Users are free to utilize the application without fees, and to freely redistribute the Kiosk software, so long as original credits and notations are maintained.
  • Documentation is made available under the terms of Creative Commons. That means that you are free to copy as well as distribute the copies.
  • For the convenience of teachers who have not yet learned to create / edit audio files, there are ready-to-use selection available in the Open-ESL.org Sandbox.