Language students in Advanced Placement French and Spanish classes at Bob Jones High School in Alabama are using Audacity, a free program you can download online, to enhance their impromptu speaking skills, the Huntsville Times reports. The software "works like a compact disc player but allows you to record your voice" by headset microphone, said AP Spanish teacher Jeidi Nez. Students practice speaking and listening with Audacity in laptop labs, and Nez and AP French teacher Angela Mooney can grade their work after students upload their MP3 files to the school’s open courseware Moodle software. If a student is absent or checks out, he or she still can do the work without falling behind, Nez said.
Previously, language classes used tapes and recorders. "That was madness. Students would have to rewind, fast forward, find a plug. Grading was so much slower," Nez said. Moreover, tapes and recorders don’t simulate real conversation. "With Moodle, they put in the CD, hear the question, and immediately respond and record," she said. "Real-life communication is the key."

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