Globalization impacts all areas of life, from what we buy to what we watch on television. Globalization has also made it easier to travel, spending vacations or short periods of residency in countries other than where we were born. Previously, living in another country for a period of study was something done by the wealthy, in the form of North American college students spending a year abroad in Europe, or children from well-off families in developing countries attending boarding schools far from home. This trend is shifting as international education becomes more accessible. Internationalization of education continues to increase, especially in the United Kingdom and the United States. More and more students are attending schools in these countries for the entirety of their university education. By 2015, colleges and universities in the United States are expected to have a 15% international student population (Source: US News and World Report). In the United Kingdom, more than 400,000 international students were enrolled full-time in higher education. The overwhelming majority of these students were from China or India (Source: TimesHigherEducation). An international student accepted into an English-language program in the United Kingdom or the United States must pass an English proficiency exam. However, exams often do not prepare students for conversational English or for the fast-pace of lectures and discussion groups. Educational institutions have come up with a variety of ways to assist these international students socially:
- The University of Nebraska-Lincoln provides English Conversation Table and English Conversation Partners to give international students one-on-one practice with native English speakers (Source: Daily Nebraskan).
- Culture and language societies at UK universities aim to share international cultures with students, including languages and traditions (Source: The Guardian.
Academically, however, these international students may struggle with the additional burden of learning in their non-native language. Text-to-speech technologies can help these international students in the following ways:
- Integration of ReadSpeaker’s text to speech into the eLearning environment provides a simple ‘click and listen’ to course materials
- ReadSpeaker TextAid lets users listen to any text and also provides users with text translations into their native language.
- Being able to listen to text increases accessibility of online content, as well as student comprehension and retention of information.
- By listening to text, users can check their pronunciation of certain words, leading to increased confidence when speaking.
Of course, ReadSpeaker isn’t just beneficial for international students. Read about the benefits of ReadSpeaker and text to speech in education for all learners in our blog series. Request more information about how ReadSpeaker can be used at your institution today! [enhancing_learning]