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Aug 26 2013 - 08:00 PM
Saundz
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Saundz is a phonetics study app for English as a second language learners seeking American-style pronunciation. The system features a virtual language teacher called Simone who provides audio and visual examples of each vowel sound. The visualizations update the traditional mouth diagram with a computer-generated simulation that lets students see inside Simone’s mouth while she pronounces a word or sound. The site specifically promises a reduction in accent and is offered to students at a moderate fee.

Pros:

The curriculum is extremely detailed with hundreds of lessons each targeting a specific word sound. The system does not feature a lot of English instruction beyond a handful of vocabulary words used primarily to illustrate sounds. It’s clearly aimed at intermediate and advanced English language learners. Simone’s visualizations represent an impressive update to static phonetics teaching tools and the system augments her pronunciation with several voiced examples from various native speakers. Saundz is browser based so it is easy to use across devices and only requires speakers and a microphone. The detailed help pages rely on visual instruction to ensure students launch the system successfully. The site offers basic statistics for paid students.

Cons:

Saundz’s learning plan is very compartmentalized; the system sometimes draws attention to sounds from previous lessons, but for the most part each component is standalone, which may not appeal to learners interested in an immersive experience. The system definitely serves a very structured and specific purpose.

Our Takeaway:

Saundz is aimed at the advanced language learner. Students will thrive on the system if they already have an advanced or fluent grasp of English and are self-motivated to improve pronunciation. The unique feature of a virtual pronunciation assistant elevates the system beyond existing pronunciation tools. Edtech development has greatly increased the number and variety of language learning tools, and Saundz is a great example of an innovative ESL strategy for advanced learners.

The Bottom Line:

Saundz harnesses visual strategies to improve verbal outcomes.

Posted in: New Learning TimesEdTech Review|By: Laura Costello|1468 Reads