As schools across the globe continue to modernize their educational technology tools and infrastructure while working to keep language learning courses interesting and attractive for their students, language labs and other language teaching platforms have kept their position as reliable solutions also in 2024. But how should you go about it if you are looking to understand which is the best language lab software tool in the market today?
Despite their quite traditional and old name, modern language labs are very different to what they used to be some decades ago. A modern language lab in 2024 comes equipped with a range of advanced features and tools designed for today’s language teaching and learning environment, including automated pronunciation grading tools and capabilities to expand teaching and learning outside the classroom. However, with so many options available, choosing the most suitable product for your school can be a daunting task. This article will therefore provide you with key considerations to keep in mind when selecting a language lab or an equivalent language teaching software tool with a view to finding the best solution for your school in 2024.
4 key factors to consider when choosing a language lab
Choosing the right language teaching solution for your school is a crucial decision that can have a significant impact on the quality of second language education your students receive. There are several factors that you should consider when making this decision.
1. Suitability to your school’s specific needs
The first and most important factor to consider is the suitability of the language lab to your school’s specific needs. This will depend on various factors such as the number of students, the language(s) being taught, and the level of technological infrastructure available or if your school follows a popular Bring Your Own Device policy (BYOD).
It is essential to choose a language lab that can handle the specific needs of your school without overspending on unnecessary features. As modern language lab products are not tied to any physical space but they work on all devices and operating systems, you don’t need to consider the available physical space unless you are looking to install the software to a dedicated computer lab which is obviously a viable choice also in 2024 if you have this existing IT infrastructure available. If you follow a BYOD policy, then it is essential to select a product that works seamlessly on a variety of student devices.
It is also crucial to consider the ability of the language lab software to cater to different learning styles. Some students learn better through visual aids such as flashcards, while others prefer audio or interactive learning. Choosing a language lab that can cater to different learning styles will ensure that all students can benefit from the software equally.
We also advise to prioritize the accessibility features of the particular language lab product you are considering as it is important to offer equal learning opportunities also for students with special educational needs. Not all language lab providers have designed their products to follow the best practices in web accessibility or have incorporated keyboard navigation into their products.
2. Vendor support
Another essential factor to consider when choosing a language lab is vendor support. Timely support is crucial in helping you navigate any technical issues you might encounter, as well as providing updates to ensure your language lab remains efficient over time.
When choosing a vendor, it is important to look beyond the initial teacher onboarding or system installation. A good vendor should be able to provide a sustainable support plan for the long-term. This will ensure that your language lab remains up-to-date and efficient for years to come.
3. Cost and licensing model
Cost is also an important factor to consider when choosing a language lab. While it is essential to choose a language lab that meets your school’s specific needs, it is also important to consider the cost. You should choose a language lab that is within your budget without compromising on quality.
It is also important to consider the cost of maintenance and upgrades. Some language labs require regular maintenance and upgrades, which can be costly in the long run. Choosing a language lab that requires minimal maintenance and automatically delivered version upgrades can help you save money in the long-term.
4. Security and data policies
Security is another important factor to consider when choosing a language lab. The software should have robust security features to protect the personal information of your students. It should also be able to prevent unauthorized access to the system. You should also consider the security of the data stored on the system and where their data servers are located. So, make sure the language lab product you select is compatible with your local national data regulations such as the GDPR in Europe or COPPA and FERPA in the United States.
Our recommendation as the best language lab software for your school in 2024
When it comes to language lab solutions, there is no shortage of options available on the market. However, not all language lab software is created equal. In 2024, there is especially one standout solution that is worth exploring further.
Sanako Connect: Complete web-based language teaching hub for schools
At the top of our list is the versatile Sanako Connect. Sanako, a pioneering company in the field of language education technology, offers a new cloud-based language lab product called Sanako Connect that caters to all language teaching methods, from task-based language teaching to communicative approaches and audiolingualism and can be used to teach any language.
Watch the video below to see a quick introduction on how Sanako Connect can be used to teach in 3 teaching styles (while not being limited just to these 3):
Why should you choose Sanako Connect? This new Sanako’s technology combines top-tier language learning platform and virtual classroom software features and includes the best tools and activities from traditional language labs. As a cloud-based solution it works on any device and operating system – all you need is an internet connection and a normal internet browser. It enables teachers to guide students’ language learning in a teacher-controlled environment, allowing teachers to monitor student progress and provide real-time feedback. Sanako Connect also includes specialist language instruction features such as automated pronunciation grading with authentic speech models for most modern languages, and interactive video and audio tasks using any existing audio or video file.
School leaders will also find Sanako invaluable. Sanako Connect’s concurrent user model provides scalability and cost-effectiveness that make it a valuable addition to any educational institution. Sanako Connect is developed following the highest standards in accessibility guidelines to be accessible also for students with disabilities like visual impairments.
Are you interested to learn more on how Sanako Connect language teaching software tool can transform language teaching in your school or university? Click here or the banner below to explore our tools and find our more!
This blog post was last updated 13 February, 2024.