For East students in Chinese 1, 2 and 3, the new semester brought the award-winning language learning software Rosetta Stone.
The district bought several licenses of the software for all the critical language classrooms (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian) in the district. The Chinese department is the only department at East to receive the program. The software was purchased at the beginning of the year, but due to technical delays and the need to train teachers, students are just now starting to use it.
“I know this program [is expensive] but with the tight budget I wasn’t even thinking of asking for an expensive software like this,” Chinese teacher Hau-In Lau said.
So when Lau heard the news at a professional development day from SMSD Resource Specialist for English Language Learners and World Languages Mike Flenthrope, she could not believe it.
Students will now begin logging onto their accounts and working with the program at their own pace. The district also bought headphones and microphones that enable the students to speak the Chinese characters and hear their voice being played back.
“[The program would] read off a sentence in Chinese and then you have to match that sentence with a picture,” senior Sarah Cook explained. “It was kind of hard because it was using everything we had learned up until this point.”
Lau hopes to incorporate Rosetta Stone into their daily classroom routine by introducing it in fourteen minute sessions. Chinese is the first department at East to receive learning technology like this but it might not be the last.
“Rosetta Stone can be a useful supplement to the curriculum of Shawnee Mission’s critical languages,” Flenthrope said.