Nearly every company, organization and educational institution across the country is facing budget cuts these days. To deal with the cuts, they’re looking towards automatic speech recognition and interactive voice response, or IVR, technologies.
Due to huge budget cuts, Eagle Valley High in Gypsum, Colorado has had to lay off several language teachers in an effort to cut costs under the Colorado reduction-in-force policy. The decision to cut language teachers stemmed from a lack of demand as more and more students opt for seemingly “practical” languages like Spanish.
Now, the only language class offered with a live teacher at Eagle Valley is Spanish. For students who opt to continue in French or German, they must pay at least $150 per semester to use the Aventa language-learning computer program instead.
(It may just be me, but I thought public school was supposed to be free?)
In the Aventa system, students complete online curriculum outside of a classroom setting. The students partake in occasional course discussions and group projects if other students at their school are also taking the language course, and have weekly online sessions with teachers in real time.
Eagle isn’t the only place that’s had to replace humans with tech, though.
Across the country, school districts are replacing language programs have been replaced with Rosetta Stone and similar voice recognition software-based programs to keep costs down. It’s the same situation we see with companies turning to IVR systems–automated IVR technology provides an alternative to no classes at all.
Interaction, speaking and listening are essential to the language-acquisition process, and that’s where programs like Aventa face the most challenges.
Here at Plum we develop IVR systems for companies looking to streamline their call centers and expedite customer questions. Speech recognition software plays a huge roll in this tech as the computer listens to the user’s question and responds appropriately.