When Kyotango City Board of Education introduced ELSA to the classroom in across six high schools in Japan, they joined 40 million ELSA users across 101 countries. They were the very first public junior high school in the whole country to take this forward-thinking step.
The powerful AI behind ELSA allowed the schools in the project to automatically evaluate the students’ pronunciation and deliver pre-loaded lessons and textbook materials from the school curriculum.
The three-year program, which began in April 2022, showed incredibly promising results in the first eight months, as well as a very high level of engagement and positive feedback from both learners and teachers.
Bringing ELSA to the classroom
ELSA is an AI-powered speaking coach app that helps students practice pronunciation and speaking anywhere, including at home, away from the pressure of “performing” in front of their peers and teachers.
The award-winning speech recognition software gives 95% accurate feedback in real time. It records and analyzes speech and scores it for pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and fluency so that students can compare their speech to a native speaker’s, study their mistakes, and receive tips for improvement.
The app has 7,100+ lessons on over 200 topics, including exam practice, and is accessible from any mobile device so students can practice anywhere with ease. Educators using ELSA can rest assured that the content has been tailored to the needs of their class based on their level and the school’s curriculum. The app is also highly customizable, so teachers can refine the lessons to their specific learning context.
The results: Improving students’ English speaking levels
Across the six high schools in Japan, an impressive 88% of students actively use ELSA at least once a week. This is not surprising as we designed ELSA to build fun into homework and class activities and to improve students’ confidence in speaking English.
As one student said, “I can work on English as if it were a game, so l am now enjoying English, which I was not good at [before]. And I want to talk a lot with the native English teachers. I can now say with confidence when I read the text of the textbook.”
Some students achieved outstanding results, going from Beginner to Lower Intermediate in eight months. This improvement means that the AI assessed their speaking and pronunciation as 2-3 levels higher than it was in the beginning—thanks to the hours they spent practicing with ELSA.
The best-performing student was able to go from an EPS score of 33% to 64% on an average of 27 minutes of practice a day.
In total, 33% of the 441 students showed improvement, with 10% of them improving by 10% and above. On average, after just three months, there was a 7% improvement in speaking and pronunciation.
What the students and teachers thought of ELSA
As the high engagement levels suggest, students were enthusiastic about using ELSA, and not just with school in mind. As one high school student remarked, “I don’t want to worry about my pronunciation when I go abroad, so I will use this app over and over.”
The app helped learners to identify their weaknesses and, most importantly, to make visible progress in those areas. “Before, I had no idea whether my pronunciation was good or bad, but now I know what I’m struggling with and I can feel that my pronunciation is getting better and better.”
It’s more than just students who experienced the benefits of using ELSA. Teachers, too, were thrilled with the results they saw for their learners.
“The number of students who pronounce English sentences without reading phonetic symbols has increased by imitating the pronunciation of the application. By reading and pronouncing English sentences repeatedly, I feel that the students’ ability to read English sentences has improved.”
Teachers also loved ELSA’s easy-to-use dashboard, which gives real-time student engagement and progress insights.
“[It] makes It easy to identify the pronunciation difficulties of the students in the class, so it has become possible to provide focused pronunciation instruction in conjunction with a native English teacher.”
ELSA and it’s impact in the classroom
ELSA improves pronunciation and speaking skills and, along with that, comes an increase in confidence which, as we all know, is vital for learners of English.
What’s interesting about the Kyotango example is how much the app became a valued part of the school curriculum from both the students’ and teachers’ points of view. It’s not just a fun add-on. ELSA can be an integrated part of how teachers deliver lessons—and something the students enjoy using.
If you want to see what ELSA can do for your students, request a free demo today!