Inevitably, a certain amount of jargon creeps into a document like this, often in the form of acronyms or abbreviations.We have tried to explain terms in full when they are introduced for the first time.Three examples that occur frequently throughout the document are: All of these devices and media can present sound and most of them can also present video.Sound is indispensable because teaching a language without offering the learner the opportunity of hearing native speakers' voices is unthinkable.Digital technology dates back to the invention of the digital computer in Manchester in 1948.
This was due in part to improvements in technology, but also to more user-friendly controls, imaginative materials and improved lab design that got away from the battery-chicken-farm appearance of rows of booths.
At the same time, self-access was coming into fashion and there was a wealth of new ideas on using the lab: pair work, group work, role-play, communication games, etc: see Ely (1984) and Davies (19f.).
The language lab was initially perceived as a solution to the problem of teaching foreign languages to a large number of learners in a short time, and undoubtedly it was a worthwhile invention.
However, the language lab gradually fell out of favour towards the end of the 1970s, mainly for the following reasons: From around the mid-1980s, the language lab was given a new lease of life.
Its introduction meant that the teacher could play recordings of authentic native speech, and the learner could also record his/her own voice and play it back to hear how he/she really sounded.
A modified version of the tape recorder, the Audio Active Comparative (AAC) recorder, went a step further.