Born and raised in Germany, Hannah started learning English as a Second Language in 5th grade and French in 7th grade. After completing her Master’s in Education, ESL, and History at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, she moved to the United States to become a teacher at the Milwaukee German Immersion School and a professor at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. She is now a content creator, blog author, and pedagogical mentor at Robotel.
Robotel. When I first heard this, I thought of a telephone company. Something complicated, tech-heavy, and not for me. Then they threw even more names and acronyms at me. SmartClass, Let's Talk, HUB, LIVE, LTE. I was confused. What is what, and what did it have to do with me teaching university-level German? It took a little while to understand what everything meant, but once I figured it out, I was happy I did not just walk past their booth at a conference.
Table of content
Robotel Inc. is the name of our fantastic company. A global leader in educational technology, we develop solutions for language teachers used in K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. Education and language learning are very important to all of us, and between the 28 employees, we speak a combined 22 languages! English, French, Spanish, German, Mandarin, Czech, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, Arabic... just to name a few. And our programmers “speak” more than 10 programming languages alone 😀.
What brought us together is our passion for learning a foreign language and the importance of supporting and helping teachers in doing so. We believe that teachers have a lasting impact on students while they prepare them for the future. That is why our SmartClass software is here to help you manage your students and time so that you can be all of these things while still doing what you love: teaching languages and immersing your students in foreign cultures.
2. SmartClass (SC)
SmartClass ("SC") is the name of the language teaching software that a funny and smart person named Marek developed. This software was used for many years in traditional language labs so teachers could pair students, record them listen to their conversations and pronunciation. In the past couple of years, though, it has become something even more remarkable. A modern language teaching solution for teachers and students of many languages. Accessible from any device, anywhere, at any time, it can host everything teachers, and students need. From assignments, grammar charts, pronunciation activities, and grades to still being used in a modern language lab setting in the classroom for live testing, presentations, and group activities.
The SmartClass digital teaching solution is used in foreign language classrooms around the world. More than 10,000 schools have installed SmartClass already!
The achievements (from our website):
"We are proud of the recognition that others have awarded to our spectacular language lab software products and to our talented people.
At the international awards ceremony held annually at the ITEX Invention, Innovation & Technology Conference, Robotel’s SmartClass language lab platform has twice won a Gold Award for outstanding achievement in the Education category (2013 & 2015). (So far!)
Robotel participates in a variety of International and domestic language teaching conferences worldwide."
Within SmartClass, there are two primary components, the HUB and LIVE. The HUB is the core component and that is where you (the teacher) start. You create classes/courses, import students, upload media/audio files, create and assign activities, and grade and review your students' work.
There are 19 different templates for activities within the platform, such as Multiple Choice, Fill-in-the-blanks, listening, recordings, videos, and pronunciation. 9 of those activity templates are automatically graded by the system, which frees up valuable time for you as a language teacher to review your students' recordings or work on preparing future lessons.
And then there is the SmartClass LIVE Option. It is everything live in the classroom, that would equal a modern language lab. Computers or mobile devices are connected, the teacher can see what is going on on the screens or listen in on conversations. Students can share their screen with everyone or on the projector, they can work in pairs/groups without having to move seats. It's also a wonderful tool for live testing that allows for teachers to add speaking and listening components to every test without having to meet one-on-one with their students.
5. SmartClass Content
So far, we have three products in our SmartClass Content. A complete English Curriculum for beginners through advanced learners, as well as a supplemental curriculum for Spanish and German language teaching.
Our complete English (ESL/EFL) curriculum is called “Let’s Talk! English” (LTE), that has been developed by our team of former language teachers. The content is all housed in the SmartClass software, and teachers get a printed handbook. It is like the textbook and workbook you are using right now, just not printed. Kind of an ebook, but all the exercises are also in the software (and 50% of them are automatically graded!) No more printing or correcting on paper. All in the system. Nice, yet scary at first!
The supplemental series "Deutsch-Hörverstehen & Sprechen" (German) and "Español-Escuchar y Hablar" (Spanish) are based on the CEFR again, just like LTE, and focus primarily on speaking, listening, and pronunciation. Our A1 book and the HUB student activities are ready for you already, and we are not stopping until we can provide you with A2-B2 and a speaking/listening oriented English version as well!
6. In summary
Okay, so here is what you need to know. Robotel has been working for and with teachers for over 30 years to simplify and enhance language teaching. To do that, the programmers created a software called SmartClass. That software is capable of lots of great things. Either to be used as a live language lab (for pairs, groups, and individual testing) in the classroom (SmartClass LIVE) or to assign activities to students to work on (individually) in class or at home (Smartclass HUB). The software supports 28 languages (not including multiple regional varieties of Spanish, English, Chinese, and Arabic) and can be used for foreign language teaching worldwide.
A few years ago, we went a step further and decided to add our own content to the software. That content is based on the CEFR competency levels A1-B2. For English (ESL/EFL/ELL) teachers, there is a complete curriculum called “Let’s Talk! English," and for German and Spanish teacher, there are the supplemental series "Deutsch-Hörverstehen & Sprechen" and "Español-Escuchar y Hablar."
We like hearing from you and take your feedback serious (after all, we developed our German and Spanish supplemental series because of YOU!). So let us know what features, languages, capabilities you would like to see next! I'm curious to see what you need the most! And if you want to try out our software, click here to register for a free trial with sample content from the English, German, and Spanish curricula.