Voice Story can be used with all languages. The user produces the language orally themselves, so the language is only limited to what the user can produce. Other apps for languages are available in either single languages or only a select range of languages. Many learners’ home languages are not represented in apps. Voice Story gives voice to all languages and is a particularly important resource for languages that are not present in any other apps.
Voice Story can be used with learners at all language levels. Some learners may produce a collection of single words, others may produce short utterances, whilst other learners may produce extended sequential stories. The aim of Voice Story is to promote and support learners’ production of language as soon as possible and extend learning a language to using that language. Most other apps are designed with a narrow level of language that rarely suit a teaching context or diverse student needs and abilities. Voice Story gets all learners using language at their individual levels.
Voice Story is open-ended and provides unlimited possibilities for the creation of original stories. A story is not pre-determined, learners can say what they want to say, are able to say and talk about content that interests them personally. This is an unusual feature in an app but is very important for learners’ oral language development and is what makes Voice Story unique. Traditional apps usually have a limited set of words or phrases that restrict users’ language, whereas the possibilities for oral language with Voice Story are limitless. Learners can create any length of stories using any language in any combination.
As an open-ended resource, Voice Story can be used with any content and any topic. Many existing resources are not suitable for language learners because they do not include the language content or topics that learners have been learning. Voice Story does not have pre-determined content. It has categories of pictures that may be selected from and learners can add their own pictures or photos. The learner is in charge of the content by their own selection of pictures. This means that learners can use the language that they know and are not limited by pre-determined content or topic that they may or may not know.
Voice Story is student-centred. It is about the learners more than the technology. The role of the technology is to facilitate the learning. Many other apps reflect traditional methods of education where the app is 99% about the app delivering content and only about 1% about the learner, whereas, Voice Story is only 1% about the app as a platform for language and 99% about the learners as active users and original creators of language. The learner makes the decisions and is in control. Other apps rarely "fit" learners' language levels or connect with the language, content and experiences of the learner. Voice Story focuses much more on learners and their active use of language.
Voice Story can be used any time, anywhere. It can be used at school as a classroom resource to apply the language learners are learning into a story context or can be used outside of school increasing language rehearsal time beyond that provided in the school timetable.
Voice Story provides a much-needed assessment tool for oral language in schools that can be used for all languages at all levels. The ability to save and share stories makes Voice Story particularly useful as a tool for teachers to gather oral language assessment data from stories that students have shared with them. Teachers can then use the oral language samples as evidence to inform their assessment and reporting requirements and as diagnostic information to inform their teaching.
Oral language samples in the context of stories identify what students can say using the language they have learned, which aspects of the language they have mastered, which aspects they have difficulty with and which aspects of language the learner would benefit from further teaching. Voice Story retains students’ focus on the task of creating a story and reduces students’ anxiety compared with external tests of oral proficiency. The open-ended nature of Voice Story means that learners can use any language that they know, about any topic or content, and do so at any level. This is the optimal situation for students to showcase their language skills and for teachers to gauge students’ actual language production abilities.
Digital portfolios are a popular way to showcase student learning which includes a digital collection of evidence of student learning. In contrast with a traditional method of collecting physical paper work samples from students which limits evidence to written work that is observable, digital portfolios can capture evidence of learning that may include audio and video, thereby expanding the range of evidence of learning that can be collected. Voice Story can contribute to this by providing digital evidence of students’ oral language output. Students can take responsibility for developing their own digital portfolios to showcase their work and include Voice Story recordings as evidence of their oral language development.