Our new "modal" player

We just released our new modal player after extensive testing with students and teachers around the world.  We’ve found that by combining the learning environment into one nice place, students have a better experience and learn more.

The new player is Watch + Speak.  Watch the video first to gain understanding. Then without leaving the player, Speak the video.  All the same functions are there:

  • slow the original speech
  • get definitions and pronunciation of words/expressions/idioms
  • repeat lines instantly
  • turn subtitles/translations on and off (set subtitles by choosing a site language)
  • compare your speech to the original
  • get instant feedback and a mark (points) on your speaking

Try it out now with this ” crazy ” dog video!  We know you’ll like the clarity, simplicity and experience of this all in one player!  Also, give us feedback using our UserVoice!

http://access.englishcentral.com/access/OQkvOwnRpmoPCoZjA_zRKFHbjr8Ld02z/guinness-dog-with-the-longest-ears

Comments

  1. Hello,
    I like the new look of the player – the screen is bigger, and has a minimalist design. Also I found that the response of the player when you record your voice is much better than before somehow. 

    However, what happened to auto-stop function at each sentence?? I can see it anymore. Or is it hidden somewhere?? Please put that function back.  

    I practice my pronunciation by repeating a sentence over and over again, record my voice on the sentence many times until I get the the highest score possible. Now the player does not stop after you record your voice, and the program gives the feedback and score, but goes on to the next sentence. So I have to click rewind every time to stay on the same sentence. 

    Thank you

  2. Leandro Del Sole says:

    I got to agree with @c5f88dde9c87b81a6331b0f98b6a39b2:disqus , I practice my speaking in the same way he does. And for those who really cares about doing everything 100% right, the auto play after recording is bothering.

    Nevertheless, it looks much better, congratulations =)

  3. Jim Donohue says:

    I like the new player very much but I would like to see some little changes done to it. After speaking the desired sentence and then you get your score, the numeric value of the score flashes only for a brief second. I would like to see the numeric score feedback last a little longer on the screen so the students can see it themselves. Another thing that I personally would like to see done away with is the ‘pauses flag’ that is currently being used. I don’t believe that they really serve any constructive objective at all. Everybody has some sort of pauses in their spoken speech including me. Pauses are often times needed to stress a certain word or phrase in a sentence. Plus, the pauses lower your overall score and in my opinion are causing some students of mine to lose confidence in this particular tool. Just my two cents worth.

  4. It’s a great program, but the scores leave me wondering what I did wrong? There needs to be more feedback–rhythm, stress, consonant, vowel.  How are your grades determined anyway?  Thank you.

  5. Please, do bring back the auto pause, my
    students have been telling me this was the best part of learning with
    English Central. Where are the comparisons of the student and the native
    speaker, where are all the buttons in the left pannel (in the video)
    where you could slow down, compare your speech, etc? I don´t like the
    new player at all. In my opinion constant changes are not gonna make
    your users happy and I have seen way too many changes since you
    launched. If it ain´t broke, don´t fix it. This makes me less
    enthusiastic about your service.

    Thanks for hearing me out,
    Nina

  6. I am trying to keep an open mind and learn the new player. I trust that you guys know what you are doing! My response from students has varied, some positive, some negative. But it does put a teacher at a real disadvantage if s/he cannot explain how something works. Please pay more attention to training us!

  7. 1. The pronunciation feedback is so fast that my students and I can hardly read it, much less mentally process it.  You blink, you missed it!
    2. After a student speaks the video, if s/he wants to do it again, where is the replay “button”? It is not intuitive to have to close the video window and reopen it again. It is great that the system suggests the vocab. as the next step, but it should also encourage the student to rerecord if s/he wants to.
    3. Is it possible to listen to a student recording straight through while in video player?
    4. Please confirm that the best way to listen to a student recording during a lesson, while still in the video screen speak mode, is to alternate clicking the double balloons and the >. I know I can go to the teacher page, but that seems roundabout.
    5. I now understand the recording function of the rectangles under the subtitles, but do they really support speaking, or are they a distraction?
    6. Is the enter KBS as good at turning on the student recording asclicking on the double balloons?
    7. I am still waiting to hear about my training session. I would be happy to share it with a few other teachers via a skype conference call or ..? I explain English Central at least once a day, and I plan to make it more and more, so I really want to have all the answers. Nothing worse in a presentation than “ugh, gee, I don’t know…”
    Kind regards,
    Brenda

  8. Ah, I see that the enter KBS works well in playback of student recordings that I launch from the report function, but where are the little headphones from the teacher page? I can get to the recordings via the little video player icon in reposrts. Is that the new route?

  9. Hi again
    I’ve been using the new player for a few days now- and I found the behavior of the player after it gives you its feedback on your pronunciation is somewhat erratic. There seems to be basically three different patterns – 1) the player simply stops at where it is, 2) the payer repeats the same line you just practiced, and then moved to the next line, or 3) the player goes to the next line straight away, without repeating the line you practiced. These three patterns happens at any time and randomly. This is really annoying if you want to stay at a line to practice the line repeatedly – as you have to operate the player differently depending on the pattern that appears. 

    Btw, I’m using Safari (ver 5.12) on Mac (OS X Lion)

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments. We ARE listening intently. For one, the auto pause will soon be restored.  Further, we are making some other changes which will make the user experience like that before but with the improved design. 

    We thank you for your voice/feedback and patience. 

    David

  11. Hi, I completely agree with thoe who miss auto-stop function. It’s not comfortable now to master pronunciation.

  12. Anonymous says:

    We are making considered changes including the auto pause return. Stay tuned everyone and know your voices are being heard. Just takes some time to turn a big ship to a new direction.  The player wasn’t broke but we improved a lot of functionality and set the stage for an experience where you will do everything within the player (Learn vocab is coming). 

    Dmitche2 – You get scored by assessing your pronunciation to a standard phonetic model. Also gain or lose points for correct pausing, time interval between words/sounds.  We will be bringing back the points along with the above noted changes to the player. 

    Brenda – yes, use the little headphones “Listen In ” in reports – pronunciation to get to where you can listen to student recordings. 

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hi, just wanted to say that the latest version of the player (as of Feb 06) works absolutely great, for me at least.The auto-pause function has returned and transcript lines are “doubled” under the video so that  now the whole line can be seen, that is exactly what I wished for. Maybe the numeric score feedback could dissapear from the screen after several seconds, but this is a minor thing as I can remove it myself at any time. Thanks for your great job.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cinnabar6,

      Thanks for the positive feedback! We’ve been working hard at listening to our users and despite the stumbling, we are coming up running. We are planning on a few more minor refinements, stay tuned. Also, a blog post explaining the changes. It’s all part of getting the player ready for the big leagues where you can Watch / Speak / Learn as one integrated experience. We have great staff, young, dedicated and doing their job for the right reasons…. stay tuned for a lot more from us!

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