Speech on the Internet: A New Educational Resource and a Cautionary Note

Prof Brad Rakerd,
Prof Dean Rehberger
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Speech audio — both digitally recorded and synthetically generated — is becoming commonplace on the Internet. The richness, immediacy, and nuance of spoken messages make these records a notable new educational resource and we are among those who advocate their increased use, both in the classroom and elsewhere. But, as new curricula are developed, it will be important to remember that the speech audio available on the web is very often degraded in one or more ways, and this can have notable and under appreciated consequences for both speech comprehension and the cognitive effort required to achieve it. Moreover, negative consequences associated with degraded audio may be expected to fall disproportionately on students with special needs. The present paper will: (a) identify key components of audio degradation that are presently associated with web-based speech and likely to remain so for some time; (b) review what is known about effects of speech degradation on comprehension and cognitive effort; and (c) offer some guidelines for maximizing the effectiveness of web-based speech in educational applications for diverse learners.

Keywords: Speech audio, Comprehension, Cognitive effort, Signal degradation
Stream: Technology in Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Speech on the Internet

Prof Brad Rakerd

Professor, Department of Audiology and Speech Sciences, Michigan State University

Professor of Audiology and Speech Sciences, formerly Chairperson of the Department of Audiology and Speech Sciences and Director of Michigan State University's Oyer Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. A member of the Board of Faculty Advisors for MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online.

Prof Dean Rehberger

Associate Director, MATRIX, Michigan State University

Ref: T05P0240