6The new brilliant Siri voice recognition assistant has made a significant move on the way we use our smartphones. (iphone 4S users - at least). As a technology admirer, I was really excited to have something so hi-tech in my hands. I remember the first time I said hello to this phone and it said hello back. I was so thrilled and excited. What was the first thing that crossed my mind? It is a great way to practice speaking! The fact that this software ''speaks'' only English and you can ask questions to it such as '' What is the population of China?'' or ''What is the capital city of Greece?'' and it anwers you back it is a great opportunity to practice your English speaking skills alone, without feeling afraid of making mistakes or somoene is listening and he will judge. What is more, if you say something wrong you can ask again and again. Plus, it is motivating because you expect to get an answer. Of course, I checked my theory to one of my students. He is 12 years old and he is A2 level. I described him how Siri works and we made a list of some questions to ask her. We started asking Siri and ,surprisingly, when our questions were over, he was making his own spontaneous questions. It was really motivating for both of us! He had fun and I fullfilled my objectives of the lesson plan.
Nevertheless, you cannot buy a new phone just because you do not have Siri. Most smartphones users own iPhones or Android Phones. If you are an Android user here are some apps that are Siri-like that you can use:
Skyvi (Free) knows about everything from Local Businesses to Food Nutrition! It makes witty remarks and even tells jokes. It has a social side, letting you access Facebook and Twitter using voice.
Vlingo (Free) is your very own Virtual Assistant. Simply speak to Vlingo and it will help you get more done, faster and easier than before. Try saying "Text John; What's up?" or "find italian restaurants" or even "update Facebook; Vlingo rocks!" Download to learn everything Vlingo can do for you.
iris. (Free)makes your phone talk on topics ranging from Mozart to stock prices.