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Book Chapter

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Rising costs, combined with an increasing lack of flexibility of commercial course management technology tools such as uLearn and Blackboard, have prompted educators to consider other options. New advances in free and open source software, webware, and hardware are becoming attractive alternatives for educators and school systems due to decreased funding. These innovative digital tools hold promise to help educators overcome a variety of impediments to teaching and learning in the 21st century such as fostering student motivation. In the context of second/foreign language learning, the author seeks to present various technologies to P-16 educators that can be used for student oral language assessment. The author provides an overview of the obstacles language teachers must overcome in order to teach more effectively, as well as a synopsis of various options with which language instructors may not be familiar. Afterwards, findings from empirical research comparing the use of digital technology for the measurement of student speaking proficiency to the more conventional face-to-face method are presented. Student and instructor perceptions of using free and open source software are discussed, and the chapter concludes with a discussion of challenges that can appear when changes in assessment methods take place as well as avenues for future research.


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