The Gervais School District has put 20 small devices in the hands of non-native English speakers to help bridge the language barrier between the students and their peers and educators. The device, called PocketTalk, can translate 82 different languages.
The district used $10,000 in federal grant money to purchase the PocketTalks and Spf.io, a United Nation-style translation and accessibility software that allows a teacher to speak in English and the students to hear and read the lecture in their native language.
“We have found their use in classrooms and in social settings to almost immediately break down the language barrier. We have students talking to students and they’re having organic conversations and they’re laughing and they’re building friendships,” said Crieghton Helms, director of student services and federal programs.
The introduction of the devices has been so successful that the district is writing more grant applications to purchase more for staff.