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How a new device is breaking down language barriers in school

Elementary students with raised hands
Boise School District
Elementary students with raised hands

Getting kids to pay attention in class can be a challenge, as any teacher knows, with all the distractions and issues that face children in school. But how do you teach kids who don’t speak the same language?

In the West Ada School District, kids speak a variety of languages, including Spanish, Swahili, Arabic, Russian, Bosnian, Vietnamese, Ukrainian, Mandarin, and the list goes on. So how do teachers and other school administrators communicate with them?

West Ada has been using a device known as Pocketalk that can instantly translate more than 80 different languages.

Lisa Austen, West Ada's administrator of federal programs within the multilingual learner division, joined Idaho Matters to tell us more.

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As Senior Producer of our live daily talk show Idaho Matters, I’m able to indulge my love of storytelling and share all kinds of information (I was probably a Town Crier in a past life!). My career has allowed me to learn something new everyday and to share that knowledge with all my friends on the radio.