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Published May 21, 2020 | Languages and Literature

Cantare: Read Along With Your Ears !

This digital tool page is a translation of an article first published in Profweb’s French edition.

In March 2020, the Centre collégial de développement de matériel didactique (CCDMD) released a new version of Cantare online. This tool allows you to synchronize a transcription with an audio file. Cantare is perfect for all language teachers who want to design educational activities with audio files.

Cantare's look and layout have been refreshed and the interface is now compatible with computers, tablets and cell phones. The main advantage of this new version is that it is no longer necessary to download Cantare on your computer. All college teachers can create a free account on the site to access their material directly online.

More specifically, Cantare is intended for all college teachers, especially second-language teachers, who wish to create listening comprehension activities using audio recordings or songs and their transcriptions. Cantare makes it possible to :

  • create playlists of audio files and complementary resources under the same theme.
  • create glossaries
  • publish and share playlists using hyperlinks

Synchronizing a transcript with an audio file

In the "Help" tab of Cantare, the steps for synchronizing a transcription with an audio file are detailed. Essentially, it is a matter of uploading an audio file and its text transcription. The text phrases are then selected one by one to synchronize them with the audio file's timing.

The tool is very instinctive and after some trial and error, the synchronization of the text is done quickly. I suggest that you avoid audio files that are too long (for example: one-hour podcasts or audio books), even if it means splitting them into several files, because the synchronization task will seem daunting and redundant.

An example of an audio file and its transcription in Cantare (The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, read by Christopher Walken).

Creating a glossary

The glossary is a useful complement to the digital tool that is Cantare. The student can consult the definition of words coloured in blue as the text scrolls across the screen. A simple click on a highlighted word opens a pop-up window with the definition. The student can also access the full glossary of an audio file by clicking on the "Glossary" tab.

In the "Help" tab, the steps for creating a glossary are also detailed. After selecting the desired playlist, you can add new entries to the glossary and define each term. It is also possible to edit the glossary at the same place where you synchronize the audio files.

In addition, for each audio file, you can include additional resources with hyperlinks and create a bibliography.

Adding a word to the glossary

Cantare is a really interesting tool for second language learning and could very well be part of a flipped classroom or an online course. Understanding foreign language audio files has never been easier than with Cantare!

About the Author

Camille Arpin She has been an editor for Profweb since 2019. She teaches French and literature in various cegeps of the province. Her studies and professional experiences have led her to become interested in multidisciplinary pedagogical approaches and the issues related to the assessment of knowledge and competencies.

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