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Abstract

To achieve pedagogic goals and deal with environmental constraints such as noise when lecturing, teachers adapt their speech production in terms of frequency, intensity, and temporal aspects. The mastery of appropriate vocal skills is key to teachers’ speech intelligibility, health, and educational effectiveness. This project tests the relevance of virtual reality (VR) for training teachers’ vocal skills by simulating a lesson in a realistic VR environment characterized by adjustable constraints such as background noise and fidgety children. The VR environment depicts an elementary school classroom with 16 pupils aged 9 to 12 years old animated with typical childlike actions. To validate this virtual classroom in terms of speech characteristics, we conducted acoustic analyses on the speech productions of 30 female teachers in three conditions: (1) giving a free speech while facing the experimenter (control), (2) teaching in their usual classroom (in vivo), and (3) teaching the same lesson in a virtual classroom (in virtuo). The background noise in the VR setting was adjusted for each talker so it was similar to the level measured in vivo. Repeated measures ANOVAs showed that teachers significantly increased their voice frequency, intensity, and intonation, and made longer pauses while speaking in vivo and in virtuo, compared to the control condition (p < .001). These voice and speech adaptations (partly related to background noise), the strong feeling of presence and the lack of side effects suggest that the virtual classroom may facilitate voice training and rehabilitation for teachers.
Reference:
Remacle, A., Bouchard, S., Etienne, A-M., Rivard M-C., & Morsomme, D. (in press). A virtual
classroom can elicit teachers’ speech characteristics: evidence from acoustic measurements
during in vivo and in virtuo lessons, compared to a free speech control situation. Virtual
Reality. DOI : 10.1007/s10055-020-00491-1
Full-text available under http://hdl.handle.net/2268/253726
... To our knowledge, five studies have assessed the impact of using VR on the speech characteristics of the speakers while using this technique during a public speaking task as compared to other conditions. Three of them (Niebuhr and Michalsky, 2018;Remacle et al., 2021;Valls-Ratés et al., 2021) put the focus on prosody (which refers to all aspects of a speaker's voice and tone-of-voice). Niebuhr and Michalsky (2018) showed in a study with 24 participants comparing VR and Non-VR groups, that those students rehearsing public speeches within a VR environment performed their speech in a more listeneroriented, conversation-like speaking style than participants in the control group, who practiced their speech alone in a classroom. ...
... Moreover, compared to the control Non-VR group, the speakers were unexpectedly motivated to speak longer, and the speech of the VR group was characterized by higher fundamentalfrequency (i.e., f0) levels, a wider f0 range, a slower speaking rate, fewer pauses and a higher intensity level. A recent study by Remacle et al. (2021) conducted with 30 female elementary school teachers also proved to be effective in prompting vocal characteristics that are very similar to the ones used in the classroom. Teachers gave the same lesson in their classrooms and later in front of a VR audience. ...
... All in all, the investigations assessing the value of public speaking VR training initially point out to a gain in public speaking performance in terms of general performance, eye gaze and speech rate (Sakib et al., 2019;Van Ginkel et al., 2020). Importantly several studies have indicated that VR triggers a more listener-oriented speech style (Niebuhr and Michalsky, 2018;Niebuhr and Tegtmeier, 2019;Notaro et al., 2021;Remacle et al., 2021;Valls-Ratés et al., 2021). Yet to our knowledge no previous investigation has assessed the value of VR training by assessing public speaking performance at post-test by incorporating a full-fledged prosodic analysis of the post-test speeches. ...
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... They furthermore concluded that the delivery of those participants trained in the VR condition was more charismatic and more audience-oriented, showing reduced signs of erosion due to repeated rehearsing than the delivery after practicing alone in a classroom. In a very recent study by [18], VR training also proved to be effective in prompting vocal characteristics very similar to the ones used in classroom. The study was conducted with elementary school teachers who gave the same lesson in their classrooms and later in front of a VR audience. ...
... Acoustic analyses were performed for both groups. Regarding the effects of VR on prosodic parameters, results showed significant changes across groups on f0 values from baseline to TR01, meaning that intonation patterns varied when speakers moved on from facing a real audience to the first training session (with VR or Non-VR); as was found by [18] with teachers who performed the same lesson in class and with a virtual audience, or by [17] whose participants got lectures on the importance of pitch in persuasive investor pitches prior to training. The prosodic changes found here during VR (and non-VR) training are largely consistent with both [18] and [17]. ...
... Regarding the effects of VR on prosodic parameters, results showed significant changes across groups on f0 values from baseline to TR01, meaning that intonation patterns varied when speakers moved on from facing a real audience to the first training session (with VR or Non-VR); as was found by [18] with teachers who performed the same lesson in class and with a virtual audience, or by [17] whose participants got lectures on the importance of pitch in persuasive investor pitches prior to training. The prosodic changes found here during VR (and non-VR) training are largely consistent with both [18] and [17]. ...
... They concluded that the speeches of participants who were trained in the VR condition were more charismatic and more audienceoriented, showing reduced signs of erosion due to repeated rehearsing than those speeches that had been practiced alone in a classroom. VR training also proved to be effective in Speech Prosody 2022 23-26 May 2022, Lisbon, Portugal prompting vocal characteristics very similar to the ones used in the classroom in a very recent study [30]. It was conducted with elementary school teachers that gave the same lesson in their classrooms and later in front of a VR audience. ...
... Regarding the effects of VR on prosodic parameters, results showed no significant changes across groups on f0 values, meaning that intonation patterns did not change due to VR. At first glance this is inconsistent with the results of [30] where teachers performed the same lesson in class and with a virtual audience, or with the results of [29] where participants had to give persuasive investor pitches with and without a VR audience. The important difference to the present study is, however, that both [30] and [29] analyzed the prosody that speakers showed during VR immersion and not after it. ...
... At first glance this is inconsistent with the results of [30] where teachers performed the same lesson in class and with a virtual audience, or with the results of [29] where participants had to give persuasive investor pitches with and without a VR audience. The important difference to the present study is, however, that both [30] and [29] analyzed the prosody that speakers showed during VR immersion and not after it. As we already highlighted in the Introduction, our experiment is probably the first to analyze what happens (prosodically) when speakers take off the VR glasses again. ...
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... Un estudio reciente ha realizado por Remacle et al. (2021) ha analizado el efecto vocal que tienen los dispositivos de realidad virtual. Este equipo de investigación midió el comportamiento vocal de profesores expuestos a salas de clases de realidad virtual versus una sala real, concluyendo que las adaptaciones vocales (cambio de la voz) realizados en ambos entornos (realidad virtual vs realidad) fueron similares. ...
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... Since we want to separate these audio, the most natural idea is whether we can simply extract one or several features and then use these features to separate all audio at once. Each category has a relatively high recognition rate [7,8]. Audio extraction is a nonstationary random process, whose characteristics change with time, but this change is very slow. ...
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