Speaking Skills

 
 
Picture of Don Hinkelman
Skype and Class-to-class Voice Exchange
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Eric Hagley is active experimenting with internet telephony for EFL classes.  He asked me to post this message.....

I'm unsure if others have heard of Skype.  It is free software that, in
simple terms, makes your computer into a telephone.   It can be downloaded from

http://www.skype.com/

You can talk to anyone in the world for free if you both have the software
and a microphone.  Messenger software has some similarities but has various
problems (incompatible across systems, advertising, Microsoft etc) that
Skype overcomes.

I want my students in class and afterwards to be able to communicate with
other EFL students (and perhaps native speakers) from other countries.  I
would hope to be able to work with the teacher from the other country in
real time so that we could get our students on similar paths and prepared to
speak with students from a variety of different countries..  With skype you
can have up to 5 people on a conference call at the same time so discussions
could take place even if class numbers didn't match up perfectly.

There are numerous email exchange sites out there.  This will be (possibly)
the first proper exchange using oral communication.  (If there are others
there, please let me know!)  Ideally, students in a class on Monday morning
in Korea could link up with one in Japan and the students could exchange
ideas together in English.  The time zones are the same so there should be
no problems.  If everyone uses GMT to talk time then the opportunities to
link up will be greater still.

In a previous post someone asked about recording software.  The best there
is is audacity.  A little difficult to set up, but once going is just
brilliant. My students are using it no problem.  If you want to use it for
changing voices etc it has those functions too - changing speed, pitch, and
a whole host of other things.  To save as mp3 you'll also need lame but you
can find all the information at the audacity download site at

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/windows.php

Also free!

Picture of Dave Bethany
Re: Skype and Class-to-class Voice Exchange
 

I teach conversational English, online and have been doing so for a number of years. I use an open-source program that was developed/integrated by a number of individuals and organization, but presently is controlled through George Mason University, called NEW (Network EducationWare). I work with Dr. Pullen at the university in additional development and testing of the program.

NEW allows for full voice conferencing, whiteboard operations (with integration of slides/videos/graphics from any number of sources), web-touring and I've added in application sharing. We can have any number of participants in a class (but I usually keep it below 10). A great feature is that we can record a complete session, allowing students to do a streaming playback at a later time.

I'm presently creating a complete online school with Moodle. I've sucessfully linked NEW to my courses, using a simple html link to the configuration files. After I get it all running, I hope to tie NEW and its course database system into Moodle and its course mgmt system.

This creates a complete synchronous/asynchronous learning environment. My students love NEW, due to its clarity of sound, capabilities and its ability to tunnel through firewalls. I have students from all over the world and we seldom have problems with the system.

NEW servers run on Linux or Windows systems. The client only runs on windows. It is free for academic or educational purposes. You can download NEW from GMU, ( http://netlab.gmu.edu/NEW/ ) but the download and install can be confusing from their site.  I have a MS installer built for an easier install. I have to do some changes to the config files and will post a download for my installer in the next day or two.

Dave

davebethany@hotmail.com

Picture of Maria Hinestroza
Re: Skype and Class-to-class Voice Exchange
 

Dear Dave and all other conversation teachers:

I am teaching a module on conversation in the ELT program at a university and would be very willing to try the software you describe with my students. I am sure they will be very excited about interacting with students from different countries in English. We live in Colombia, GMT -5.

We'll be looking forward to get in contact with you and your group.

Warm regards,

Maria

Picture of Jon Penn
Re: Skype and Class-to-class Voice Exchange
 

Maria.

I would love to collaborate with you and form an exchange between our students.

I am of a Cuban family and teach level 2 Spanish in NJ.  We use Skype and it is so simple yet so efficient.  I would be happy to help you in any way.

I look forward to hearning from you,

JP

Picture of Jon Penn
Re: Skype and Class-to-class Voice Exchange
 

I teach Spanish 2 in New Jersey and have about 20 bright and ambitious American students that would like to participate in a conversational exchange. We have plenty of computers and would like to use Skype and the mode of exchange. 

Either Spanish Classes or ESL classes for Spanish speakers are welcome and we are willing to communicate in both English and Spanish.

Please Email me ASAP @ jpenning@hcrhs.k12.nj.us if you would like to establish a partnership.

Thank you and am looking forward to it!

JP

Picture of FLeok zra
Re: Skype and Class-to-class Voice Exchange
 

If you don"t want to try Audacity, which will show you it's cruel interface or one of numerous bugs with skype - there is another free alternative at link below, Skype Call Recorder - newborn friendful free software for skype's recording.

http://voipcallrecording.com/

Picture of Bill White
Re: Skype and Class-to-class Voice Exchange
 
This looks promising and works well on XP. Unfortunately, it is for Windows only. I run multiple systems as well as my students and need cross platform capability. Will this be available for other platforms as well in the future?