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Class to class skype calls
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mr fred



Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:43 pm    Post subject: Class to class skype calls Reply with quote

I'm interested in setting up class to class skype calls between ESL learners in various countries.
Strictly monitored by teachers, not for individual students.
The idea is, a class would learn something about a given country and prepare questions before they talk to each other.

So far I've had interest from Korea and Thailand, I'm in Indonesia.

Anyone interested?
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mr fred



Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No takers?
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tttompatz



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 1951
Location: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrong time of year.

Thailand: National tests in 2 weeks. Finals after that. Holidays after that until mid May.

Korea is out and returns March 2.
Japan returns in April.
Philippines returns to classes in June.

Come back in May/June and there will probably be a lot more interest within the East Asian time zones.

.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 796

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ditto, I might be interested around May. I'm not really sure how the logistics will work though. Would I need to register a class-load of Skype addresses? I wouldn't be happy asking the students to give out their private contact information. The students I would do this with are quite a low level, and the class is mixed, I'm not sure how successful it would be. Finally, the practicalities of arranging it across time zones could scupper everything. I have a very fixed schedule.

Having said all that, I am certainly curious if not quite interested yet.
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LongShiKong



Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 881
Location: China

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had the same idea a year ago but made the mistake of posting the notice on a Teachers Forum--few takers but then I didn't expect much because of the likelihood of finding:
a) a teacher with the interest and patience to coordinate the logistics
b) teaching a similar sized class
c) of the same age (and/or academic/professional background),
d) and level,
e) in preferably another country.

I also asked members of a LinkedIN EFL Group but only one person responded. I really believe in the value of this for any age and level and is something we should be doing---helping students actually communicate with whatever English they have...even for young learners.

The problem is in coordinating all those variables as class times aren't flexible for anyone. If I were going to do it again, I'd need to set up a webpage/site where people could post the above class details and contact info (securely). I'd've asked Dave but he doesn't reply to my email suggestions.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8607
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dunno about all this techie stuff at all. It can be hard enough to get shy students to talk to a fellow student in the same class as them and from the same country. I'd imagine that it would be even hard to speak to a stranger via a machine.

Has anybody's students here actually got anything beneficial out of something like this?
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LongShiKong



Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 881
Location: China

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
I dunno about all this techie stuff at all. It can be hard enough to get shy students to talk to a fellow student in the same class as them and from the same country. I'd imagine that it would be even hard to speak to a stranger via a machine.


Techie? Skype? Unlike HLJHLJ, I'm not blessed/cursed with a room full of computers. We currently don't even have an IWB but that's how I envision doing this. At the beginner levels, students need some guidance to ensure communication. Perhaps at the advanced level, you can set them on their own but why bother doing this during class time.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8607
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, techie. Using a PC, headset, Skype programme is using technology. And for the life of me, I cannot see the point of it. There is already a group of learners in the classroom who can talk face to face with each other, and with their teacher. Even that can be challenging enough for many learners, especially beginners. Why complicate things with gadgetry?

Advanced learners that I know do not need any Skypie lessons in any case. They regularly communicate in English, using many channels including over the phone, as part of their job.

First practical lesson about TEFL I learnt - never depend on technology: it'll always let you down in a lesson.

Just as well humans are capable of learning languages without it...

Hic!
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LongShiKong



Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 881
Location: China

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
Yes, techie. Using a PC, headset, Skype programme is using technology. And for the life of me, I cannot see the point of it.


Seems both you and HLJHLJ missed the point. The OP specifically mentioned 'class-to-class calls...strictly monitored by teachers, not for individual students' and I referred to the use of an IWB, not a personal device. How is one to monitor multiple conversations simultaneously especially when students are using headsets?

I don't see this as a replacement for classroom practice but a means of augmenting it on an infrequent basis. The problem with EFL is quite often language practice becomes a dry exercise--students already know the answers to the questions they're asking their classmates, particularly in public schools.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8607
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whatever the intricacies of how it is organised, I still do not see the benefit of such an exercise. Perhaps I am missing the obvious, but it really looks more like playing with toys that have bells and whistles just for the sake of it than a lesson with valid aims that cannot be achieved any other way. Perhaps I am wrong. I bow to greater knowledge and experience in this area if someone can explain it to me...
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 796

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it was on an entire class to class basis, I wouldn't be interested. First, I don't have access to an IWB (I can book out the computer lab with adequate notice, but otherwise I just have a chalkboard!). Second, there would be far too little actual interaction, most of the students would be sitting round (not) listening, most of the time. It would be a waste of precious class time, I might as well just stick a video on for them.

Sasha, what you consider to be new-fangled technology, is everyday life for my students. They are more likely to use VOIP than a standard phone call. It would be less exotic to them than having a penpal was 30 years ago. I think they would find it engaging and interesting, and so would hopefully actually speak.

I would value the opportunity for them to attempt some real communication with a foreigner. Most of my students have never traveled abroad and many have never had the opportunity to communicate with someone in English outside of the classroom. It would be a steep learning curve for them, but a useful one. Given the choice I would rather it was done face to face, but I have no way to organise such a thing, especially not within the time frame of one lesson.
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LongShiKong



Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 881
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HLJHLJ wrote:
...there would be far too little actual interaction, most of the students would be sitting round (not) listening, most of the time. It would be a waste of precious class time, I might as well just stick a video on for them.

Far too little interaction? I presume then they're already used to a lot of pair/group work (you've successfully managed to minimize your TTT). So then why not go the next step---ask them if they'd like to extend such practice beyond the classroom? For this the lab may actually suit your needs better than an IWB. For weaker students, difference in class size, or lack of computers just assign 2 or 3 to a computer. The challenge, as I said, is in finding a class at the same time, level, age, etc. At the very least, I see this as a once or twice a term opportunity for EFL students to appreciate what it is they're learning.

You and your counterpart will have to preteach them the very essential skill of proactively solving problems communicating. Those that arise will only underscore what you've told them about the importance of pronunciation and/or grammar.

BTW: Does anyone know if Skype conversations can be recorded? They could be useful in many ways.

HLJHLJ wrote:
I would value the opportunity for them to attempt some real communication with a foreigner.

Why wouldn't they? Isn't that what EFL's all about?

HLJHLJ wrote:
... many have never had the opportunity to communicate with someone in English outside of the classroom.

...and most never will but you can give them that opportunity. Think about it--who would bother to teach a group basketball skills and regulations without letting them play the game, especially if they had access to a ball and court?
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 796

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've lost me LongShiKong. I've already said I would be interested in class-to-class calls, assuming it was paired/small groups not whole class to whole class and subject to solving the problems with logistics. You told me I had missed the point. Now you seem to be trying to convince me it's a good idea. I don't understand where you are going with this now.


EDIT: There's lots of Skype recording software available. I use MP3 Skype Recorder.
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mr fred



Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
Whatever the intricacies of how it is organised, I still do not see the benefit of such an exercise...


Open your eyes and let in the light.

Let me tell you a little story.

One day, I was on holiday (For two months - lucky me) in Malaysia.
A young Japanese lady had been conned in a very large way and had no idea what to do so I, being a nice chap and she having a really sexy bum I really wanted to get to know better, took her to the local coppers.

She could speak English as could the cops but they couldn't understand each other so I had to translate English to English.

The idea of the lessons is to give students experience in other ESL learners' English so they can understand each other.

My homework come from an excellent Cambridge book with CDs. They have a wide variety of world English accents thus giving my kids a massive advantage.

No point learning English if you can't understand anyone but an English native or an American.
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mr fred



Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
I dunno about all this techie stuff at all. It can be hard enough to get shy students to talk to a fellow student in the same class as them and from the same country. I'd imagine that it would be even hard to speak to a stranger via a machine.

Has anybody's students here actually got anything beneficial out of something like this?


It's as easy as you want it to be.

Easiest - An android phone with front camera

Next - A laptop with webcam, a small pair of speakers and a computer desk mic.
Easily enough for a small class to see and hear each other but the kids would have to go to the laptop to be heard by the other side.

My system is a little more complex but that that much.

I use a desktop with a webcam, conference speaker and a projector.
The microphones/amplifier are run though an external sound card with a microphone mixer that allows me a wired hand held microphone and a radio mic I can pass around the room.
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