E-learning with web 2.0


CC-Skype-1.jpg- ► category - VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, permits internet telephony on desktop or laptop computers. The best-known VoIP service, Skype (see icon on left), is also available in an app version for mobile devices where, along with other similar apps, it offers an alternative to voice calls through a telephone service (see Going Mobile below).

- ► what - VoIP refers to voice calls made over the internet, though nowadays it often takes the form of video calls, often with supplementary text channels.

- ► why - VoIP is an ideal tool for conducting live interviews or pair and small group discussions. These can be recorded and reviewed or transcribed later, and well-designed oral tasks can also form the basis for assessments. There are obvious applications of VoIP for language learning in particular, which has led to a number of services building language learning functionality around Skype or similar VoIP technology.

- ► how - For information on using Skype and recording conversations for language learning, see Nik Peachey's Skype Part 1: Recording Audio and Skype Part 2: Online Workspace.

- ► where - In addition to the well-known Skype, other VoIP services include Google+ Hangouts and Oovoo. For a fuller list, see Wikipedia's Comparison of VoIP Software.

Language exchange services can help to organise voice chat, often through Skype, and often with accompanying text channels. Examples include The Mixxer, My Language Exchange and the SharedTalk Language Exchange Network. eTandem is a more generalised service for finding language learning partners.

Recordings of VoIP calls can be made using free software, such as Pamela (which allows free recordings of up to 15 minutes) and the many alternatives listed in MakeUseOf's The Quickest, Easiest Way to Record Skype.

- ► going mobile - Apps such as Skype and Tango provide alternatives to voice telephony on smart devices, as does Apple's FaceTime on the iPhone. This can help avoid telephone costs in areas covered by wifi. All of the above apps offer a video channel in addition to an audio channel. See also Variations below.

Weixin.png- ► variations - Variations on VoIP include audio discussion boards (sometimes called voiceboards), which can be set up through Gong or Voxopop. Audio messages can also be exchanged on apps such as FaceTime, WhatsApp and Weixin (微信) (known as WeChat in the international market; see icon on right), and the HelloTalk app designed specifically for language practice. With the SpeakingPal app, learners can chat to an animated video character, and thanks to speech recognition technology, they receive feedback on their own responses.

- ► more - For academic and journalistic references about VoIP, see the E-learning references page.

Credits: The image of the Skype logo above left is available under a Creative Commons licence from Phil Wolff's Photostream on Flickr; the original can be found here. I owe several links to Claire Pinks.

Contact: There's no such thing as a finished wiki. Like all wikis, this one is a work in progress and there will be changes from time to time in organisation, content and links. However, don't let that stop you from contacting me at any time with comments, suggestions or questions.