Starting up voice forums and discussions for the Foreign Language Class is now possible with a couple of new tools which have been active for the last few months.
– One of them is Vaestro. This is “the first site on the internet to intiate voice discussions in a forum format”. You can talk to your friends, host interactive podcasts, or use it like an audio blog. You can even use it on your web site for free.
This software may be valuable in education as you can use it to start Asynchronous Voice Discussions, which will leave students some time to organize their ideas and prepare the points they will explain in advance. Everybody can listen to classmates voices and arguments in class or outside. In Foreign Language Learning it is a valuable tool to practise oral tasks and share them with the rest of the class group or level.
The only thing you need in order to start a FORUM is to registre, then you can use a microphone or upload an MP3 file. You can even set up international FORUMS without having to rearrange your schedule based on timezones .
-Another good one is Voxopop, which has already been tried for language practice. The Education, Learning and Language Forum started in February 2009 and has already more than 2,000 members. There are some other language forums such as English I Talk, Talking about 6 minute English , or BBC MB members. I will start my own language practice forum with my students next year. I hope I can talk about the results then.
These two webs add to the suite of voice resources and software that many teachers have been using in their language classes so far.
I will do a quick revision to the most popular ones:
– Audacity is some recording and sound editing software to be used off line. It is free.
– Podomatic is a podcast site where you can record or upload your podcasts and show them in your “Podcast” (a pocast blog). It includes a new tool to create slidacasts.
– Blip TV, Odeo, iTunes, the Internet Archive, Wikiworks are webs where you can host language podcasts online to be heard in class or by your students at home. They are also useful to create slidescasts, since they provide you with the necesary URL link required in sites like Podomatic.
– Voicethread is also a collaborative tool to create podcast, text and image presentations. A good tool for collaborative work.
If you want some more information about the tools you can use for your Language Class, you can have a look at Web 2.0. an English Course, my content based course on the use of Web 2.0. to express yourself and communicate in English.