Synchronous Communication Tools in the Classroom By Richard Turnbull January 2008
Synchronous vs. Asynchronous <ul><li>Synchronous </li></ul><ul><li>Users connected at the same time </li></ul><ul><li>Real...
Synchronicity – Considerations <ul><li>Users must be connected to the Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Potential bandwidth/laten...
Text Chat – Background <ul><li>Programmes include MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, Jabber, AIM etc.  </li></ul><ul><li...
So let’s do it...! <ul><li>Log in to MSN Messenger </li></ul><ul><li>Chat with a partner and discuss: </li></ul><ul><ul><l...
Text Chat – Applications <ul><li>Ranking & Categorising </li></ul>Discourse Analysis Register Group discussions Dictation ...
Text Chat – Evaluation <ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><li>Engaging, motivational and fun! </li></ul><ul><li>Fairly low-t...
Voice Chat – Background <ul><li>Programmes include Skype, Google Talk, Windows Net Meeting etc </li></ul><ul><li>Requires ...
So let’s do it...! <ul><li>Log in to Skype </li></ul><ul><li>Chat with a partner and discuss: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How vo...
Voice Chat – Applications <ul><li>Functional language </li></ul>Pronunciation Register Group discussions Telephoning Turn-...
Voice Chat – Demonstration <ul><li>These are some recordings made by my students phoning Currys... </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><...
Voice Chat – Evaluation <ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><li>Engaging, motivational and fun! </li></ul><ul><li>Fairly low-...
The future... <ul><li>A lot of research is being done on providing language lessons through the Internet using text chat, ...
Conclusions <ul><li>There are a variety of synchronous tools available for teachers to use. </li></ul><ul><li>They can all...
<ul><li>Any questions? </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Www.tefltech.com </li></ul>
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Synchronous Communication

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Synchronous Communication

  1. 1. Synchronous Communication Tools in the Classroom By Richard Turnbull January 2008
  2. 2. Synchronous vs. Asynchronous <ul><li>Synchronous </li></ul><ul><li>Users connected at the same time </li></ul><ul><li>Real time conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Limited participants </li></ul><ul><li>Text chat </li></ul><ul><li>Voice chat </li></ul><ul><li>Video conferencing </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life) </li></ul><ul><li>Asynchronous </li></ul><ul><li>Users not on line at the same time </li></ul><ul><li>“ Delayed” conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Unlimited participants </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion groups </li></ul><ul><li>Notice boards </li></ul><ul><li>Social Networking (e.g. Facebook, MySpace) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Synchronicity – Considerations <ul><li>Users must be connected to the Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Potential bandwidth/latency issues particularly with video conferencing </li></ul><ul><li>Most programmes require signing up with a user name and password </li></ul><ul><li>Activities must be clear and focussed to ensure students stay “on task” </li></ul><ul><li>Ideally used as one stage of a lesson to blend with other offline activities (e.g. as a final practice activity) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Text Chat – Background <ul><li>Programmes include MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, Jabber, AIM etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Text chat is also appearing built in to many websites (e.g. in a sales assistant role) </li></ul><ul><li>Can be between 2 or more participants </li></ul><ul><li>Could be seen as “written speech” – Ss need to respond immediately but have more time to check their language reducing pressure </li></ul><ul><li>Conversations are automatically saved or can be copied to a word processor </li></ul>
  5. 5. So let’s do it...! <ul><li>Log in to MSN Messenger </li></ul><ul><li>Chat with a partner and discuss: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How text chat can be used in a lesson </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The advantages and disadvantages of using text chat in the classroom </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Be ready to feed back to the class with your findings! </li></ul><ul><li>( Watch out – it may be your conversation that’s used as an example on the board! ) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Text Chat – Applications <ul><li>Ranking & Categorising </li></ul>Discourse Analysis Register Group discussions Dictation Turn-taking Role-Play Dialogues Spelling Information Gap Activities Peer Correction Quizzes
  7. 7. Text Chat – Evaluation <ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><li>Engaging, motivational and fun! </li></ul><ul><li>Fairly low-tech and easy to use </li></ul><ul><li>Many students familiar with the technology and use it in their free time </li></ul><ul><li>Realistic and authentic activity </li></ul><ul><li>Great for analysing language systems – vocabulary, grammar and particularly discourse management </li></ul><ul><li>Provides opportunities for negotiating meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Can be integrated as part of any skills based lesson </li></ul><ul><li>Allows cross boundary communication, potentially with other schools </li></ul><ul><li>Can be used as a homework activity outside the class with the log emailed to the teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Typing in English often a key business skill </li></ul><ul><li>Free! </li></ul><ul><li>Disadvantages </li></ul><ul><li>Reliant on an Internet connection </li></ul><ul><li>Students can be hampered by their typing speed/ability </li></ul><ul><li>Pair work can be dominated by one member as there is only one keyboard </li></ul><ul><li>Hard to monitor – students may go “off track” easily </li></ul><ul><li>Shouldn’t replace face to face interaction without sound pedagogical reasoning </li></ul><ul><li>In analysis, it may be difficult to determine the origin of the mistake or error (mistyping or “real” mistake?) </li></ul><ul><li>In a large group chat, it may be difficult to control the flow and coherence of the conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher may have to trouble shoot technical problems </li></ul>
  8. 8. Voice Chat – Background <ul><li>Programmes include Skype, Google Talk, Windows Net Meeting etc </li></ul><ul><li>Requires headset with a microphone </li></ul><ul><li>A lot of cross over with chat programmes </li></ul><ul><li>Audio quality higher with Skype plus the ability to phone out to real numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Skype can be used with 2 to 10 participants </li></ul><ul><li>Disables paralinguistic communication – very realistic telephone exchanges </li></ul><ul><li>Conversations can be recorded with additional free software </li></ul>
  9. 9. So let’s do it...! <ul><li>Log in to Skype </li></ul><ul><li>Chat with a partner and discuss: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How voice chat can be used in a lesson </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The advantages and disadvantages of using text chat in the classroom </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Be ready to feed back to the class with your findings! </li></ul><ul><li>( Watch out – calls may be recorded for training or quality purposes! ) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Voice Chat – Applications <ul><li>Functional language </li></ul>Pronunciation Register Group discussions Telephoning Turn-taking Role-Play Intonation Dictation Information Gap Activities Fluency Quizzes
  11. 11. Voice Chat – Demonstration <ul><li>These are some recordings made by my students phoning Currys... </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stephane – </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Harvey – </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Andres – </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>... some more successful than others! </li></ul><ul><li>There are certain privacy and ethical issues to be aware of when recording. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Voice Chat – Evaluation <ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><li>Engaging, motivational and fun! </li></ul><ul><li>Fairly low-tech and easy to use </li></ul><ul><li>Many students familiar with the technology and use it in their free time </li></ul><ul><li>Realistic and authentic activity </li></ul><ul><li>Great for disabling paralinguistic communication to allow Ss to focus on speaking and listening skills </li></ul><ul><li>Provides opportunities for negotiating meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Can be integrated as part of any skills or systems based lesson </li></ul><ul><li>Allows cross boundary communication, potentially with other schools </li></ul><ul><li>Can be used as a homework activity outside the class with the recording emailed to the teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Telephoning in English is a key business skill </li></ul><ul><li>Free! </li></ul><ul><li>Disadvantages </li></ul><ul><li>Reliant on an Internet connection </li></ul><ul><li>Computers ideally need two headphones connected to allow for pair work </li></ul><ul><li>Hard to monitor – students may go “off track” easily </li></ul><ul><li>Shouldn’t replace face to face interaction without sound pedagogical reasoning </li></ul><ul><li>In a large group call, it may be difficult to control the flow and coherence of the conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Students are often shy of speaking on the telephone, particularly native speakers – consideration must be given to the learner’s style and level </li></ul><ul><li>Students often don’t like to be recorded or to have their voice broadcast publicly </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher may have to trouble shoot technical problems </li></ul><ul><li>Recordings calls can sometimes prove complex </li></ul>
  13. 13. The future... <ul><li>A lot of research is being done on providing language lessons through the Internet using text chat, voice chat and video conferencing. </li></ul><ul><li>The ultimate tool amongst </li></ul><ul><li>of all these is Second Life, </li></ul><ul><li>a virtual online world. </li></ul><ul><li>To find out more go to </li></ul><ul><li>www.secondlife.com. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Conclusions <ul><li>There are a variety of synchronous tools available for teachers to use. </li></ul><ul><li>They can allow a variety of activities to take place to aid learners’ systems and skills. </li></ul><ul><li>There are certain considerations that have to be remembered when planning and teaching. </li></ul><ul><li>It is very difficult to “break” a computer – experiment to see what happens! </li></ul><ul><li>But – as with any lesson, always have a contingency plan! </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Any questions? </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Www.tefltech.com </li></ul>

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