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Deliverable 13. Resource Analysis Template aPLaNet WP2 Skype.

Communication and web-conferencing tools

Resource Number 1

URL http://www.skype.com Keywords communication, web-conferencing, phone calls

Skype
Category I Communication and Webconferencing Tools Rationale

Communication is one of the most important skills anyone can have, in business, education and in life. Thus the need for developing communication on-line technologies which enable building bridges between geographically distant subjects and lowering barriers in communication. Potential benefits of unlimited global communication are obvious. Skype allows direct interpersonal engagement which is necessary for all kinds of classroom and educational situations. Description Skype is a computer programme used for communication via Internet. It allows written communication between two or more simultaneous users and can be the means for sending and receiving files. Its possibilities range from effectuating calls, organizing conference calls or video conferences between multiple parties simultaneously and for registered Skype users for free. This program enables information flow, trainings of educators, on-line language lessons and exchange of data of multiple nature. An important factor is the easiness of use of Skype which makes it a widely accessible tool.

Resources required To ensure a smooth and high quality voice transmission through Skype only a basic functional Internet connection is needed. Skype is user-friendly and very simple and can be handled by even less technically skilled users helping overcome communication anxiety related to the online environment and allowing concentration on the learning process. Obligatory resources desktop computer or laptop reliable and stable Internet connection (preferably broadband) download of the programme Skype (for download go to www.skype.com) Optional resources headphone and microphone or headset for phone calls built-in or external web camera for video calls 1
The project Autonomous Personal Learning Networks for Language Teachers has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Deliverable 13. Resource Analysis Template aPLaNet WP2 Skype. Communication and web-conferencing tools

Cost Partially: Basic functions like instant messaging, Skype-to-Skype calls, video calls and screen sharing are completely free. Additional features like calling on mobile and landline phones, sending text messages to mobile phones and call forwarding are paid. Setup and Configuration Downloading Skype to the computer is free. A file of about 2MB is downloaded which you then run on your PC and the Skype application file is downloaded in the background. This file is about 20MB. Then you must create a user account. To set up a personal Skype account, you have to choose a username and password. These data are required to run the program. After signing in you are able to use all the above-mentioned types of communication with contacts in the list of contacts that you have build very easily. Through a simple search for contacts, you add usernames of individuals you wish to add and if they eventually confirm the wish to share contact details, these are added to your list. Styling It is possible to upload a personal profile photo from the PC, use a picture from the picture library of the program or take a photo using a webcam. In the section Tools/Options questions related with General, Audio, Sound, Video, Access and Privacy Settings can be handled. In the section Tools/Extras additional third-party features can be chosen games, business tools, call recorders some are free, some are charged. The Skype conversation window can be resized without losing content or styling during conversation. Icons symbolizing basic functions of the program add a contact, make a phone or video call can be easily spotted and used for effectuating the requested action.

Navigation and operation Skype is an intuitive interface that enables to access easily the most frequently used and important applications. Skype window is clearly-organized and the icons visibly marked. This ease allows to concentrate much better on the message rather then on the means.

Implementation methodology 2
The project Autonomous Personal Learning Networks for Language Teachers has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Deliverable 13. Resource Analysis Template aPLaNet WP2 Skype. Communication and web-conferencing tools

Educators count with numerous possibilities how to explore this tool in educative environments. Its implementation in language education can enhance lessons and make the course more interesting for students and teachers. Usage in classroom situations: distant learning form of delivering language content blended learning lessons raising ICT student's awareness holding training for students and teachers located in various locations at the same time simulation of videophone calls and videoconferences in business language lessons task-based learning practising writing skills and spelling as a peripheral competence foreign language learning through reciprocal peer communication The implementation process should follow the procedure suggested in the Communication and Web-conferencing Tools Template. Example of implementation Type of lesson: Skype Learning General English, A2 of CEFR Lesson number: 9 Age group: Adults Number of students involved: 3- 4 Duration: 20 lessons of 45 min

Introduction: All students and teacher log in Skype, use their headsets and eventually turn on their webcams. As following, the teacher (T) welcomes students (SS) and envisages the content of the lesson and check homework. T starts a brief conversation to warm-up. T sends SS their edited essays and comments on them with them. A short revision exercise of last lesson content aimed at practising will future, present continuous and going to future is sent to SS and checked. Conversation topic: Festivals and customs. Discussion is held around major holidays, traditions and special days organized in honor of some historical figure, organization, cause or object, both in the Republic and English speaking countries that people are familiar with. Also special events like birthdays, graduations, wedding and special customs associated with them can be commented. T can present more events unfamiliar to students and share interesting links related with the topic. After discussion T draws SSs attention to the most common errors which appeared in the conversation and corrects them. Vocabulary: T writes in the Skype writing box important expressions and vocabulary related with the conversation topic and asks for definition of those the SS are familiar with. Students can look for new expressions also in an on-line dictionary. Grammar: T presents a new grammar unit comparatives and superlatives of adjectives, regular and irregular forms. T sends SS text document containing rules and exercises. They go through the rules together and after an example exercise, SS complete a new exercise to practice. After certain time, it is checked and all questions and doubts are addressed by T. Reading: SS are sent a file containing a text connected with the conversation topic and given time to read it and to accomplish the comprehension task(s). SS retell 3

The project Autonomous Personal Learning Networks for Language Teachers has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Deliverable 13. Resource Analysis Template aPLaNet WP2 Skype. Communication and web-conferencing tools

the text in their own words and check the answers within the group. Listening: T sends SS a link to a video related with customs or chooses a song and sends SS the link and a file with comprehension questions or gaps. Students listen or watch and complete the exercises. Conclusion: T assigns a task to prepare for the next on-line lesson - Welcome to The Czech Republic. SSs tasks is to prepare a brief presentation about the Czech Republic as if they would like to present it to a business partner. They can include its historical, geographical and cultural background, grown crops, imported / exported products, interesting places and as well can mention a few details about their home town or city in which they live or work. SS are given a limit to hand it in. In the next lesson they will present their task and share links for the storage place where they placed their presentation (e.g. www.slideshare.net).

Other issues Explaining students the fundamental principles of operating Skype before starting using it may be considered as it takes some time to familiarize with the programme. Experimental lesson through Skype might be also essential on account of making sure the connection between all participants is smooth and mellow. Useful tips Students might need to look up some word while communicating through Skype. The easiest way is an on-line dictionary. www.macmillandictionary.com http://dictionary.cambridge.org

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The project Autonomous Personal Learning Networks for Language Teachers has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.