Resource Number 6

URL http://www.voxopop.com Keywords voice discussion, online communication, talkgroups, speaking assessment

Voxopop
Category II Voice discussion tools Rationale

Being an effective L2 communicator requires time, coherent practice and good incentives so that communication skills could be developed, honed and added to an on-going basis. They are the heart of interpersonal skills and building them systematically ensures effective exchange of information. Discussion forums are widely explored within the classroom practice and create essential part of many distance learning environments. The main aim of this voice discussion resource is to bring people together in an on-line environment to provoke thoughtful and constructive discussion among the participants no matter who they are. Voxopop aims to provide that kind of bridge to bring about social change. There is always need to add communication some dynamics, discover new resources to build learning skills to improve your communication, and promote interpersonal relationships. With the addition of voice tools educators can communicate with their students and other teachers by recording and listening to voice messages through a simple graphical user interface online for free. Description Voxopop is a web based audio tool that enables users to record their speaking as well as to comment on an image, video or graphic. In fact, Voxopop is essentially a message board system that uses voice instead of text. Messages are recorded in a group which is referring to the same commenting incentive. These groups are called "talkgroups" - communities of real people discussing various topics using their real voices. There is an option to join an existing community or to create your own. You can even set up a private talkgroup that will be kept aside from the public which might be ideal for classrooms. An invite mechanism has also been added, to help spread the word about your favourite talkgroups. One of its major advantages are:  web-based platform – no need to download any software  ease of use  learn from peers  building learning/teaching community  accessibility and affordability (completely free) Voxopop uses Flash Player for playing audio and Java for voice recording.

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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.

Resources required Required resources to run the application are very basic. Obligatory resources  Internet access (access to voxopop.com)  Headset or microphone and speakers to record and use voice in discussions  Image in .jpeg or .gif format to add to your profile Cost Free Setup and Configuration To use this application it is necessary to register using a valid email address. Non-registered users can listen and explore the application but only signed up members can open talkgroups or join in on discussions. Registered members get access to other features offered by the platform like being able to add discussions to a watchlist or receive notification when others contribute. Registration process to Voxopop is free and easy. Registration allows holding unlimited discussions. Styling The page and all its sections are user-friendly oriented and easily orientable. Navigation and operation It is possible to listen to most messages without necessarily signing in. In the section Explore talkgroups you can search by tags or by category of your interest. So that you could start a discussion or add some voice message, you need to be signed in. Once you have joined a talk group you can subscribe to it so that you are automatically updated when new entries appear. To record your own voice message, after signing in you simply click on the record button and add your message. To create your own talk group you need to be a registered user. Then you click on the option Start a Talkgroup and write down relevant information to define your Talkgroup’s aim and purpose and set the access levels. Voxopop Talkgroups can be public, private or restricted. Then you simply share the URL with your students or other educators.

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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.

Implementation methodology Voxopop offers for the users very versatile ways of usage. Teaching/Learning ideas:  Discussion points: Teacher starts with a contentious statements and ask visitors to comment on them  Collaborative narratives: Only the first sentence of a story can be recorded and students are asked to listen and to continue it.  Dictations: Teachers can record their own dictations for students to listen to the text and write down what they hear  Pronunciation practice: Teacher can record some pronunciation drills and get students to listen to them and then record themselves saying the words or sentences  True false statements: Students can create their own true false statements about themselves and question each other about them to find out the answer.  Activate background knowledge about a topic which is going to be worked in class.  Assess oral skills.  Find collaborative solutions for questions regarding teaching process and teacher’s work. Example of implementation Type of lesson: General English course Level: A1 of CEFR Lesson Title: Picture of you Age group: Children (aged 10 - 14) Number of students involved: 18 Duration: 90 min.    Preparation: T goes to the home page, logs in and creates a new talkgroup for his SS uploading a picture. T clicks on Record a message and states clearly the task which SS need to accomplish. Introduction: All participants sign up for free accounts at Voxopop using valid email addresses, usernames and passwords. Then they can join T’s group. Lesson flow: Participants are asked to prepare a short presentation about themselves, their work or studies, hobbies and interests. They can rehearse first with their classmates without being recorded. Then, after practising for a while, their voices are recorded via microphone and their pictures are taken through the built-in webcam. Participants can comment by microphone and text an unlimited number of times. Conclusion: The recorded messages are stored in the page and can be commented and reflected upon. Follow-up: If required, participants can evaluate using verbal and visual cues.

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Other issues It is possible to upload and share created messages on blogs and social networks as Twitter or Facebook.

This Factsheet is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 2.0 License. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/

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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.

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