Language Educators

language exchange; conversational partners

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  • 1.  language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 04-26-2018 09:56
    Hi, Everybody!
    We are looking for ways to connect our university students with native speakers of the languages they study. Does anyone have experience of organizing these connections and most importantly of monitoring and assessing them? Thank you for your anticipated help
    Serafima Gettys
    Lewis University


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    Serafima Gettys
    GettysSe@lewisu.eduCoordinator of Foreign Languages
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  • 2.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners
    Best Answer

    Posted 04-27-2018 00:32
    I recommend Boomalang, and build the very reasonable cost into their tuition.  Check them out at http://www.boomalang.co/  It's scheduled, and your students will speak with trained native speakers who are currently living in Spanish-speaking countries who are accustomed to speaking with non-native speakers.

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    Chris Cashman
    ccashman@chiarts.org
    Spanish Teacher
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  • 3.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 04-28-2018 14:01
    I used epals.com to connect my students to native speakers in Spain and other countries. It was free. It worked successfully. However, I am also intrigued by Boomalang.  That seems like a very good program. Boomalang - Authentic conversation with native speakers
    Boomalang - Authentic conversation with native speakers remove preview
    Boomalang - Authentic conversation with native speakers
    Bringing Languages to Life. Live video conversation with trained millennial native Spanish speakers located across Latin America and Spain. Book your free demo!
    View this on Boomalang - Authentic conversation with native speakers >


    Angie

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    Angie Torre
    altespoir@sbcglobal.net
    Spanish / French Teacher / Author
    Curriculum Developer
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  • 4.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 04-29-2018 11:33
    Thank you all for your replies about ways to connect students to target language speakers.
    Serafima Gettys

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    Serafima Gettys
    GettysSe@lewisu.eduCoordinator of Foreign Languages
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  • 5.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 04-27-2018 08:18
    Hello
    My name is Prajakta Ranade and I am from India and teaching the Hindi Language spoken in India in the U.S. since 2014 till current to students 7and up to varied educational and professional backgrounds.
    I teach at the basic and intermediate levels.
    If the university students studying Hindi would like to get in touch with me they are more than welcome, for added information you can visit my website ,website is for you to get an idea of my work.
    www.shreeganeshhindilessonsonline.com
    Best
    Prajakta Ranade

    Sent from my iPhone




  • 6.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 04-27-2018 20:12
    Hi,
    I have been using TalkAbroad with my high school seniors for the past two years. You have to pay for the service, but the conversation partners are trained and very responsible. You can listen to a recording of the conversation to see how well they do. My students like it a lot and I find the company helpful and quickly responsive.

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    Anthony Pickering
    tpickering@bayschoolsf.org
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  • 7.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 06-23-2018 08:41
    We have piloted and are still piloting several platforms that offer exchanges with native speakers: Conversifi, Linguameeting, Wespeke, Speaky, etc. etc. Boomalang is a bit more expensive than TalkAbroad (in Boomalang 30 minutes = $16, but with TalkAbroad, if they buy 5 conversations, then it's only $10 per 30 minutes).
    Our Center has been gathering a list of sites on Pinterest (you don't need a Pinterest account to view them): https://www.pinterest.com/CLIC_Illinois/language-learning-sites/


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    Florencia Henshaw
    Director of Advanced Spanish
    University of Illinois
    Urbana,IL
    henshaw2@illinois.edu
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  • 8.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 06-24-2018 08:42
    Hi Florencia and community,

    Chris here from Boomalang. Excited to see this discussion! I wanted to clarify, Boomalang and Talkabroad are similarly priced. The most significant difference is that Boomalang offers 15-min. conversations.

    For ex:
    $40 on Talkabroad = 3, 30-min. conversations
    $40 on Boomalang = 6, 15-min. conversations

    There are a few other important differences, but I wanted to make sure there wasn't any confusion if pricing is the topic in question.

    Happy to discuss this or any other questions.

    Best,
    Chris

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    chris.gerding@boomalang.co
    www.boomalang.co
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  • 9.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 06-24-2018 11:37
    I teach High School and have begun to use Talkabroad for my level 2 and up students.  The students (and I) were VERY happy with the experience.  While the platform could be improved a bit to make it more user friendly, we will continue to use it and expand conversations for all the classes.  Talkabroad is piloting a new format for cheaper and shorter conversations, which will make it easier for beginners to jump in.

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    Linda Froehlich
    Sayre School
    lfroehlich@sayreschool.org
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  • 10.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 06-25-2018 17:43
    Linda,

    Could you, please, explain how you use these tools in high school environment? Do your students do it individually? As homework or in class? Who pays for the service? I'd love to try it and would like to hear from an experienced teacher about the logistics.

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    Natalia DeLaat
    Teacher, WL Content Specialist
    ndelaat@whitnall.com
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  • 11.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 06-26-2018 11:36

    Hello Natalia,

    First off, as a school we purchased a number of conversations.  We were then issued codes for each conversation, and I arranged them for the students.  This applied to the two classes in which I used TalkAbroad (French II, French IV/French IV Honors).

    In my French II class we first decided the goal of the conversation: simply getting to know one another.  We then looked at the profile of our conversation partner.  Based on her interests and experiences I asked students in groups of two to come up with about ten questions (nothing that was already answered in the profile).  We then looked at the questions together, and I role-played the conversation partner. This brought up shortcomings of the yes/no questions, and students then thought of follow-up questions or came up with different questions.  We also practiced turn taking and introducing ourselves before asking or answering a question.  In the instructions to our partner I shared the goal and simply encouraged her to draw every student into the conversation, trusting that she was trained sufficiently to speak at the level of the students (which she did marvelously).

    Our first conversation was done as a whole class--I set it up, introduced myself and the students, and then withdrew to allow the students to converse without looking at me for help. Though I did interfere once or twice to move the conversation along, overall it was quite successful-everyone participated, some with gusto and real curiosity, but for others it was mostly a scripted exercise.  They all felt that half an hour was very long.  Nevertheless, we repeated the exercise, only this time I divided the groups into three, had them again read the profiles and come up with questions that I critiqued, but then the students had their conversations outside of class.  These went much better for them--they generally felt more relaxed, spoke more, and reported that they would like to have more conversations to get to know their partners better.  I believe that if I start introducing TalkAbroad conversations earlier, students will be able to have individual conversations at the end of the year (the short versions).

    In my level IV class, we used the same method to prep for our initial conversation, which was also held with the entire class.  For the second conversation, I partnered students and asked them to focus on specific topics that we had explored in class (education, study abroad).  The conversations were held outside of class, but the students each wrote a summary of theirs.  In this class 7 out of 9 expressed that they really enjoyed their conversations. I then gave them the option to have a conversation on their own in lieu of the oral final exam, and 6 of 9 jumped at the opportunity (both Honors and non-Honors students).   In this last case, the students chose their conversation partner.  I then selected a (French) article, which they would use as the basis for some questions.  Again, I asked students to submit their questions beforehand, to make sure they were properly prepared.  During the final exam time, they then wrote up a summary of their conversation (in French) referencing both the article and their partner's responses.  Every single one of them expressed how much they enjoyed their conversation--they felt that they were just having a conversation rather then doing an exercise.  I think it was an uplifting and inspiring experience for all.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Linda



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    Linda Froehlich
    Sayre School
    lfroehlich@sayreschool.org
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  • 12.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 06-26-2018 15:29
      |   view attached
    I am happy to hear there are other teachers using TalkAbroad. I have been using it for many years now and students love it. I highly recommend using this website to give your students an opportunity to show (discover) what they can do with the language. I attached one of the conversations here, as I asked them to save it for me so I could show it to the administration. Now they include this as part of our budget, so I pay and they pay me back. Last year unfortunately, I was not able to use it, however my plan is to coordinate before the school year starts.

    This was done by these students as part of their Interpersonal section of their final exam. However, for this course they had to complete at least 5 conversations for the year. Those listening in class had to write as they listened to the conversation and write what they learned.

    Hope you can all see it!



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    Gisela Cordero-Cinko
    Christian Brothers Academy
    World Language Teacher
    gcorderocinko@gmail.com
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  • 13.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 06-27-2018 02:19
    Edited by Christopher Cashman 06-27-2018 02:20
    I am totally into this video you attached, Gisela.  This is so cool seeing your students push themselves communicate.  Our students really need this sort of thing.  And thanks ACTFL - I had no trouble viewing it.

    I think I'm going to show it to my heritage students during our Spain unit to expose them to the 'vosotros' form a bit, because they don't ever get it from me.

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    Chris Cashman
    ccashman@chiarts.org
    Spanish Teacher
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  • 14.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 07-09-2018 15:56
    Hello Gisela,
    My name is Yumally and I teach Spanish in Wilmington, DE. I just saw your post. It is very exciting to see your students participate in this conversation. I feel encouraged to try TalkAbroad this school year!  Thank you for sharing this activity and I hope to report my findings.
    Gracias

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    Yumally Rodriguez
    Charter School of Wilmington
    yrodriguez@charterschool.org
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  • 15.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 07-10-2018 14:10
    Thank you so much for sharing all the information! I have also looked into TalkAbroad for my advanced conversation students so they can get even more exposure. I'm glad to hear the good experiences.

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    Allysha Martin
    Milligan College
    Assistant Professor of Spanish
    abmartin@milligan.edu
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  • 16.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 10-10-2018 11:52
    I know this thread is a little old, but I wanted to let you know of a webinar I am giving on this topic next week (Thurs. October 18), and I will be talking about several of the platforms mentioned in this thread and more, including ongoing promotions offered by some of these companies (I don't work for any of them; I just share the information!):

    Free webinar: Video chatting with native speakers: Why, What, and How

    Description: Web-based videoconferencing with native speakers is perhaps one of the best uses of technology in the world language classroom, yet for many instructors, integrating it into their courses may seem like a daunting task. The presenter will begin with an overview of how Internet-mediated conversation exchanges with native speakers around the world may benefit both second and heritage language learners, based on what emerging research has found. Then, the presenter will discuss the advantages and limitations of different available platforms, both free and paid, many of which are available for high school and college courses. Participants will also see specific examples of how videoconferencing was integrated into two intermediate Spanish courses. Lastly, the presenter will propose a series of best practices for integrating videoconferencing with native speakers in the language classroom at various proficiency levels.

    Date: Thursday October 18, 2018. 

    Time: 6:30pm Eastern / 5:30pm Central / 3:30pm Pacific

    Please register here: https://forms.illinois.edu/sec/6672356

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    Florencia Henshaw
    Director of Advanced Spanish
    University of Illinois
    Urbana,IL
    henshaw2@illinois.edu
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  • 17.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 08-02-2018 14:56
    Hello Serafima,

    My name is Crystal Marull and I am the Coordinator for the Online Spanish Program at the University of Florida and I cannot say enough good things about LinguaMeeting.com!!! They offer language coaching sessions with native speakers for students in small groups or one-on-one. In comparison to the other popular companies, which I am very familiar with, they are by far the best and most economical. Students can meet in small groups for a 25-minute session for about $5/per student (mine meet 12 times a semester, but you can tailor the frequency to your needs). Plus, the coaches are absolutely FABULOUS and so engaging! They bring so much creativity to their meetings that often times my students are surprised that time is up. They use ZOOM with screensharing technology, virtual green screens, google earth pro...etc. As the Coordinator of an online language program at an R1 university, quality of engaging communicative activities with native speakers was a top priority for me to help guide my students through the different ACTFL proficiency levels. The program has been highly successful largely in part to the integration of LinguaMeeting into the course structure. I haven't seen any other company that can compare with regards to quality, organization, logistics, flexibility, and cost. With regard to how to incorporate it into your course or how to evaluate activities, I recently co-hosted a webinar on that topic with Linguameeting. You can check it out here: Webinar: Going beyond practice with native-speaker coaches

     I'd also be more than happy to tell you more about my personal experience with them and how their services have allowed me to radically transform the positive outcomes of our online program here at UF.

    Best,

    Crystal

    YouTube remove preview
    Webinar: Going beyond practice with native-speaker coaches
    Going beyond practice with native-speaker coaches: Integrating telecollaboration into course design Presenter: Dr. Marull (Coordinator of the Spanish online program at the University of Florida)
    View this on YouTube >


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    Crystal Marull
    University of Florida
    Coordinator Online Spanish Program
    cmarull@ufl.edu
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  • 18.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 08-02-2018 15:01
    Would this work for 8th grade Spanish students learning a FL for the first time this year?


    Caroline Wells






  • 19.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 08-02-2018 15:39
    Edited by Crystal Marull 08-02-2018 16:06
    Hello Caroline,

    I think you were asking me, and yes, lLnguameeting can work with school-aged students as well. You can find out more on their webpage LinguaMeeting
    Linguameeting remove preview
    LinguaMeeting
    LinguaMeeting introduces a new way to enrich the foreign language classroom experience. Students can work outside of with a personal, native-speaker language coach in a real-time online learning environment. Instructors are supported by our coaches, who work as teaching assistants, helping them to implement more conversation into their curriculum.
    View this on Linguameeting >



     or you can reach out directly to the director, Elena Casillas, at elena@linguameeting.com.

    Best,

    Crystal

    or

    or you can reach out directly to the

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    Crystal Marull
    University of Florida
    Coordinator Online Spanish Program
    cmarull@ufl.edu
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  • 20.  RE: language exchange; conversational partners

    Posted 08-02-2018 18:21
    Hi Serafima,

    Could you tell me what language your students are studying? If Mandarin is studied, we can help you connect to native speakers (college-age) in China.

    Thanks,


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    Anna Yu
    CAST/Sino Language & Beyond
    Vice President
    annayu@sinolanguage.org
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