Monday, December 11, 2006

Open Culture: iTunes - Foreign Language Lesson Podcast Collection

Here's a nice list of language related podcasts available on iTunes. These can be difficult to find in iTunes, so it's nice to have a list.

Unfortunately, I don't think that this has been updated for a while (Oct 2006) and these things change so fast. However there are plenty of good suggestions.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Poll: Teens, adults separated by 'IM gap' -

So, is this surprising?

I suppose not, but I guess that folks have to know. Those 'old folks' needed to discover this fact in a survey.

I actually like IM'ing but I have to admit that I'd rather use the audio feature than the text feature.

In the end, I think that IM'ing pales in comparison to Texting (text messages on your cell phone). This is where a real difference can be seen. I don't think that many adults text, whereas most younger cellphone users likely do.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Digital Identity Mapping

This is a really neat (and useful) "Digital Identity Map". Not only is it cool to see WHAT all of these applications are, it's also cool to see HOW they fit into the Digital Identity Map.

Here's a link to a big version of the map:

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Kids' Vid: Video Production for Students

This is an interesting site for those of you with no video production experience. Now, I'll warn you that this has nothing to do with video software and how to get videos on your computer. You'll have to get that somewhere else. However, it does have a lot of good advice on HOW to video and some hardware tips.

I think that this is a good resource for younger students and, possibly, even their teachers :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

New Zealand students may 'text-speak' in exams -

I'm among those thinking, "Are you all nuts"?

I understand that this is a valid mode of communication. I understand that it is important to allow students to express themselves. However, text-speak is likely no more than a blip on the screen (no pun intended). It will likely be disappear as technologies shift.

I think that they will look back on this and cringe.

What do you think?


Friday, November 10, 2006

Report: Number of students taking online courses rises -

Hey, look! You're part of a trend :)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

75 ESL Teaching Ideas (I-TESL-J)

This is an interesting piece. Take it or leave it, there's a bunch of good ideas in this list.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

TalkAndWrite is a plugin (an extra feature) for Skype. Two people have to have the application installed on their computer. If so, then you can collaborate on a document.

This isn't like working on a Word document. It is more like working on an electronic whiteboard. You can type using a textbox if you'd like and you can draw freehand using a view different 'tools'. The result can be saved as an image (.jpg or .png) or as a TalkAndWrite document.

It seems like this would be best for brainstorming or discussing concepts that would best be drawn out for the other user. I also think that you could probably bring up pictures to interact with.

I haven't been able to use this yet, but I just installed it on my computer. I just haven't found a willing partner. If you are feeling adventureous and would like to test this out with me, let me know.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Back to School with the Class of Web 2.0: Part 1

Another great post that I wanted to pass on. This list would keep me busy for a month checking out, it's nice that Solution Watch did it for me.

I'm sure that you can find some useful tools in this list.

Fantasy Congress - Where People Play Politics!

This was just too cool not to pass on. Most of you are likely famililar with Fantasy Football. Well, this is Fantasy Congress. You get to pick 4 congresspeople (is that the right gender neutral plural form?) to be on your "team". You then get points based on how much of their legislation gets passed, which is weighted differently based on some criteria that I don't know.

This would be great with any civics class, but would also be neat for a topical lesson on American politics for a language class. Even for foreign languages, there's nothing your students will have to do more of in a foreign country than talk about American politics :)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Voicemail on your Blog

I added a little item to the blog today. I thought that it would be neat to test out. It is a voice comment system from a company called Mobasoft. The level at which I'm using it is free, but they do have other paid service options.

The name of the application for now is MyChingo (, but I have a feeling that the company is working on a replacement system called MobaTalk ( MyChingo allows users to leave audio messages on a Web page (blog). In my case, I have made these comments public. But you can choose to make them private so you are really the only person who will hear them. Might be a neat option for some activities that you run. Might be neat to work into a WebQuest if you are so inclined and it serves a purpose.

Give it a try if you have a microphone.

By the way, MobaTalk looks like it will be much cooler with audio, video, and text. Hopefully they'll make it so you can have sub-systems for individual posts. Now I'm just dreaming :)


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Web Browser Faceoff

For those of you interested in comparing the various browsers out there. Here's a nice evaluation/comparison.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Not playing around: Scientists say video games can reshape education -

Here's a CNN article on a recommendation by the Federation of American Scientists for the government to fund more research into the use of video games in education.

I'm torn here. The problem, in my eyes, is that everyone wants to compete with the entertainment industry games for students' attention and I don't think that is going to be possible (ever?). However, on the other hand, if we can hook students on games in school, it may carry over into their home life.

I think that this is a great idea, but I worry that it will throw more money to researchers and result in nothing else besides vague, theoretical recommendations for teachers to "change the way they teach."

Monday, October 16, 2006

Workshop Materials from the U.S. Department of Education's Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative

Speaking of professional development are some great materials from the DoE Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative workshops. A few are specifically for foreign/second language learning.

Take a look.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Head of for-profit university discusses industry -

Here's an interview with the new president of the University of Phoenix. Whether you like it or not, this company, and others like it, could be the future of education.

What do you think?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

MobaTalk Comment System

These types of systems are going to make blogs a lot more interesting in the near future. Just imagine enabling audio and video commenting on your blog. Yes, it will take you a lot longer to get through them, but how interesting would that be?

As more and more people have video on their computers (most new laptops come with video cameras pre-installed), we are going to have to think more about video applications in our instruction.

This system isn't out yet, but they do have a legacy audio version that I'm going to try out called MyChingo (

ESL and Archie Comics

Ok, I don't know about you all, but I've always loved Archie comics. I was floored to find this resource today.

This is an ESL podcast complete with comic, audio, transcript, and "learning guide". I think it's pretty neat.

There is also an option to see the Spanish version of the comic, which might be interesting to the Spanish teachers out there (though no other resources are available in Spanish). I suppose that you could create a Spanish version of this resource. Who knows, you might even be able to get permission to use these from the company.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Wikimapia - Let's describe the whole Earth!

This one was just too cool for me not to pass on to you all. This is an extension of Google Earth. Wikimapia allows you to make notes on areas (and even individual buildings). All of this in a Wiki-type format that allows editing from the masses.

Just imagine what you could do with this in your classroom. Those boring "My Hometown" reports really could be juiced up. I suppose you'd want to guard against them adding their homes in there (I was tempted to do so for a minute), but otherwise, how neat would that be!

Check out my brief entry on Festa Plaza in Ilsan. Unfortunately, Google doesn't zoom in that far in this area. I'm assuming that its proximity to North Korea (about 25km north) might be a reason. However, you can see what's possible. It would be nice to get someone to modify it with a Korean entry. I'll have to wait and see.

Warriors of the Net clips

Here's a neat animated movie that I came across recently. It is meant to inform viewers on how the Internet works. It really does a good job at this. It might help if someone developed an external document for it that defines all of the terminology that they use. It is explained clearly, but it comes at you pretty quickly.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

U.S. homework outsourced as 'e-tutoring' grows - Sep 28, 2006

Interesting article on the outsourcing of tutoring. With call centers providing support for all sorts of products and services in India, why not online/phone tutors?

I think that this will be a real challenge to English teachers internationally (not necessarily within the States) and rightly so. For years, English teachers abroad have really been overpaid and have consistently driven up the cost of English education in many countries.

For example, here in Korea, people are starting to attend more and more "English camps" in the Phillipines as well as hiring more English teachers from countries other than the usual U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K.

I see this as being a significant future trend.

A Teacher’s Tour of YouTube

Wow! edutopia is hot today. I don't think that I've ever written them up twice in a semester, much less a day.

This is a quick introduction to YouTube ( If you haven't heard of it, you will. With just about everyone having a videocamera these days (most new cell phones have them built in), this site is one of the most popular on the Web. So much so, that it is threatening market share from the networks with younger audiences.

Check it out.

'Yo, can u plz help me write English?'

I thought that I'd repost an newspaper article that Ellen drew my attention to. It's an interesting piece that discusses the "problems" of chat-ese creeping into academia.

I would have to put myself squarely into the, "just educate them when to use it" camp as opposed to the "banish the evil chat software" camp.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The New Face of Learning

Here is an article by Will Richardson in edutopia. He writes the Read/Write Web blog that I point to every once in a while.

He writes here about the Read/Write Web and the changes that this brings to education (and society in general).

edutopia is an interesting, practice oriented online magazine/journal (I'm not sure how to classify it) from the George Lucas Educational Foundation. You should add this one to your reading list. They have quite a few good articles.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Microsoft releases fix for browser flaw

Well, it's about a week late, but our pain pushed Microsoft into action. They've released a "patch" for the security hole in Internet Explorer. This article also indicates that it is a problem in Outlook as well, which I didn't know.

So get your computer updated right away if it hasn't already done it for you.

The Sims Teach German -- Video Games for Foreign Language Learning - Google Video

This is a really interesting presentation on the use of video games for language learning.

This particular presentation focuses on the game Sims2. At first, I thought that the approach was much too focused on reading, but the presenters really do go on to make a case for using this game to work many aspects of language.

I think that this is the best use of existing games that I've seen. Most projects focus on expensive development of games that are outdated before they can be released. This use focuses on somewhat easy and quick modifications that can be made for language learning (or other topic even).

I'd recommend that you check it out.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Overview of our server problems and some security measures

Here is a little information about the problem and some security steps that you should take.

Server Problems Fixed

It’s been a hectic weekend, but I think that the initial excitement might be over. This was a scary example of content-content interaction. The hosting company ( has signaled the all-clear. They insist that their servers are clean and all is well (see their posting on the service’s discussion forum -

Even though they have signaled the all-clear, I’m still a little hesitant to open Moodle up until I’ve monitored the discussion forum for problems for the next couple days. If all still looks good, I’ll re-open the site on Tuesday.

Here is a little write-up of the problem in Netcraft ( I have a feeling that I’ll find some more write ups next week. This was caused by a combination of a security hole in MS Internet Explorer (which is still there) and a popular website administration tool called Cpanel (which has been patched). Cpanel is widely used by Web hosting companies, which should give you a little pause when you consider what can happen when things go wrong.

What security precautions should you take now?

I’ll reiterate that this should only be an immediate concern for those of you using Internet Explorer on a PC AND who accessed the Moodle site from Thursday night to Friday evening. Some obvious problems would be pop up advertisements (even when your browser isn’t open), but you might not even notice anything. I had to search for a problem on my computer, though I never had any pop ups. The steps below are my suggestions.


  1. I suggest that you clear your cookies, cache, and history. This is a little bit of a pain because you’ll have to re-type in your passwords to all those websites that just logged you on automatically (i.e., Blogger, Wikispaces, etc.). It also means that websites you normally visit will take a little longer to load, because the “cache” keeps copies of all the images on the sites, which makes them load quicker the 2nd time you visit. However, this will also assure that you don’t have any problems when accessing Moodle again.
    1. Open Internet Explorer
    2. Click on the “Tools” menu, then click on “Internet Options…”
    3. Under the “General” tab, click on “Delete Cookies…” (wait), click on “Delete Files…” (wait), click on “Clear History” (wait).
    4. Click ok, close Internet Explorer.
    5. Empty your computer’s “trash” (deleted items).
  2. Everyone should update your virus protection and run a full scan on your system – Symantec Antivirus (the one that you can download at released an update about 12 hours ago. This update found a “Trojan” (like a virus) on my computer that wasn’t found with previous scans.
  3. I strongly suggest that you use the Firefox browser for a little while. I have been a long time users of Internet Explorer and I never really paid much mind to the potential security risks. However, this issue is particularly bad. You just visit a website and you can get a virus. While Firefox is not immune to this, it has been more reliable over the years. This may be because it has a smaller percentage of users and virus writers like to make a bigger impact. Whatever the reason, Firefox is safer until Microsoft fixes the problem in Internet Explorer. You can download Firefox (free) at


  1. Make sure that the Antivirus program “Quarantines” or deletes the offending virus. You should see a report at the end of the scan telling you which of these it did. Also, the message may tell you to restart your computer. Do so.
  2. System Restore – This seems to have made a difference on a couple of computers that had problems (though a recent update from one person indicates that problems eventually returned). It sets your computer back a set number of days (I would suggest Wednesday or before to be safe). This should not affect documents that you’ve created since then, but I would suggest that you back them up just in case.
    1. Click on Start >> Programs >> Accessories >> System Tools >> System Restore
    2. When the window opens, select “Restore my computer to an earlier time” then click Next.
    3. Choose a date on the calendar (only bold days) then choose a restore point from the list on the right. Click Next.
    4. Then you’ll see a summary of what you are going to do. Read it and follow any instructions there. When ready, click Next and let it do its work.
    5. Wait
    6. When the process is done, it will either tell you that it was successful or not. If it was successful, go to #7. If it was unsuccessful, disable your antivirus, then do this process again. If it still doesn’t work, let me know.

  3. If the System Restore finished successfully, restart your computer. If not, contact me.

  4. Turn off your System Restore. This cancels all of your previous restore points, so make sure that your restore worked. Viruses can hide in the System Restore files, so I want to make sure that it’s not given an opportunity.
    1. Right-click on “My Computer” on your desktop.
    2. Click on “properties”
    3. Click on the “System Restore” tab
    4. Check the “Turn off System Restore” check box.
    5. Click “OK”
  5. Run your Antivirus program again. If there are no warnings, you’re probably good.
  6. Turn on your System Restore again (same procedure as above). This ensures that it is ready for the next emergency.
  7. If you run into any problems, contact me.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Top Web Apps in Japan

Here's one for you Steve.

Read/Write Web comes through again in its series on top Web apps from countries around the world. This time it's Japan.

This is a great series and it really should be a lesson to all of us (mostly me). We need to contribute to the greater body of knowledge and not just report on what other people are doing.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wikispaces for teachers100K

Look who's giving away free space. Wikispaces is offering AD-FREE wikis for those certifying that they will use the space for K-12 education. I'm not sure how you all signed up, but I'm guessing that your sites will have advertisements. Check this out and see if you might want to set up another space (just in case).

Parent's guide to computers in education.

Very interesting publication. I think that you all might find it useful to see what Dave Moursund thinks parents should know.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Social Bookmarking Faceoff

Social Bookmarking. I'm not too into it yet, but I'm getting there.

Social Bookmarking has two major components. (1) online bookmarking - the storing of you bookmarks online. (2) social sharing - your bookmarks are shared with others and the technology facilitates this sharing.

Here is a comparison of popular services from the Read/Write Web blog. It's nice to see that there are more options out there, but I've only heard about one of these.

The only one that I've used is (, which I've had mixed feelings about so far. I'm just getting to better understand how to use it best. ( The feature that I like the best is that it shows me how many other people have bookmarked the same site that I did.

Check these out for yourself in your spare time (if there's any).

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mr. Picassohead

Thanks for Elizabeth Hanson-Smith for bringing this to my attention (though there's no link on her post :)

Similar to the sketch program that I blogged about the other day, Mr. PicassoHead is a Flash interface that enables you to create a Picasso-esque picture in minutes. Not only is it fun, but this can be used with students in many ways: discussions on art/artists, creating characters for stories, or even an interesting twist on topics of bodyparts.

This one should be a little easier to save your finished product than the sketch application. All you have to do is email the finished product to yourself. However, I chose that option but haven't received my email yet (couple hours later).

Friday, September 15, 2006

Writer Zone (now called Windows Live Writer)

Here's one for you more adventurous types. This is the blog for Microsoft's "Live Writer".

This is an editor for blogs and it works with quite a few blogging application, including Blogger. Even though this was written for Microsoft's Live Spaces (think MySpace, but not as popular or good), it seems to work really well with Blogger.

For a full review, see my personal blog posting on it (Live Writer).

Grandview News

This is a nice example of elementary school publishing. Great examples of writing, graphics, and podcasting.

Thanks to weblogg-ed for pointing this one out.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Asian Mobile Web Years Ahead

Another timely post. I just replied to a mobile browser post in our discussion forum.

New Govt Report Exposes the School-Home Digital Divide | PBS

This is a rather timely post. I just referred to this topic in the forum. Andy Carvin blogs about a new report from the NCES regarding the digital divide.

Not too surprising, but informative.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Web Photo Sharing Site Faceoff

This post comes in pretty handy for me. I've been on the lookout for something a little better in the way of photo services.

I run my own photo gallery (surprise, surprise), but there's nothing "extra" about it. For example, Flickr makes it easy to organize, re-organize, share, insert in blogs and Web pages, and a new, nifty feature lets you organize your pictures by where they were taken (Flickr Map - click on the pink dots to see pictures). (Dan's Account)

However, I'm not into paying for the PRO account in Flickr, since I already pay quite a bit for my hosting service (my website). Though, the service is neat enough that I'm still thinking about it.

Anyway, it's nice to see a review on a few others. Check it out. Let me know if you give any of these services a try. It would be something nice to write up in your student blog.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Realistic face sketch

This blog points to an interesting Flash application. It is a face sketcher that really requires no drawing skill.

This is a fun tool, but it could be more than that. It could encourage students to create their portraits or for characters in student created literature.

Check it out. I spent way too much time on this one, but it was really fun :)

My wife wasn't very impressed with my sketch, but I got a kick out of it.

Unfortunately, it was really difficult to get the image this far. The designers did not intend for you to be able to save these images, so they might not be happy if I'm doing so (I apologize to them if they'd rather I not do this). I had to hit "Ctrl PrtSc", open my image editor, open a new image (should default to size of your screen), paste (Edit >> Paste), then crop out everything you don't want, then save.

Have fun

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Top Italian Web Apps and more

Here's one for our resident Italian teacher in the class. Read/Write Web is an educational technology blog that I follow. Actually, it's more like a technology blog, but I find so many of the posting relevant to education.

In this post the author describe some Italian applications and describes the state of Web technology in Italy.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

Here is an interesting website for advanced grammar. It is a Blog/Podcast that covers really interesting grammar points.

The blog is a transcript of the podcast, which may help those of you who have trouble following the audio version. Actually, it even helps me because I need to see these things in print to really understand them. I assure you that these are points that I need help with all the time. This is one of the reasons I brought 4 of my best grammar books with me to Seoul :)

Grammar Girl's podcast is clear and she speaks at a moderate pace. It's slow enough that it will be easier for high-intermediate/advanced English langauge learners to understand, yet it's not so slow as to bore either the advanced learners nor their native English speaking teachers.




Thanks to Autono Blogger for pointing this one out.

I don't think that I have the time to add this function to my websites right now, but it's really a fascinating approach. Co-link essentially adds a menu to each of your links. That menu lists possible sites to visit. That's nothing special. What's great is that it also allows users to add links to the menu.

Just imagine. You visit a website and they link to a resource that you don't think is very good or you think that they also need to link somewhere else. You can just add a link there.

Now the down side. There doesn't seem to be any controls for managing these links. Let's face it, not everyone out there is looking to add value to your site. It would be nice if there were some tools to mitigate those nasty folks.

A site like Blogger could add this kind of control and use the same interface that they have for comments. Maybe even link moderation, just like they have comment moderation.

Maybe it's more trouble than it's worth, but I still think that it is even more than neat tech, it's a useful tool.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Welcome to CALL fall 2006

Hi Folks,

Welcome to the CALL Class blog. I'll use this blog solely for posting reviews and "how to's" of technologies and resources that I find useful for langauge teachers. For the first few postings, I'll cover some of the sites that we are using in this course including
Moodle, Blogger, & Wikispaces.

Your role as a reader (and student) is to read the postings, check out these technologies, and comment on my postings. Comments can range from, "that's great...." to "how do I..."

Let me know if you have any questions.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Google Librarian Center

Some really good printable posters from Google on how to better use the search engine to find what you want to find.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My first Amazon/BookSurge self-publishing project

How would you all like to publish? Imagine a class putting a book together and having it available on! This could be really cool and the stripped down version is only $99 (though I'm not sure who would pay it)

This is a blog/web posting of the process that this guy followed to publish his own book on Amazon.

Monday, August 07, 2006

ULRTMT - Skype Version Now Supports Real-Time Translation

This is a very interesting utility that could be a great communication tool (not solution) for all of us.

Supposedly, this translator will translate, in real-time, one language to another in a Skype chat. Yet another reason for me to switch to Skype. I could even chat with my mother-in-law!

Most of the modules are BETA versions, but they might be worth a try.

Sunday, July 23, 2006 :: the learning landscape

ELGG is cited in so many blogs, papers, and presentations, there has to be something to it. I tried to use it a little last year (soon after it's release), but I just didn't have the time. I would love to hear about your experiences with it if you'd like to try it out.

My understanding is that it does blogging and so much more. And, it was created as a learning space, not just a generic blog site.

Take a look around and let me know what you see.

Why Minimally Guided Instruction Does Not Work

One of the greatest things about following blogs is that these wise sages of the virtual space often point me in the direction of interesting publications (or pre-publications). This is an example.

This article really seems to go along with our discussion this week of learner autonomy. The authors are real players in the field and I like reading their work. You may recognize the name Richard Clark from previous optional readings on the media vs. method debate.


elearnspace: Online Video

And here's another posting by George Siemens. This is a commentary on a business-focused article by the Wharton School of Business. However, you should remember that business drives the technology that we later incorporate into our teaching.

I also thought that this might be interesting in relationship to the experience that Erin and others in the class have had with video projects. The technology and services are changing so much it is difficult to keep up with them. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Google Video provided a script that Erin could use to show her video (stored on Google Video) embedded within her Web page.

It's through discoveries like that that I am as much of a student as anyone in this class. Reciprocal learning is a wonderful thing :)

elearnspace: The Next Step in Brain Evolution

This is from one of the blogs that I follow, elearnspace. George Siemens is an insightful thinker on the cutting edge of educational theory. In this posting he provides a brief editorial based on the Times Online article, "The Next Step in Brain Evolution."

Both the editorial and the article are very interesting. Referring to possible differences in cognition between digital natives (possibly our kids) and digital immigrants (all of us--nobody in our class is young enough to be a digital native).

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Japancasting at BlogMatrix

Japancasting at BlogMatrix

I was just pointed to this site by a listserv email. I thought that you all might appreciate it. This a version of a podcast. You'll notice that it looks just like a blog, but there are audio segments attached to each of the postings.

More importantly, the content might interest you as it is somewhat geared towards language professionals.

It also has a major focus on Japanese language and culture, for those of you interested.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

MySpace in foreign languages due out this summer

MySpace in foreign languages due out this summer

Is this a good thing or not for you foreign language teachers (learners) here in the States?

It is a rich, yet highly criticized, social networking service. It can provide a great deal of access to the L2, but, at the same time the same concerns will likely follow it into these languages.

Business 2.0: 50 People who matter

Business 2.0: 50 People who matter

I think that this is amazing, though understandable coming from Business 2.0. They rank the user (they call you the consumer) as the #1 person who matters in tech business.

Imagine the paradigm shift that had to take place for this to be true. The user as publisher (blogs) movement (also referred to as read/write Web or Web 2.o) has really changed the way that us common folks are viewed.

This is the same movement that will change the expectations your students have for their future learning environments. Individualized, responsive, and generally dynamic. Get ready for it now :)


elearnspace is a blog kept by George Siemens. I have found it full of useful information and it doesn't hurt that he is a rather popular guy in the field (he knows what he's talking about).

He didn't make my "ESL Blogroll" to the left because he discusses issues in the realm of technology and learning in general (not really language--though he sometimes touches upon it.

I thought of his blog because a couple of your have brought up issues that touch upon neural networks and brain science in general. One of his most common topics is Neuroscience and I find the links fascinating even if they are a little over my head at times.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Photo Story 3

This is a link to an application that I blogged about in a previous blog (not very active since the baby came along)

Photo Story 3 is a great "free" software for designing multimedia presentations. Check it out.


This is one of the "nice to know" pieces that I will post in this blog. It is not an assignment and you don't even have to read it if you're not interested :) but it's nice to know.

Skype started out as simply an Internet telephony service. They have always had pretty good quality service, which set them apart in the early years of this movement. They started adding a great deal of functionality over time. They have surpassed most of the messenger (chat) clients in this regard. The inclusion of Video conferencing (in Beta as of this posting) puts them over the top.

I have both SkypeOut (buy credits, like a calling card, to call international--domestic calls are free for the near future) and SkypeIn (a "receiver" phone number that routes calls to your computer). I have also utilized the call forwarding function which allows me to route phone calls to just about any phone.

This is how I envision all of these working together to provide my U.S. family, friends, and students easy (and free...for them) phone access to me while I'm living in Korea.

I bought a phone number (SkypeIn) with a Chicago area code that people can call. This will only cost them domestic long distance charges (if applicable). Calling this number will ring on my computer or go to voicemail if I don't answer. Lastly, I will combine this with call forwarding, which will ring any phone that I have in Korea.

All of this doesn't cost the caller anything. I have to pay a small fee, but it is definately worth it. If I forward it to a cell phone it costs about 8 cents a minute, If I forward it to my office phone it only costs about 3 cents/min. On top of that, SkypeIn costs about $4/month (depending on the plan you use).

You may be asking, "what does this have to do with language learning"? Not much. Skype is a great application for your students to contact native language speakers no matter where they are for free or cheap (users can "call" from computer to computer, peer-to-peer, for free anywhere in the world). This brings a new dimension to class or personal exchanges between country (language) A and B. No longer are your students limited to interactions with a single model speaker (you) as the beginning and end of their L2 conversational exposure.

I also see this nearly seemless integration between telephony and computer as a given in much of our future technologies. Just look at your newer cell phone. You can send and receive text, audio, images, and video and whether you know how to do this or not, your younger students do.

I look forward to exploring the possibilities of using Skype in the near future.

* I haven't been able to find much written about how people are using Skype, though I'm sure it's out there. If you run across anything add a comment.

Thanks to Annie for this link to the Wikipedia entry on Skype ( It's overwhelming technical and a little boring even for a geek like me, but there is some useful information and links.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Welcome to CALL

Hi Folks,

Welcome to the CALL Class blog. I'll use this blog solely for posting reviews and "how to's" of technologies and resources that I find useful for langauge teachers. For the first few weeks, I'll cover some of the sites that we are using in this course including Moodle, Blogger, & Wikispaces.

Your role as a reader (and student) is to read the postings, check out these technologies, and comment on my postings. Comments can range from, "that's great...." to "how do I..."

Let me know if you have any questions.