This is an ongoing project to capture resources around the Web, articles, software, and my own notes on CALL technologies and methodologies.
I’ve split it into two sections: For Teachers and For Language Learners. These might not be the best distinctions, but they do put the focus on where I see the value of the resources applied.
Table of Contents:
Table of Contents:
CALL-Focused Communities/Online Spaces:
Learning Management Systems (LMS)
Miscellaneous Websites Dealing with CALL:
For Language Learners
CALL-Focused Communities/Online Spaces:
- Aviary - images (Chrome Web Store) - Online image editing software.
- GIMP (http://www.gimp.org/) - Great software for image editing.
- ActivePresenter (http://atomisystems.com/activepresenter/) - This software is more than just a screen capture utility but rather an entire editing suite. The paid version adds some functionality for higher end users. This is missing a webcam option, unfortunately. It would be a great addition to the software.
- Screencast-o-matic (http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/) - Another Web-based screencasting application, but this one allows for 15 minutes of recording time with the free version. This also has a webcam option.
- MoveNote (http://www.movenote.com)
- Present.me (http://www.present.me)
- Collaaj (https://collaaj.com) - Great newcomer. This is a software solution that has online storage and sharing options. This does have a webcam. You can also do a fair degree of editing in their software to clean up a video. The free version only allows for 2-minute videos. That goes up to 20 minutes with a $5/month plan.
- Jing (http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html) - Jing is an easy to use software for screen capture and screencasting. 5 minute maximum recording time. No webcam option.
- VLC Media Player (http://www.videolan.org/) - I was a little surprised to see that VLC did screen capture and recording, but I guess it does everything else so why not :-)
- CamStudio (http://camstudio.org/ or Google Web Store) - Screen capture (image and video) and editing.
- Screen Capture (by Google) (Google Web Store) - Screen capture app (image only)
- AZ Screen Recorder (Google Play Store) - This is a screencasting app for Android phones. Most of these types of apps require the phone to be rooted, but this one does a good job of screencasting without that requirement.
- Dragon Naturally Speaking: PC/Mac, iOS , and Android (not available in Korea).
- Google Translate (http://translate.google.com): This is great to check pronunciation and can be used to check understanding of vocabulary (and expressions, but not great for that).
- Dictation.io (http://dictation.io): This works only on Chrome browser (it uses Google speech recognition), but it is a nice, free dictation option. It is very accurate and can be used to have students check their pronunciation and grammar.
- Siri (iOS): Siri does many things, but it can be used by students to check their pronunciation (comprehensibility).
Free, Basic Hosting
These are all simple Web hosting services that allow users to create Web pages through templates and WYSIWYG interfaces and some that even allow for uploading of files (.html, media, etc.). You get what you pay for. Here is a comparison on Wikipedia.
There are so many paid hosting providers out there, I couldn’t even begin to list them here. Most of these paid services offer much more storage and bandwidth than the free hosts (these days I would use one unless it offered unlimited). They let you add your own domain(s) (and might even include a free domain registration with your account) and they let you create sub-domains. They should also offer FTP, database access (SQL, mySQL, etc.), and probably some sort of pre-configured scripts to install popular free/opensource software like Moodle, WordPress, and other useful products for teachers.
- Hostgator (http://hostgator.com/shared.shtml) - I’ve hosted my sites with Hostgator for over 7 years and I’ve never had a problem with them. Good service when I had questions as well. This is the only service that I can personally recommend as the ones I used previous to this are all out of business (and involved in some serious lawsuits :-)
- Bluehost (http://www.bluehost.com) - Recommended by WordPress.org
- Dreamhost - (http://dreamhost.com/web-hosting/) - Recommended by WordPress.org
Learning Management Systems (LMS)
The term LMS is probably overused. Most of these are what I would really call Course Management Systems (CMS) because they are build more for managing materials than tracking and modifying the learning environment for better outcomes. However, these are generally being used synonymously in the workplace so I’ll do that same here (not to mention, I having used an systems that I’d consider worthy of the title LMS)
Web Services (free, online)
Self-Hosted (install on your server/host)
Miscellaneous Websites Dealing with CALL:
For Language Learners
The Web was invented for text and there is no lack of reading material out there. Teachers can use the Web as their library. Everything from news to books to folk tales can keep you and your student busy. In addition, there are a few resources that have advantages that paper materials don’t.
The number of services focusing on audio and video content have exploded in recent years. As Internet speeds increase, we get more of our entertainment online. In addition to TV shows and movies, there are also services that provide instructional materials and pronunciation aids to complement the A/V.
- Listen a Minute (http://listenaminute.com/): Large collection of listening texts with transcripts and instructional activities.
- ELLLO - English Listening Library Online (http://www.elllo.org/): This is a great site with lots of recording, transcripts, and instructional materials made for language learners.
- Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab (http://www.esl-lab.com): One of the oldest listening sites on the Web. It’s not flashy, but it does have many recordings with listening comprehension quizzes.
- English Conversations (http://englishconversations.org/): Contains a variety of listening texts and transcripts. This site as a good variety of natural conversations.
- Text-to-Speech (screen readers)
As with reading, writing is a natural match for the Web. Gone are the days when you had to write HTML code to publish online. These days, it’s as easy as using your word processor...in fact there are online word processors like the one I wrote this handout on (Google Docs). Put writing is more than just static text now; it is interactive.
- Google Hangouts (https://hangouts.google.com/) - Google’s communication client incorporates text, audio, and video chat as well as group videoconferencing and a host of other features.
- Facebook Chat (http://www.facebook.com): Quickly becoming one of the most used chat clients.
- KakaoTalk (http://www.kakao.com) - A great mobile messenger that is the default in Korea. It is a complete, impressive suite of functions: text, images, audio, video (synchronous and asynchronous), groups, and private and public options.
- NateOn (http://nateonweb.nate.com/): The most popular Korean chat client, though much less so these days thanks to KakaoTalk.
- WhatsApp (https://www.whatsapp.com) - One of the most popular chat apps in the world.
- Snapchat (https://www.snapchat.com [mobile only]) - This is the original disappearing messaging app. Messaging only exist for a short amount of time and then they disappear. Popular with teens and best known these days for its image filters.
- Google Docs (http://docs.google.com): Online word processor that allows for collaborative writing and well as sharing documents to select people and as public Web pages.
- Wikispaces (http://www.wikispaces.com): Good wiki. Popular with teachers.
- PBWorks (http://pbworks.com/) - One of the better wikis I’ve used. They have a built-in plagiarism checker. Not sure how good it is, but could be great for classes.
- Zoho Wiki (https://www.zoho.com/wiki/) - Good wiki, but only 3 members in the free private option.
- MapSkip (http://www.mapskip.com/) - Users can create brief stories and attach them to a map. Could be a neat way to do travel writing.
- FrazeIt (http://english.fraze.it/) - This site is great for finding collocations. It is a type of easy-to-use concordancer.
There still aren’t too many ways to practice speaking online, but the offerings are growing. The Web is now our telephone, answering machine, and the place where we publish our own audio and video recordings.
- Skype (http://www.skype.com): The largest telephone company in the world. Skype allows you to speak with others around the world using audio, video, and text for free (if both are using the computer program). This is a great service for getting foreign speakers into your classroom.
- Google Hangouts (http://hangouts.google.com) - This is Google’s audio/video/chat function in Google+ (Google’s social network). It is growing in popularity and many people are raving about how good it is.
- ooVoo (http://www.oovoo.com) - popular for group multimedia messaging, including VoIP.
- TalkShoe (http://www.talkshoe.com): Can join public discussions or start one of your own.
- Messenger clients with voice chat
- SoundCloud (http://soundcloud.com) - This is the default for everyone from musicians to podcasters these days. You get a lot of free recording time (2 hrs) and it is very easy to use. You can also embed the player into your Web pages to share with your students/teachers.
- Audioboom (http://audioboom.com) - This used to be Audioboo until quite recently. It is a good system for both recording and uploading audio as well as sharing.
- Vocaroo (http://vocaroo.com) - UPDATE. Unfortunately, Vocaroo has not been reliable the last year or so. I no longer suggest this site. This is a very easy to use online voice recorder. You can embed the recorder into a page, share your recordings on Web pages with their widget, email recording, or through a variety of social services. They only promise that the recordings will be available for a couple months so this is not a long-term option.
- Voxopop (http://www.voxopop.com): UPDATE. While I still do recommend Voxopop, I also recommend caution. There have been substantial down-times and the Java required seems to be getting more difficult to work with. However, I still love the service. Record a question for students and they can all leave an audio response.
- Blip.tv (http://www.blip.tv): Watch or record and broadcast your own video.
- Ustream (http://www.ustream.tv): Broadcast live video.
- Google Hangouts (http://hangouts.google.com) - Hangouts are not just VoIP but they also let you archive and share your sessions, making for a great video podcast.
- EnglishCentral (http://www.englishcentral.com/) - Practice speaking lines from short videos. They system will then give you feedback on your pronunciation. Great system for listening and speaking.
- VoiceThread (http://www.voicethread.com): Students can create or respond to pictures, audio, or text presentations.
I still am not sure that this deserves its own section. I could probably find places for these links in the other sections. However, it is a popular area now and there is a general lack of understanding of what is available to use. Another issue with this section is the usage of the term VR. Many would consider VR only animated 3D virtual environments; however, that is not the way that the world is using the term these days. VR encompasses not only animated 3D virtual environments, but also 360 degree images and videos that are accessed through VR headsets (Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, etc…). For language learning, few resources exist for 3D virtual environments, outside of a few (generally poor) game-based applications. Older virtual environments, such as SecondLife, would be interesting, but at this time, they are not accessible through VR headsets, though Linden Labs has been teasing their VR replacement called Sansar for 2017. With this in mind, I’ll try to track this quickly moving space here.
- Google Cardboard () - This is Google’s VR on the cheap. I got a bunch of Cardboard viewers for abou $5 each. These are no frills, but will allow you to use the range of apps in the Play Store marked with the Google Cardboard icon.
- Samsung Gear VR () - This is a step up from Google Cardboard-type viewers. Depending on the version you get, these can range in price now from $40 for the older versions to $120 for the newest (which comes with a controller for the ever increasing number of apps that require one). This will pair with certain phones.
- Google Dream VR () -
- Oculus Rift () -
- Sansar (https://www.sansar.com/) - This is Linden Labs’ (maker of SecondLife) new virtual environment built specifically to be accessed with VR hardware. I can’t comment on it because it has not been opened to the public yet. They are saying first quarter of 2017 (which is nearly over now :-/
- CoSpaces (https://cospaces.io/) - Users can create and use a virtual environment. I really didn’t find it interesting when first using it, but these things are in their infancy. We’ll see what it can become.
VR Language Learning Applications
- House of Languages (http://www.fox3d.com/vr) - This is a VR language learning app for the Samsung Gear VR. The videos look interesting, but don’t seem to move beyond basic vocabulary learning. These are apps make by developers, not educators. This hasn’t been updated for a long time, so I don’t think it has much of a future.
- LinguapraticaVR (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVarbEd_hN1i0aM2rGJxt6A) - YouTube Channel. This walks the line between image and video, but I termed it an image since that’s what it is based on. It is a video of a 360 picture. The video is then narrated to have users look around the space and find/notice objects. In this way, learners have to follow directions (location) and identify objects (vocabulary).
AR Language Learning Applications
- Quiver (http://www.quivervision.com/) - Fun AR app that using worksheets that students can color with crayons and then use AR to animate. There are some free pages, but a broader range of paid pages.
- Google Cardboard Camera () - This is a great app to accompany Google Cardboard. You can take 360 pictures while recording ambient audio. I’ve use this for school plays, concerts, and miscellaneous gatherings. It’s a great addition to regular 360 images.
- ThinkLink (https://www.thinglink.com/) - Authoring tools for interactive VR using 360 images. The website makes it seem like it will work with 360 video, but it does not.. This is a paid service but you can do some free stuff with interactive images. It seems to me that this is the only service available now, but I imagine many more will be popping up in the near future.
Videoconferencing for language learning has been popular for years, but the only in the last 5-10 years has it been so accessible by average people around the world. Both our personal hardware and Internet connection speeds have improved greatly. The popularization of smartphones has helped greatly, too. Now, everything one needs to participate in videoconferencing is available in a single device.
Videoconferenced Language Teaching Services
- Lspeaking (https://www.lspeaking.com/) - Lspeaking is a relatively new company in Korea that is associated with my university (Sangmyung University, Seoul). We have just started using them by integrating one-on-one speaking with our large, required freshman English classes. The jury is still out, but the idea of having more one-on-one conversation time with qualified, trained English teachers is a good one.
- Learnissimo (https://www.learnissimo.com)
Social networks help us to contact and communicate with people who share our same interests. From general social networking sites to ones that specialize in language learning, there are more opportunities than ever to connect with like-minded people.
- Facebook (http://www.facebook.com) - The largest general social network in the world.
- Google+ (http://plus.google.com) - This is Google’s social network. It is not very popular at the time I’m writing this, but it does have some features that people are very happy with like Google Hangouts (video/audio/chat).
Do you want to take a course from MIT or Berkely? Many people who never would have had the chance to do so can now get at least a little bit of that experience. Open courseware is a movement that began a few years ago. Universities and other organizations began offering there course materials online. The quality differs from school to school and course to course, but there are an incredible number of courses that you and your students can benefit from.
- Coursera (http://www.coursera.org/) - Coursera has the greatest momentum of open courseware sites at this point. They have been embolden by high profile courses and the media that accompanies them.
- MIT Open Courseware (http://ocw.mit.edu): Large collection of MIT courses complete with syllabi, lecture notes, and even some lectures and other class materials.
- Open Courseware Consortium (http://www.ocwconsortium.org/) - Great way to search through available courses from many universities. The quality and materials differ greatly, but there are a lot of good resources here.
- Open Content.org (http://www.opencontent.org) - Another great way to search through many universities’ offerings.
- Open University’s Learning Space (http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/course) - Many free mini-courses on specific topics. These seem like teasers for the paid, credit courses.
- Stanford Engineering Everywhere (http://see.stanford.edu) - Standford has open sets of their engineering courses for the world. Lots of good things being said about them.
- Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org/) - Certainly one of the most well-publicized sites. The Khan Academy specializes in mathematics education and allows users to put together and track their own learning goals.
- EdX (https://www.edx.org) - The Harvard, MIT, Berkeley initiative for open courses. Not many there right now and certainly nothing for language teachers or learners (unless you are looking for content-based materials in the sciences).
- Udacity (http://www.udacity.com/) - An open courseware initiative focusing largely on the sciences for now.
- engVid (http://www.engvid.com) - This is a site that has grown it’s content considerably over the last couple years. They have some great videos, mostly teachers in front of whiteboards, but also some group situations.