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In chapter 8 of "CALL Dimensions", Levy and Stockwell talk about the advantages of conferencing and its impact on the development of language learning. Audio and videoconferencing technologies have received increasing attention over the past few years and they are considered one of the major advantages of the Internet Technology. Conferencing enables students to communicate with native speakers, or even other students who are separated by distances and helps them to discuss matters in smaller groups similar to a classroom. However, there are still problems with this sort of technology. For instance, not all students have access to high speed internet and when it is used for teaching groups of students it can become  more complicated. When more than one person speaks at the same time, teachers cannot differentiate individual voices. Do you think that the advantages of conferencing is more than its disadvantages? And can one suggest that it belongs to a certain group of students with the same skills and opportunities?

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
manmantx
Mar. 17th, 2009 04:03 am (UTC)
I love videoconferencing.
I think that videoconferencing is an advantage. It can be used strategically to benefit all kinds of students. However, professors have to make sure all students can benefit from it if each student is going to be using home technology. For example, I took a class on school technology as part of my undergraduate curriculum and he joined an elementary class from Chicago who was learning about sea lions. So we connected with park rangers from California. Therefore, all students benefited, the kids from Chicago, and us. In this case, we used the school technology. It was awesome because we could see the kids from Chicago, they could see us, and we could both see the park rangers from California. But if the professor wanted for each kid to connect from home, then this could represent a problem as not all kids would necessarily have access to the needed technology for the videoconferencing.

I don’t believe that videoconferencing belongs to a certain group of students with same skills and opportunities. However, if it’s going to be used, we have to ensure proper ways to benefit all the students and not only a few.
alinalac24
Mar. 17th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
Re: Week 9
I think video conferencing in classrooms is an advantage, and here are my reasons:
1. To create interest among students: - Actually it’s a practical belief that if knowledge of any subject is given graphically or with the help of pictures, understanding of the subject becomes easy. Concentration level of student literally rises and he shows further interest in subsequent studies. This is the general reason for schools to install such equipments in their classrooms and lecture halls.
2. Attendees can even attend this without mere presence in classroom: - This technology certainly has an advantage since students from multiple classrooms can seek knowledge at a particular instant of time, even parents can also access these lectures by simply logging with their respective usernames along with their children.
3. Document sharing makes it easily accessible: -Teachers and students can easily share their information through networking with the help of advanced software.
4. Learning becomes easy: - With the advancement of this technology students find it easier to concentrate and it also creates motivation among them to learn.
5. Saves time through distant learning: - Since these lectures can be telecasted worldwide with no boundary locations therefore it saves a lot of time.

loltauruslol
Mar. 19th, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)
has some advantages
I would say there is no perfect technolgoy for language learning or communication. People even have troubleing communicating face-to-face. However, conferencing has provided some advantages that people who cannot meet physically. First, the conferecing provides more flexibility on schedules, and cost for travelling. Students are able to practice communication sills with speaker in the target language culture. However, like worries you mentioned, the quality of sounds, the multi-party participation casue problem on who is speaking. However, in some conferecing room, only one student can be heard when you press the button when you need to talk. The camera will take on the person who is speaking. Therefore, this can solve the problem. For me, I have see the advatanges is more than disadvantages.

maracucha_mama
Mar. 19th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
video-conferencing
I have never used video-conferencing, so I don't know exactly how it works. However, I can see that if students have access to the technology it would be a useful component in an on-line class. The teacher could use it to explain a structure or assignment or just facilitate discussion, or a student could use it to give an oral presentation or have a discussion with other students. I think being able to see a person when you talk to them has some definite advantages, as many of the cues we use to interpret a person's mood or intention are non-verbal. This is an important facet of communicative competence. Now, if the video is choppy and makes communication garbled and difficult to understand, this may cause significant frustration to the learner and make its use disadvantageous.
electric_box
Mar. 19th, 2009 10:54 pm (UTC)
I will be very curious to hear what others post in response to this prompt after tonight's distance ed class. In my experience, the first one to two times someone uses audio conferencing, it's a very frustrating process. However, once the technical glitches have been worked out, I've found students really quite enjoy the process. However, a lot of time does get spent on teaching the technology and not necessarily teaching the language.
pkyount82
Mar. 20th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC)
week 9
I think that the advantages of videoconferencing technology definetely outweigh the disadvantages. Students are able to have global communication with other students, and those who are unable to commute have the opportunity to attend class. A school that has videoconferencing available in their computer lab could set up a learning session with another international school with similar hardware available. The same school could also set up another learning session with a class via email/instant messaging that didn't have videoconferencing equiptment. Students should work in small groups so that there aren't too many voices competing at the same time. Time for voice chat with the instructor should be scheduled, or questions could be asked via instant message.
raluca_2009
Mar. 20th, 2009 02:46 am (UTC)
Video conferencing eradicates parameters of time and space limitations. If it is well planned and structured, taking into account grouping configurations (not large groups),if the technical difficulties are overcome, it is a very useful tool for language learning purposes. The idea of communicating online raises interest in students while the affective filter is low (they do not get nervous to answer questions and get engaged into oral interactions due to the lack of native-like accent or because of pronunciation mistakes). The information is easily transmitted and accompanied by visual support it ensures a long-term retention.
Thank you for considering my prompt.
Kind regards,
Raluca
jose_estevez28
Mar. 20th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC)
kudos for videoconferencing...
I like videoconferencing; I think it is a wonderful idea; the possibilities that it can offer and boundless; I think for ELLs is an invaluable tool; connecting students with students from assorted parts of the globe not
only is adequate for language acquisition, but for CULTURAL ACQUISITION; those background knowledges will be further enriched when a contact with a distant student is also made a participant; it would be the ultimate empirical experiment in language learning; the concept of language acquisition will be expanded when a student of language meets a counterpart to increase his knowledge. My only concern (as usual) is cost-related. How soon this asset will be an integral part of our schools? Can we
demonstrate (once again) that language is a universal thing? Policymakers (sometimes, not educators) can be posed this question and (hopefully) we can expect a (fact-supproted) answer......
esther_harris
Mar. 22nd, 2009 11:55 pm (UTC)
Week 9 - Videoconferencing the FUTURE classroom
I would say that there are more advantages than disadvantages when the class is using videoconferencing. One advantage is the capacity to correct language errors or pronunciation right away. Also, the students have the opportunity to discuss different topics in small groups. Students and Instructors may interact in the target language and learn grammar, culture, history, etc.

The class we had on Thursday with Skype, was a new experience. Working in groups of three and performing the tasks over the Internet was interesting and we all felt comfortable (I think) interacting with each other. I do not think it would be the same interaction if I wouldn't have met the other students face to face. I guess I would have to take a class where no one has met and we have to perform tasks over the Internet.

I can see with this technology the students and the Instructor getting excited about the lesson and perhaps more interested in learning.

Now, regarding the second question, I don't believe this technology belongs to a certain type of student, because nowadays, the younger generation is into technology like never before. These kids learn the technical part of it very fast. If these kids do not have a computer, the schools provides it and they can practice and learn.

The Instructor needs to be patient and conscientious that not everyone is at the same level with computer knowledge. I believe with patience and a will, many tasks can be performed successfully.



abbylibby715
Mar. 25th, 2009 01:53 am (UTC)
Video Conferencing In The Middle
I think can have both advantages and disadvantages. I think a much of the time could be used teaching the technology rather than language learning. The class over Skype was definitely interesting. There was some glitches but after they were solved it was a good experience. I also think that this kind of conferencing plays to students that with the abilities to navigate through the programs. The audience of students would be know how to navigate. I am reminded of the digital divide with the issue because you need to be computer literate to know how to do this. And a teacher would be wasting time I think if she/he had to teach the technology. The teacher should know the audience and then determine if the use of video conferencing is appopriate. See ya'll in second life Abby,
salvaldez
Mar. 27th, 2009 04:39 am (UTC)
Without a doubt in my mind the benefits of video conferencing outweigh its disadvantages. While seeing each other, the participants can not only hear the dialog, but also see each other. They can read their body language such as: their hands, placement of their heads, eye positioning, etc. These gestures all have an effect on communication between people. If we're learning say Russian, and we cannot pick up on what a particular word means, for example "disgusting", a twisted facial expression seen through a video link might help the learner understand what the native speaker means. Another benefit comes from visual learners who would most likely benefit more from video conferencing than others, because they would find it easier to remember the images of their colleagues. It also defeats any problems due to time and space. We don't have to board a cross-country flight anymore to see meet with someone. Students don't have to drive across their state to meet with an expert on linguistics, they can meet them over a video conference.

I think that conferencing does still belong to certain groups of students, for example those that can afford it. Personally I have never used video-conferencing, but would guess that it is not all that cheap. Students must also have some training in using it correctly so as to gain the most that they can out of it. Technology should be available evenly across the board for all learners, but it is not. The upper class minority will continue to have access to the most exclusive and newest tools for the classroom.
elisa7410
Mar. 29th, 2009 02:04 am (UTC)
I think the advantages of conferencing are by far greater than the disadvantages. The only down side to it is the process of preparation, which includes educating yourself (as the instructor), as well as educating your students about the technology that is going to be used. I see this type of technology being more successful if used with younger generations because they are not intimided by advances in technology and are always looking forward to learn about such advances. If the students are not very computer literate, it will perhaps take a little while to get things going, but I think once the students understand how the technology works, they will learn to love it as well. Some of the advantages of using conferencing as a source for instuction include allowing students to take classes that they couldn't otherwise attend due to the lack of time, childcare, transportation, etc. It is also easier to submitt assignments electronically; this eliminates the excuse of "I forgot my homework" or "I did turn it my homework." If using this type of technology for language learning, students can interact with native speakers which can be extremely beneficial.
Mangola Daruwala
Apr. 10th, 2015 06:47 am (UTC)
R-Hub
I've been using web conferencing for my company for the past three years, and I honestly don't believe there are any disadvantages. The key is to find the right service. I use R-HUB because it gives me Web conferencing and remote support, all in one device
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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