How about video calls?

I’d like to know member’s opinions about video conversations with tutors.
The latest free Skype 4.0 version makes it easy. All you need is a webcam, which is actually available by most modern notebooks.

Some people say it is a bit embarrassed to see each other by learning. Perhaps, but I think video calls can make conversations more interesting.

I like them, and I use them when I can. Unfortunately my video camera causes my PC to crash, and my technical support department haven’t found the cause of the problem yet!

Also when I am on a videocall all my kids insist on coming up behind me and waving :wink:

I really like videocalls! At Japanese lessons I used to count things that my tutor Emma shows me. It was fun :slight_smile: Sometimes I show something and ask Emma how I can call this thing in Japanese. BTW, I fill more confident when I see my tutor.

Sometimes having the video enabled makes the sound quality worse. Sometimes it doesn’t. It’s not easy to tell whether your use of your webcam affects the sound quality for the other person.

I shall have to ask Mehmet about quality of service issues, he’s the technical expert!

Short time before I had a video conversation with my tutor and I had the feeling that I can understand better when I am able to see my interlocutor and his or her gestic.

First I was to shy to use it. But now I often use it with my English tutors and with one of my German students. But I think, the student should decide if he wants to speak with video or not. But I think it is nicer to speak with video.

I have two technological arguments against the use of video conferencing for language lessons. 1. You can not establish an eye contact with your partner witch is a very important communication feature. If you are looking directly into the webcam for make him feel you are looking directly on him, in prevents you from seeing his or her reaction. It’s very unnatural form of communication and I don’t think that many LingQ students pay for gaze correction application witch can solve this problem. 2. For the best of my knowledge it’s still impossible to make a group video conferencing through Skype. You can do it using the ooVoo application, but I don’t recommend it - the quality of sounds and video is terrible. Actually I also have some psychological arguments against the use of video conferencing in foreign language conversations, but I’m not sure if it is appropriate for this discussion :slight_smile:

Oh go on Ina, please do tell us the psychological arguments against using video conferencing in foreign language conversations!

The best arguments I can think of are:

  1. I’d have to put a smarter t-shirt on
  2. I’d have to stop the kids from coming up and waving at the camera all through the conversation
  3. I’d have to fix the lighting so that people can actually see me in the evenings
  4. I’d have to fix the PC so the video camera didn’t cause Skype to freeze up.

I do not really mind either way. Video can affect sound, and only works one on one.

I often prefer not to have the video on because I find it distracting, and I also have to be on my best behaviour, no yawning, and no looking elsewhere. I am curious to see my student or tutor the first few times, and then I am sort of indifferent, since I often look away, deep in thought of course.

I agree with Ina’s arguments, but in my case, there’s an other one which is probably the most important : how women, who attend in conversation with me, could concentrate on their English when seeing such a handsome man like me -:slight_smile: Come on!.. I’m kidding!.. No , seriously I do agree with Ina.

I agree with Steve. Video can be distracting. Especially as a tutor. I think if there was a way to really establish eye-contact with the other person, as per inablau’s gaze correction software, I might prefer to use video for some of the time, but, even then, not all of the time.

I was timid at first, too. Now I love video chatting. As a tutor, it is good because: 1) I need to get ready for the class; 2) I can show pictures etc. when I cannot explain it in English; 3) I know whether he/she have trouble understanding; 4) I can wait longer when I see a learner tries to say something (without looking at the face, it is hard to tell if he/she wants to say something or he/she is just waiting for me to say something.) As a learner, I feel more comfortable talking to tutors when I can see their faces. Establishing eye-contact has never been a issue to me. When their family members come up on video or when I hear voices of family, I feel happy. I feel their lives.

Of course we can use video only by “1 on 1” as an additional option.
The quality of sounds depends on many factors. I have many V-conversations per week within Europe; the quality is not perfect but good enough.

I can’t accept Ina’s arguments against video. If someone has psychological or technical problems, they shouldn’t use video. The positive sites are also well understood, and some of our members have already taken advantage of them.

After all, if you study a language with individual teacher live, you see his gestures, eyes, lips - in this sense video makes a conversation more natural.

And I agree with emma – video calls let you feel student’s and tutor’s lives.