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More wired than a Roman Internet café

From the Latinstudy list comes another dialogue on conversational Latin via Skype, a mostly free voice-over-IP phone service. For students and other folks who want to speak Latin via conference call with fluent Latin speakers worldwide, click here. Has anyone on eClassics tried this yet? What was your experience like?

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Hi Andrew, I have a good friend who teaches Italian Online and has her students use Skype to do conversations with each other online, just as people would do in a traditional classroom having the students pair off and work together.

Here are the instructions she put up for her students, and you can see how it fits into her course by exploring her site online if you are interested (the site is built with joomla, an open-source content management system):
Italian Online: Skype

Even though our university offers online modern language classes, they have not done anything in terms of serious tech support for that - I think Liz's solution of using Skype is a great idea. It's free, plus it teaches students a real-world technology skill that could come in useful in all kinds of ways.

I like what Laura's friend has done with the Italian course. It looks well set up.

I've used Skype for personal use, but never for a Latin related purpose. However, its ease of use is quite high - all you need is a microphone, and preferably some headphones, and you're away. What it does offer is the real possibility for conversation between learners, particularly those isolated by time or space. It can be quite difficult finding people with whom to speak Latin.

I think what might be useful, generally speaking, is for a bit of a proliferation of materials for guided conversations. This would form a useful resource for teachers working out what to get their students to do with Skype, and for individuals who are studying more independently - it could help their own use of Skype.
I agree about the need for material for guided conversations. The Traupman Conversational Latin book is a useful start, but nowhere near enough.

What I've mostly been doing with the service is Latin chat at the text level -- my active conversational vocabulary isn't yet up to conversing viva voce for any length of time, and when the conversation is text-only you have time to look up a word here and there when you need to. I've enjoyed it for the most part and hope to take the plunge and go to voice one of these weeks/months/whatever.
Hi Raphaela, I'm not a big proponent of conversational Latin per se in the classroom, but one thing that worked VERY well for me was role-playing - for example, if you use Auricula Meretricula, you can actually use it at ANY level, and then make the characters talk with each other in character in Latin.

Unlike having a conversation about our own modern lives, where the vocabulary issue is a nightmare, the characters in Auricula can talk with each other about their situations as characters in the play, where they have all the vocabulary they need! Then, after "improvising" encounters and conversations in character in class, I had the students write up additional scenes for the play.

Even though it was a third-semester college class, it worked great, because the Auricula was very very very simple for them and easy to understand, and it gave them the framework they needed for conversational interaction - not as themselves, but as characters in the play.




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