Thanks to our lovely sponsors, the Network runs regular Skype and Google+ sessions for the LEN community and LEN forum members. The sessions last for about an hour, sometimes a bit longer. We use voice, so you will need a microphone, but we don't use video. To join a session you have to be a member of the forum, and you have to be in Lynne's contact list on Skype (see below).
There are also chat rooms in Skype called Meet Up 4 ESL. The idea of these rooms is that forum members will be able meet up with each other to chat and eventually exchange contact details, maybe even set up chat rooms themselves where they can practise spoken English together in a relaxed, fun and informal way.
What do you need to have?
- For the Skype sessions you will need a Skype account, with the most up to date version. (If you don't have a Skype account you'll need to download the software and follow the instructions online - don't worry, it's free).
- To join a hangout in Google Plus you will need a Google Plus account.
- Naturally, you must use have access to a computer with an Internet connection (the faster the better) and a good quality sound card.
- To hear any conversations you will need a good pair of headphones (or computer speakers).
- To speak you will need a good quality microphone with a reasonable sound card (You can now buy USB headsets with a built in sound card).
What do you need to do?
- To join in any of our Skype sessions you have to join the Learn English forum and be in Lynne's contact list on Skype.
- You will need to install the free Skype software software (follow the instructions on their web site). We cannot give technical support for the installation and running of the software, but they can. Make sure your settings are correct before you start.
- To join any of our Google Hangouts you need to be a member of our Learn English on Google+ community.
- Make sure you have the YouTube application installed in your hangout settings.
- Once you have any software installed, test your headset and microphone. You can do this using the tools Skype provides.
How do you access the voice sessions?
Only members of the forum can apply to join any of the voice sessions on Skype. You have to do this via the Learn English forum.
Send a contact / friend request to Lynne Hand in the forum and then when she has accepted your request you can send her a private message with your Skype id (please do not send it to support or in the contact request, neither are reliable).
Lynne Hand will then send you a contact request via Skype and once you have replied to it (in Skype), she will be able to add you to the Meet Up 4 ESL room.
You will need to save the room in your conversation list on Skype.
If you "leave" the room, it means you are no longer a member there and won't be able to get back in without asking. If you wish to permanently leave the room, remove Lynne from your contact list in Skype.
To join in the regular "voice" sessions, you should make sure you are "available" in Skype (green), and IM (instant message) Lynne in Skype, 5 minutes before the session starts. Type a message to say you would like to join the session and she will add you to the group - first come / first served.
After a while - to allow you to chat to each other - room will close, and you can apply to join again the next time.
(If you have followed all the instructions and still can't get in the room, let us know in the Skype area of the forum, and we will try to sort out any problems.)
When is the room open?
The Meet up 4 ESL room is available 24/7, but we are not. We usually moderate the Meet Up 4 ESL room on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
We try to be in the Meeting room at least twice a week.
We can't promise we will always be there on the same day or at the same time, but we do try.
You are not limited to visiting just our room. If we are not there at a time to suit you try one that is.
What times do the regular sessions run?
There is a calendar of times here. All times are *CET = Central European Time (Berlin).
You can click here to calculate the time in your city/country, www.timeanddate.com/worldclock - choose the city of Berlin for the time to convert from.
What do we do in the sessions?
First and foremost - Sessions and topics can be requested by forum and community members.
Skype - In the reading room on Mondays we read out loud. Due to time restrictions if the room is full, not everyone will be able to read out loud, but we do try to make sure everyone who attends regularly has a go.
Google + - In the Monday Hangout we often watch YouTube videos and discuss them.
Google + - In the Wednesday sessions we use the time for a bit of listening practice, or discussions based on topics from the forum or the G+ community. This means active listening, so be prepared to listen to a podcast, a song, a video or access an mp3 file online and to ask/answer questions about it.
Skype - On Fridays (TGIF) we meet up on Skype and you are invited to come along to relax and just chat about anything. This is the best session for people new to Skype as we can help you with any issues with microphones etc.
In the Monday and Wednesday sessions we usually start with a topic. This can involve an article or short skit to get people to speak out loud. We try to give feedback on English pronunciation and English speaking skills, if you don't want any feedback, just say so.
Hopefully we discuss the session and this gives everyone the chance to speak English freely. Common topics of conversation are: introductions, current events, food, books, movies, sports, hobbies, art, music, education, family, holidays, travel, and the weather (Lynne is British after all).
What should you do in the sessions?
When you enter any session or hangout for the first time make sure your microphone is muted and check what is going on, and then if it's appropriate, type "Hi" in the chat window.
If you want to speak type "mic" in the chat window and if it's appropriate the moderator will call you to take the microphone. You can then talk by clicking on the microphone on your Skype panel and speaking into the mic, (don't forget to mute your mic when you've finished).
We use the following codes:-
- 111 to show we can hear you
- 222 means we can't hear you
- 2121 means your sound is breaking up
We don't mind if you just want to listen to start with, but you will be encouraged to speak.
What level are the rooms aimed at?
We expect these groups to find their own level, but it generally works out that intermediate to advanced students get the most out of the sessions. However, you are more than welcome to join us whatever your level, you can learn a lot by just listening. For beginners we recommend "Learn English on Second Life".
If you have any questions, please contact us on the forum.
By joining any of these activities you agree to follow the Network's rules and guidelines.
We ocassionally record the sessions for streaming on the web.
Of course you are not limited to our activities on Skype. There is a lively language learning community there. Check out the Skype Language Learning forums for more free groups and language exchanges via Skype.