We have been running regular English sessions in Open Sim since 2013.
We used to have our own virtual land on Kitely. an Open Sim host, but due to budget restrictions we had to give it up, so now we visit other sims as and when we feel it worthwhile.
To join us there you will need an Open Sim enabled viewer. You can download the Firestorm* viewer for Open Sim and follow the instructions online (it's free).
If a session isn't running, don't worry. Explore the grids and learn some vocabulary by interacting with the things around you. You may see some avatars that move but don't speak, these are NPC (none player character) bots. They are scripted to move around or greet people. Be nice to them.
What do you need to have?
- The technical requirements for any virtual world are quite high. You must have a good Internet connection (the faster the better) and a good quality computer with sound card and graphics 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).
- You will also need a bit of patience. Virtual Worlds teach patience, things go wrong, viewers crash, voice goes choppy, people disappear in front of your eyes in the middle of a conversation, but as someone once said, "...technical issues are just another learning opportunity".
What do you need to do?
- To join in any sessions we run on any Virtual World it's best if you are a member of the Learn English forum and be in our server on Discord.
- For Open Sim you can set up a free account on Kitely (follow the instructions on their web site). We cannot give full technical support for the installation and running of the software, but they can.
- You will need a viewer for Open Sim. We use Firestorm (one version works with Open Sim and SL, the other is for Open Sim only). Please Note - Second Life's own viewer only works in SL.
- Once you are in-world, practise walking in a straight line, using your camera, and some of the more complicated things you can do. An hour or two spent on this, will save you a lot of frustration later.
- To join a session you need to know where we will be meeting. So start your viewer and log into our Discord server.
- Make sure your settings are correct before you join a session. You can find help with your voice settings here, these instructions are valid for any virtual world that uses Vivox.
- And of course you are free to visit any virtual world with no restrictions, apart from age. You will be amazed at the people you will meet and the things you will see. If you are sensitive we recommend you set your preferences to M and G - Mature and General. It's up to you if you want to use the A setting (Adult), but you won't find us there.
How do you access these voice sessions?
If you find us, you can simply join us, or if you need a bit more help you can send Teach your Open Sim id via the forum. (Please do not post your id on Teach's wall).
There's something happening in Open Sim 24/7.
You are not limited to only taking part in our sessions. We actively encourage you to explore other opportunities with other groups.
What times do the regular sessions run?
There is a calendar of times here. All times are *CET = Central European Time. The calendar also shows when we are away, or on holiday, so it's a good idea to check regularly.
What is CET? We work on Berlin time. You can click here to calculate the time in your city/country: www.timeanddate.com/worldclock - choose Berlin for the time to convert from and the city that represents your time zone to convert to your local time.
What do we do in the sessions?
We sometimes do a bit of role playing and even some drama. The great thing about virtual worlds is that you can do so much more than just sitting around, you move about and interact with other participants and the objects around you.
We run fireside chat sessions, games and quizzes. These usually involve a bit of listening, a bit of talking, some writing ... It's often an audio / visual experience.
From time to time we meet up and then go on to explore other places in Second Life or on Open Sim. From Virtual Britain to Virtual Zanzibar, you can expect just about anything, and if you find a cool place you can be our guide (G and M rated regions only).
How to contact us
Once you are a member of the forum you will be able to leave Teach messages. She doesn't live on the forum, or in virtual worlds, but the messages will be stored for when she next logs on, and she will usually reply to any reasonable request.
!Note - The usual rules and guidelines apply.
Of course you are not limited to our sessions on any virtual world. If we are not there at a time to suit you, find a friendly sim or grid with other people to talk to, it can be in a social setting, like a pub in Dublin, or a park in London, but there are also worlds dedicated to language learning, and some of them are free.
For example: Our island is on Kitely, where we are building a lively, social, language learning community.
There are also other Open Sim platforms out there. Don't be frightened to go exploring. It's a really cheap way to travel.
Check out Graham Davies' Virtual World Language Learning links for more information.
*We ocassionally record the sessions for streaming on the web. By participating in any of our sessions you have agreed to this.
You might like to read this article, to get a better idea of why we use and promote virtual worlds:-