Picture of Don Hinkelman
Re: CALL Room Software
by Don Hinkelman - Wednesday, 3 February 2010, 03:40 PM
Hi Dave,

Good question and we might as well talk about it here.

We have two commercial software packages that we integrate with Moodle and use in our CALL rooms. However, because they are in Moodle, we can use them outside of the CALL rooms and in regular computer labs or even at home. I really recommend a web-based software like that.

1. Webswami: this is the best and very suited for a room where you have microphones, webcams and headphones (webcams not necessary but lots more fun with them). Go to their site and think they even have my review of the software on the front page. This is what I wrote to our teachers recently:
Video Recording of Conversation and Speeches: Starting in 2010, SGU will add the plugin to our online courses, called "WebSwami" for Moodle. This will enable students to easily video record their pair conversations and speeches on the webcams in the blended learning rooms (A201, C301, C302, C303, C312). Webswami is also easy for teachers to make video podcasts (also known as a video recorded announcement or demo) and pronunciation practice lessons. In March, we will have a training session for those interested in trying it.
Pricing is reasonable compared to most big-ticket CALL packages. Akio Ohnishi of Version2 Web Development is the agent here in Japan.

2. TOEIC, TOEFL, and English Remedial Courseware
This comes from Data Pacific in Tokyo. Mr. Yoshida is the guy to talk to (very bilingual). It is mostly practice drills but adapted to the Moodle format. Easy to install and even re-install across many courses in your school site. Good practice before a real TOEIC or TOEFL test. The remedial courseware covers basic English grammar and has a nice interface. You can order this piece-by-piece to fit most budgets.