Ventrilo, what an easy way to speak to everyone around the world !

Today, I want to initiate you guys to an useful interacting software: Ventrilo. Ventrilo is a tool that allows people to speak to anybody around the world without leaving home. All you have to do is staying on your chair, put your headphones on (it works too with a separated microphone and independent speakers).

Let me show you how simple Ventrilo is. You can find your Client online on the official website. The Client is the software you have to download before being allowed to speak with people around the world. When the software in done loading, you may install it into your computer and put a desktop icone to easily click when you need to speak. When everything is set, Ventrilo allows you to create a name and to enter a server IP to log in. This is the good thing about Ventrilo: You can rent a server for like 10$ a year and you give the IP adress and the password to whoever wants to join the conversation. That being said, nobody else than people you know may heard about your identity. It is complelety safe and you can’t find someone on google using Ventrilo. The owner of the server has a lot of rights. For example, the owner logs in as the administrator of the Ventrilo IP server. When logged in, he can create channels (Rooms) to let people talk in. The first one may be « Main Lobby » and the other ones may be « Room1 », « Room2″, Room3 », and so on. This is really amazing because people can decide to talk to everyone or to hide with someone in « Room1 » to talk in private. Another good point or Ventrilo is that you can write a message near your name. For example, if you are trying to pronunce a word to your friends and they can’t understand, you may click on « Miscenalleous » and there is a frame to put a text in. Also, you can promote your friends to different grades. For example, there is the server admin who has the entire control of options. Besides the server admin, people can be promoted to « administrator » but they don’t have the entire control of the tool. They only have a few more options like kicking people out of rooms or server.

This software is mainly used by people who play video games. It is useful for people to speak while gaming to ensure that people understand each other. Don’t WORRY, even if you are not a hard gamer, you may use Ventrilo for any purposes. For example, you may talk with family members or simply for business purposes.

Ventrilo VS The World

You may say that this tool is like Skype or TeamSpeak, but I personally think that Ventrilo has its own personnal positive points. Unlike Skype, the « Push to Talk Key » ability is way easier to understand in Ventrilo than Skype. This key is pretty sample: it allows you to hit a button before starting to talk. That being said, every background noises are not heard by everyone because you decide when you hit the button to talk. When the button is toggled off, nothing can be heard by people in the same room as you. Another advantage of Ventrilo is that there is no noise problem. According to my personnal exeperience with Skype, Skype lowers every other sounds when the time comes to receive a call. I know that you can change this option in Skype, but it is not everyone who are at ease with Skype’s options. Moreover, Skype minimizes other opened softwares when you are being called. Ventrilo is above that. Ventrilo won’t be changing any noise effects on other opened applications. Another advantage of Ventrilo is there is no friends list. You may say that is it not that important, but it is. When you want to talk to someone in Skype, you are almost forced to add him your friends list OR someone can add a person in an already-started discussion. Sometimes it is really boring to add a friend because you feel forced to talk to people because they are your friends. In Ventrilo, you add only people who you are sure of. In the same way of thinking, you can’t be found on Google while using Ventrilo. In Skype, people can find you by looking up your name in the add friends section.

PROs VS CONs

PROs: Really simple to use because you only need to download the Client once and after that it’s only a matter of servers. There are no noise problems like in Skype. You can kick people from your room or even lock your room to ensure than nobody can enter. The « Push To Talk Key » is very nice.

CONs: If you don’t have any information about IP server, you can’t talk to anybody. You MUST have a valid IP adress unless you won’t be able to talk to anybody.

ESL TEACHER TALKING

As an ESL teacher, I would use this tool in a computer lab only. It is not really a tool that you can use in classrooms, but it does not affect the fact that Ventrilo is useful. In a computer lab, it would be easy to form like 10 teams of four in your group and then create 10 rooms in your Ventrilo server. You can name your room the name you want so students won’t be mind boggled. It is also really useful for people who dislike softwares that everyone can talk at the same time. With Ventrilo, the green indicator by your name indicates if you are talking or not (red).

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Creating your own book

STORYBIRD: A story creater

Storybird is an online ressource to create your own story alone, grouped or in classroom. Its concept is to make a personal story with images and texts. The nice part of this online tool is that it can be used by several people at the same time.

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HOW IT WORKS

Storybird has a lot of pre-made frames that people can choose while creating a story. This means that, for instance, young students can take images that they found beautiful and create a story with the image. As the website says: « Your words. Our art. Amazing stories. »

While used in classrooms, the teacher just has to log in and presents stories in front of the class as example.

Storybird can be considered a social network because every stories can be liked and followed for feedback.

IMPORTANT: Is is important to notice that people can write texts, but they can’t choose their own images. Only pre-made frames are available.

All created stories can be upload on the Internet and can be seen worldwide. Moreover, people can read it and give feedback or even creating a following of your story.

PEDAGOGICAL POINT OF VIEW

For pedagogical purpose, a great quality of this tool is that students can easily create their own stories without any challenging efforts. They can act as an author for a couple of hours and create beautiful materials.

Here is an example of an online story: Awesome Story

As you can see, this little story is really simple to create and can be seen worldwide.

Still within pedagogical point of view, it enhances the creativity of each student which is very important in an early age of life. Moreover, it enhances the interaction between students because they work together to create a personal story.

It is also a great tool to introduce students to technology because it is quite simple and it is really beautiful when the time comes to read the story.

TEACHERS REVIEW

Here are some feedback from teachers around the world:

Kerry R. Professional Children’s School New York, NY

Submitted May 13, 2013
ESL TEACHER
As an ESL teacher, I must say that I will certaintly use this tool in future ESL classrooms. This is a new tool that I just discovered and it is way easier than it looks like. Honestly, when I was young, I would have loved to waste time finding funny images and create my own story as a little author. I really hope this tool will grow bigger and popularize around the world. I must say though that this tool is more for young children (High School Level) than older children (Secondary Level). However, everyone could like it, but I suggest to use it with people that are not too old.

Brand new software to better classrooms

Since 1.2 million students fail to graduate from high school every year in the United States, solutions need to be found in order not to have that many fails. To higher the number of graduates, gamification came out of the cave. Gamification is the use of game content in a place where you are not supposed to game. This idea is brilliant in the world of teaching in school.

A good example of gamification is Classcraft? This software, used in classrooms, allows students to create their own characters and to play an entertaining game during class. As they level up with their own characters, they earn experience points; experience points give students rewards by doing good work like answering questions, helping teachers or having a good behavior.


HOW DOES IT WORK

With their own devices (iPhones, SmartPhones, name it), students create their own characters. It is like a video game. They may create Warriors, Mages or even Healers. When the class starts, teacher asks students to log in and to pick their characters. As the day goes, they earn Experiences (XPs).

XPs : By acting like a good student, earning XPs allows them to have palpable rewards. For example, earning XPs and leveling up (To pass from level 1 to 2 for instance) they can receive rewards like: Privilege to ask one question during an exam or they may have a homework pass.

Characters : Students can change the look of their characters to make them look likes them (Well, this is a kind of avatar, so they may create something that looks like them, but it is all fake).

Classes : 3 classes are available: Warriors, Mages and Healers.

GAMEPLAY


NOTICE: To clarify some points, Classcraft is LIKE a game, but this is NOT a game. That being said, Classcraft is more concentrated on students behaviors. That means that is they are acting like good students during classes, they will earn XPs. Students cannot fight or enter dungeons while playing this game. It is not as interactive as a Role Playing Games (RPGs) or MMORPG.

PROS and CONS

PROS:

  • Easy to use
  • HIGHLY motivate students to be kind

CONS:

  • Not enough developed
  • Some students, more often girls, don’t see the fun of playing a game

Teacher Review

« Best classroom product since the textbook! » -Tyler, W.

Submitted October 23, 2014

Classcraft has allowed me to engage students in a way that I thought I would never be able to. I have seen student growth and engagement double from last year just because of the reward system Classcraft offers students. Students become immersed in a world of learning that used to be out of reach with traditional learning methods.

Gamification benefits in education

It has been demonstrated that gamification has a lot of benefits in the world of education. According to Ashley Deese, gamification helps the development of cognitive elements in children’s brain. It enhances brain’s stimulations which is very useful for brain in development. Gamification also helps students to be more engaged in classroom. Classcraft enhances students’ motivation and engagement in classroom so it results in better learning.

Teacher point of view

As an ESL teacher, I must say that Classcraft is brilliant. Because we can’t control the use of online games of many students, Classcraft is like fighting fire by fire, and it works. According to Carina Hilbert, Classcraft is a class changer. She said that she had a group of very disturbing students and when she introduced the game, students turned into motivated students who want to know which event is gonna be the event of the day. That being said, Classcraft improve students’ motivation for boys as much as girls. I totally agree with Carina Hilbert. As a future ESL teacher, I am sure that this game of game in a classroom will improve students behavior and motivation. As a kid, I have always dreamt of a world that mixes knowledge and game. Classcraft is the perfect mix and will certainly be in my future ESL classes.

 

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