How Much Time Can you Save with Extempore?

Every language teacher knows how difficult it is to get students to speak in class. It is even more difficult, and can be extremely time-consuming, when there is a need to evaluate each student’s speaking skills individually. Imagine you are a language teacher with 30 students and you need to provide an oral exam to[…]

Extempore Customer Testimonials

Extempore was just at ACTFL 2018 in New Orleans. While the team got plenty of Speaking Practice doing demos for three days straight, we thought some payback was also due, so we roped in a few customers and asked them to do a quick video for us. It’s only fair that the world learn how[…]

New Mobile Apps

The new Extempore mobile apps are now available for download! Rebuilt from the ground up, the new apps are a huge improvement for students, as they are significantly faster and more user-friendly than the versions they replace. They also follow the same design as the Student Portal for more consistency across platforms. Two important items[…]

Extempore, The Speaking Practice App, Saves Teachers an Average of 15 Hours per Assessment.

EdTech Language Platform Sees Usage Surge 400% Year over Year St. Paul, MN, October 31, 2018 — Extempore announces that year over year usage of its Speaking Practice platform has surged nearly 400%. In addition to this growth, teachers are seeing valuable time savings while conducting oral language assessments. The average Extempore teacher has an[…]

Mobile Grading is here!

In the very near future, Extempore will be updating our mobile apps with a brand new look and feel as well as new features. As part of these changes, the mobile apps will become student only and all the instructor work will be shifted to either you desktop of mobile browsers. Today, we are happy to[…]

Foreign Language Speaking Anxiety: The case of Spontaneous Speaking Activities

Great article on Procedia about Speaking Anxiety. Abstract There is a great deal of research focusing on speaking anxiety and yet there are relatively few studies suggesting ways how teachers can help learners cope with this problem. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to identify whether the integration of spontaneous speech activities helps minimize[…]

Extempore’s New Release – Redesigned Grading

Extempore 4.7 will be made available to users starting Wednesday, August 29th. A full redesign of the grading screen is being made, consolidating all information in one place and requiring less clicking. Main changes include: New look and feel of the assessment grids and question grading screens. A new left panel in the question grading[…]

Priddy Learning Academy to Launch New Online Program

Priddy Learning Academy is one of Extempore’s favorite partners. After a few months of development and successful pilots, they will be rolling out a ground-braking online program, aimed at the Asian markets. Needless to say, Extempore will be a key part of their English classes. We wish them much success and look forward to a[…]

FireFox tracking protection

The newest version of FireFox has changed the default security setting from previous versions. In some cases, these settings will interfere with some Extempore functions. If you experience issues while using Extempore on FireFox, please add an exception to the “Tracking Protection” feature in FireFox so Extempore can function successfully. You can do this by[…]

Creating Screencasts as question prompts

As you know, in Extempore, you can use multiple types of prompts for your student’s speaking activities. Whether you use the app for oral assessments, or as replacement to a language lab, having a variety of prompts enriches your students’ experience, and allows you to assess different aspects of their oral production. One of the[…]

Talk more to listen better

New research from the University of Wisconsin–Madison shows that the students should spend more time talking. “If traditionally favored, comprehension-stressing teaching practices were better at teaching students comprehension of their new language, the group that practiced through listening would do best on listening comprehension tests. However, the researchers found the opposite. On tests of many[…]

Best of the Web – Speaking Practice Activities

Today, we bring you the best speaking practice activities to be found in the web. Most can be done with Extempore! From Teachers Pay Teachers “Simple future speaking prompts for ESL“ From Teachers Pay Teachers “Spanish Places Partner Speaking Practice“ eBook by Christiene Lee – Speaking Practice for the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program[…]

100 Years of “New Technologies”: Teaching a Foreign Language with Technology from 1918 to 2018

One of Extempore’s founders has recently published an article in the popular Educational Technology blog EmergingEdTech. You can read it in full here, but today we want to highlight the main lesson from this analysis: that technology always moves on, that there is always resistance to its adoption, but that overall, the trend is always to[…]

Extempore supports the Language Learning Summit

Once again, Extempore is proud to support our friends at the Language Learning Summit on their endeavors to make language learning, online or face-to-face, better and more collaborative. Please read more about it below. We encourage you to register and attend as many sessions as you can! About

Blended Learning Pilots With Extempore

Extempore is proud to participate in the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center’s Blended Learning Pilots program, whereby Flagship institutions can apply for a grant to use Extempore in their blended learning projects. Click on the image below to learn more about this fascinating program, and feel free to email Extempore for more information on how[…]

Extempore’s New Release – Archiving Classes and Email Notifications

Extempore 4.6 is now available with two highly sought-after features: Archiving Classes You can now archive old classes. Archiving a class will remove it from your Classes tab, unenroll all students and delete all attempts. The content of an archived class can be restored from the “Archived Classes” page, but students and attempts cannot be[…]

Speaking Logs

I was sitting in my office the other day with one of my students minoring in Spanish. She was concerned with her scores on our recent oral exam and frustrated at how her speaking skills seemed to lag behind her writing and reading. “That’s normal!” – I said, as a way to frame my longer[…]

Scaffolding, conversing, linguistic analysis … and Extempore

As I’m planning a potentially-rich, definitely-logistically-challenging activity in my university-level Spanish classes, I’m realizing how much easier this could be with Extempore. Let me explain. I’m an assistant professor of Spanish language and linguistics at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. If you’re familiar with San Antonio, you know that this is a city[…]

Our mission aligns with ACTFL’s position on technology

The Extempore team’s mission to support language educators in the facilitation of instruction and assessment of oral skills aligns with ACTFL’s position on the role of technology in language learning. When I introduce Extempore at conferences and workshops, people often ask whether we are a stand-alone language software like Duolingo or Rosetta Stone. No, we[…]

Guest Post from TakeLessons.com – Ways to make money as a language lover

Being multilingual is an amazing skill to have. It opens up many doors from travel to friends to job opportunities. Knowing another language is also becoming increasingly valuable in today’s job market, so if you speak a foreign language you’re ahead of the game! There are many jobs available including translation or tour guiding. Tutoring[…]

Extempore finishes second in the MN Cup!

The nation’s largest statewide entrepreneurial contest is heading into the final stretch as the thirteenth annual MN Cup competition today announces the eight 2017 division winners. Extempore is prod to have finished second in the High Tech Division, and as always we are thankful for the support of our schools now more than never! Read more here.

Extempore colabora con la Conferencia De Profesores Online

Extempore se enorgullece de colaborar con la Conferencia De Profesores Online, una iniciativa de Paulino Brener (fundador del Online Teacher Summit) que consiste en una conferencia completamente online y de inscripción gratuita que se llevará a cabo del 17 al 23 de septiembre. En la misma encontraréis información y herramientas para aquellos que han pensado[…]

New Look and Feel for the Student Web Platform

This week, Extempore will be making some look and feel updates to the Student Web Experience. The new version is easier to use and has a cleaner interface that matches the overall look and feel of Extempore’s brand. Additionally, some new features are included that will make navigation easier for students. We hope you’ll enjoy[…]

Extempore moves to the Finals of the Minnesota Cup

The Minnesota Cup is the largest start-up competition in the United States. Sponsored by institutions such as 3M, Wells Fargo or the Bush Foundation, every year, the review board shifts through thousands of applications to select the start-ups with the most potential to succeed and make an impact. Extempore is proud to announce that this[…]

Learner Autonomy Can Lessen Language Anxiety

We have advocated before for establishing a classroom environment that fosters learner autonomy as a more effective way to promote language learning. One reason why autonomous learning is good for language development is that it helps reduce the anxiety related to foreign language learning. What are autonomous learning and foreign language anxiety? Autonomous learning is[…]

What Motivated Extempore?

If you have attended a demo on how to use Extempore for speaking practice in your foreign language classroom, you have probably met one of the three co-founders who are teachers (and who currently keep teaching because they love it!). You may be wondering what led us to conceive of, design, and embark in the[…]

Language Labs – Expensive and Under-used

Recently, we run a quick (and highly unscientific, we admit…) Twitter survey. We were trying to confirm something that our customers tell us all the time: that computer labs are very rarely used. They are expensive, they take up space… yet they are so cumbersome to book, they require so much time and oversight to obtain[…]

It’s More Than Speaking Practice

Besides extra speaking practice for your students and a simpler way to assess spontaneous speech, recordings completed with Extempore provide data for teachers to inform various aspects of their teaching. Here are some ideas. Use recordings as data for formative assessment. Even if you use Extempore just for extra speaking practice and not for assessing[…]

Promoting Extempore Among Your Faculty

Instructional Technologists, Department Chairs, or Language Program Coordinators are often tasked with promoting innovative teaching solutions to more effectively meet the program’s learning objectives. However influential these administrative roles may be, their success in leading and implementing curricular innovation at the program level is contingent upon motivating individual faculty to support any initiatives. Here is[…]

How do you pronounce Extempore? It depends.

When we launched Extempore, in the summer of 2016, we chose the name as a way to highlight that our app allows instructors to obtain spontaneous speech from their students. Extempore, after all, is Latin for “said without preparation”.  As you know, we were trying to solve the problem of students writing down their answers[…]

Growing oral proficiency: Five ways to help students move from intermediate to advanced level

If you teach advanced courses, you experience this phenomenon: students who can write fairly complex texts, but who still speak (if they don’t avoid speaking tasks altogether) only in the present or past tenses, with very simple sentences, and offering very few details. This may be the result of the excessive – in my opinion[…]

Building conversation skills through listening?

Yes, being a good listener is part of being a good conversational partner, even in your native language. When thinking of how to help our students to gradually build their conversation skills, we tend to focus on aspects of the classroom tasks that we design for this purpose. Those elements include the topic (the task[…]

How communicatively adequate are my students?

Communicative adequacy refers to a persons’ ability to successfully communicate in a real-life situation. Within the context of foreign language education, communicative adequacy is the primary goal of instruction: we want our students to express themselves, in speaking or writing, in a way that native speakers of the target language will understand. Communicative success in[…]

The role of vocabulary in building fluency: Making students aware

Do you remember those days when you were a beginning language learner and you became easily frustrated during speaking activities? Remember the feeling of hopelessness when you got stuck searching for words to express your thoughts? You had something great to say, but you may have remained silent more than you should have had simply[…]

What’s For Dinner?: Paired Dialogue Task Ideas

A few months ago, we posted about the benefits of student-centered paired speaking activities on Extempore. There are a ton of reasons to promote these sorts of activities in your classroom, but the most convincing one of all, I think, is that they give the teacher a snapshot of his/her students’ authentic spoken abilities at a given point.[…]

New Extempore Release (#50)

We are happy to announce a major upgrade to the way students sign up to use Extempore. Starting today: Students will be able to sign into Extempore with one step: when they click on your class link, they will be taken to a sign-up screen. After filling out the form, a username will be automatically[…]

Dear Abby, How Can I Practice the Imperative?

First things first. Your students probably have never heard of the Dear Abby advice column. Maybe you haven’t either. But that’s OK; it still provides a good context for your students to practice using the imperative mood in the language that they’re studying and it can be accomplished very easily on Extempore. I’m actually working with my[…]

10 Reasons to Learn Another Language

Sure, you’ve probably heard someone say–and maybe you’ve even said it yourself–that everyone speaks English, so what’s the point in putting a ton of effort into learning a new language? We at Extempore certainly don’t subscribe to that notion. In fact, we think learning a new language is one of the most enriching challenges that you[…]

The Challenges of Assessing Cultural Competency in the World Languages

We all know the importance of the 4 big skills in a world language class: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Encouraging the development of each one in our students brings with it a unique set of challenges, approaches, and assessment methods. (And, given our classroom time constraints, we probably also know how hard it can be[…]

Extempore, Backwards Design, and Exit Outcomes for Students

If you’re an educator these days, you’ve likely come across backwards design. As the name indicates, it’s a method of curricular design in which the instructor starts by establishing desired results for a particular chapter, unit, course, or sequence.  Then he or she works backwards to identify evidence of learning and put into place various instructional practices (i.e. activities, assignments, projects,[…]

The Year in Review

As we close 2016, we’d like to share with you the highlights of these last 12 months, which have been momentous for our young company. First and foremost, we need to thank you, our users. From those who took a leap of faith and bought a product with no track record (Boston College, Horace Mann,[…]

Using Extempore for PTE Speaking Practice

We’ve shown numerous times on our blog that Extempore is the perfect educational tool for speaking practice, especially in the world language classroom. It’s useful for anything from interactive classroom activities to extra speaking practice at home. However, because of Extempore’s unique features, which I’ll talk about below, it can also be particularly handy for someone preparing to take[…]

The Problems with World Language Presentations and How to Fix Them-Part 2

Hopefully you read our post last time about the problems that many students encounter with giving presentations in a world language classroom. I wrote a little bit about how a “speed-dating” or “marketplace” format can actually put students at ease and promote a fun, more vibrant, and more engaged classroom atmosphere on presentation day. Today,[…]

The Problems with World Language Presentations and How to Fix Them–Part 1

You’ve probably had to walk the plank before. Uh oh. Presentation time. You know, where it’s your turn to trudge up to the front of the class and start speaking in front of everyone. Maybe you’ve been assigned to talk about a national dish, or a traditional dance, or a famous artist. It’s bad enough that all[…]

Dear Diary: the Preterite and the Imperfect on Extempore

If you teach Spanish (or French, for that matter), you know how mighty the battle can be for students to learn and use correctly the two verb forms used to talk about actions in the past. Yep, I’m taking about the preterite and the imperfect. Just mentioning those two words often sends chills down the[…]

Spice up the Classroom with a Cooking Competition on Extempore!

These days you can’t turn on the TV without seeing a cooking show. Some of them are the competition type with the red-faced celebrity chef screaming at the contestants. Other cooking shows are more of the travel type where a host visits a particular restaurant to publicize the hard work of regular folks doing their[…]

The Best of the Best: A Speaking Activity on Extempore

When I was growing up, my hometown newspaper ran an informal column in which the readers themselves could write in highlighting a product or item that they used at home that had proved beneficial to their lives somehow and that everyone else should check out: powerful vacuum cleaners, super-duper TV remote controls, and all sorts[…]

Speaking Self-Reflection: It’s Not Just For Writing Anymore

If you’re a teacher, you probably already know that one of the big pushes in education in recent years has been to incorporate self-reflection into the classroom, both for students as well as for teachers themselves. On the student end of things, self-reflection has been shown to promote responsibility and total engagement in active learning, among other benefits. Formal self-reflection in[…]

Do It All On One Screen with Extempore

If you’ve been exploring our website and reading our blog, hopefully you’ve noticed how useful, convenient, and efficient Extempore is for both students and teachers. There’s a reason for that–the founders of Extempore are full-time classroom teachers, so we’re always thinking of practical ways to make our app the best that it can be for everyone. We recognize from[…]

Let’s Go to the Mall Today: Paired Dialogue Task Ideas

A few weeks ago, we posted about student-centered paired activities meant to develop speaking skills in the classroom. We mentioned how beneficial these role play or dialogue tasks can be: they foster autonomy, responsibility, creativity, peer-teaching, fun, and authentic language output. Today I wanted to give a quick example of one that I’ll certainly be using in[…]

6 Tips for Improving Pronunciation with Extempore

Imperfect or non-native-like pronunciation can often be a huge roadblock towards effective communication in a world language classroom. Many learners are highly aware of their accent and feel embarrassed by it even if they are otherwise motivated students. This pronunciation anxiety frequently leads them to reject opportunities to communicate in meaningful ways.  It’s really a shame because very few[…]

20 Fun How-To Tasks to Get Your Students Talking

Although students and teachers occupy the same space throughout much of the day, it won’t come as a surprise to anyone to hear that the two groups often have different experiences at school or even in the classroom itself. During free periods, at lunch, or after school ends, students are carrying out tasks or engaging in activities[…]

Paired role plays with Extempore: Student-centered in-class practice

If you read our blog, you’ve probably noticed that we talk a lot here about using Extempore for regular speaking practice at home as a way to reinforce skills learned in the classroom, to build fluency, and to develop confidence. Although those are undeniable benefits of our app, students and teachers can also use Extempore[…]

Ditch the Language Lab: Go Anywhere (and Everywhere) with Extempore

We live in a mobile world. We take our devices everywhere we go and do countless daily tasks on them. And increasingly, mobile technology is becoming part of daily life in education as well. So, why, when it comes to language learning, are so many of our lessons still so “non-mobile”? The language lab, in particular, despite[…]

Assigning Speaking Practice over the Summer with Extempore

If there’s anything that teachers and students can agree on, it’s that summer vacation is…what’s the word? Amazing? Phenomenal? Ecstatic? But, as we all know, there’s a price to pay.  Our language students–at any level–get more than a little rusty. Those preterit and imperfect endings get mixed up, commands get forgotten altogether. All those skills that we[…]

6 Image-based Extempore Tasks to Get Your Students Talking

We’ve all heard the cliché: a picture is worth a thousand words. But with Extempore, the expression might actually have some literal truth to it! That’s because our app allows teachers and students to use images to kickstart a discussion in the target language. Obviously, an audio prompt from a teacher most closely mimics a real-life conversation,[…]

Extempore to Present at 98th Annual AATSP Conference

For all of you Spanish and Portuguese teachers out there, we wanted to let you know that we’ll be presenting Extempore at the upcoming 98th Annual AATSP (American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese) Conference in Miami, Florida (July 8 – 11, 2016). Two of Extempore’s founders, Susana Pérez Castillejo, Ph.D. and Chantal Thornberry,[…]

Extempore featured in EPC’s Show

On June 29th, Extempore’s founders were interviewed by educational celebrity Paulino Brener for his Educators Performers Creators Show (EPCSHOW). The interview was broadcasted live through Google Hangouts and Facebook. During the show, Extempore’s cofounders Susana Perez and Carlos Seoane demoed the Extempore platform and answered questions from the host and the audience. As part of the[…]

What Makes a Day a Good Day? The Present Perfect in Spoken Practice

We have written extensively about why assessing students’ oral skills regularly makes sense (see for example our posts from Jan 3, 2016 or May 24, 2016). Let me share now one way in which I have used Extempore in the classroom to formatively assess my students’ speaking skills with a particular learning goal in mind:[…]

Three Activities to Use Extempore as a Conversation Builder

The last week of classes one of my students said that he was going to tell his AP Spanish teacher from high school about Extempore. I asked why and he explained that she had students record themselves talking about different topics in preparation for the AP Exam. He said that submitting recordings on Extempore was[…]

Breaking Down the Affective Filter and Building Confidence with Extempore

I see it every year (and sometimes, sadly, every day). The stammering, the shaking hands, the downcast eyes, the fear. For some students, the world language classroom is a place of total anxiety and dread–a place that, if possible, they’d flee from as fast as possible. And no amount of kind, encouraging words could convince[…]

Conversation Starters in Spanish from TakeLessons.com

Are you a beginning learner of Spanish? Do you just need some help getting started with a conversational partner? Or are you a teacher of beginning Spanish trying to get your students to use the language? Well, we wanted to take a moment to post a quick, handy guide to starting your conversation in Spanish, courtesy of TakeLessons,[…]

Study Abroad Spoken Journals on Extempore

A while back, I was rummaging through some personal belongings, and I stumbled across my old study abroad journal that I kept while studying in Madrid. Unsurprisingly, my reactions to its 15-year-old contents ranged from utter horror to belly laughs to nostalgia. The rediscovery of my journal got me thinking. Since my semester in Spain 15[…]

Extempore on Google Chromebooks

Perhaps you’re already using a Google Chromebook. There’s a lot to like about Chromebooks: they’re easy to use, cheap, and very secure. People are catching on to this, too, as they outpaced Macs in sales this year in the U.S. And if you’re a fan of Chromebooks, or if you’re interested in trying one, there’s good news.[…]

New Release

We are happy to announce Extempore’s new major release, which includes some highly requested new features: You can now provide audio feedback: from the “grading” tab instructors can add not only a numeric score and written comments, but also record audio comments as part of the grade (available now in Android, next week in Apple[…]

Using the Subjunctive to “Solve” Environmental Problems

Several of our blog posts have been bigger picture recommendations for how Extempore can help you more effectively and efficiently assess student learning. Well, this time, let’s try looking at how a classroom activity with a specific learning goal in mind can help improve speaking (and listening) skills. In the second semester of my high school Spanish 2[…]

Feedback for Oral Assessments in the World Languages Classroom

Why are you giving feedback on EVERYTHING? Many of us, especially new teachers, tend to hold the unfounded belief that effective teaching means extensive feedback. Yes, feedback is powerful and beneficial for learning, but not all types of feedback are created equal. In fact, research shows that some forms of feedback have no effect or[…]

Five Tips to Reduce Speaking Anxiety in the World Languages Classroom

I’ve written before about how speaking anxiety is a common phenomenon in any setting where people engage in public speaking activities, but especially in the foreign language classroom because students feel self-conscious about making errors or not making sense at all. In my previous post I wrote about what we as instructors can do. Here[…]

Eight Ways to Differentiate your Speaking Activities

There’s been a lot of talk these days in educational circles about differentiating instruction. In some ways, we world language teachers have been ahead of the curve here, partly because it’s inherent in our classrooms to some degree. In other words, we teach different skills–listening, speaking, reading, and writing–in an assortment of ways, so providing different pathways to[…]

Grading Oral Assignments in a Large Class (or Why we rely on written work to assess learning in large groups?)

Why don’t we assess speaking as frequently as we assess writing, or written grammar, or written vocabulary? Because recording students frequently is cumbersome and having all students present in class several times in a semester is not practical, even more so in large groups of 30 or more. Yet most of us would rank oral[…]

Can-Do Statements to Develop Oral Proficiency

There is much talk lately about NCSSFL-ACTFL’s Can-Do Statements and their role in measuring language proficiency.  For those of you not yet familiar with them, the Can-Do’s are checklists of “I can” statements that describe what an individual should be able to do with the language at each proficiency level (Novice, Intermediate Low, etc.).  The[…]

Using Extempore for Project-Based Learning

If you’ve been following our blog, you’ve probably noticed that we often emphasize Extempore’s unique ability to elicit spontaneous speech and provide one-to-one, student-to-teacher interaction. In this post, though, I want to highlight how Extempore can also facilitate meaningful peer-to-peer interaction, especially in classroom environments, such as those implementing project-based learning, where these interactions serve as key milestones towards language[…]

Building a Thematic Sequence of Speaking and Listening Practice on Extempore

Recently, my Spanish 2 students and I were exploring a unit based around city life. In it, we learned the names for various places in a city (restaurants, museums, parks, different types of shops, etc.),  practiced asking for and giving directions, and discussed topics such as the cost of living and the benefits and drawbacks of urban life.[…]

Deeloh Technologies and SkillFitness Announce Partnership

Minneapolis, MN (April 6, 2016) Deeloh Technologies and SkillFitness today announced the formation of a partnership to introduce the Extempore App, a product that promises to fundamentally change the way students practice and learn foreign languages using their smartphones and tablets. With seventeen million students enrolled in foreign language classes at the high school and[…]

Extempore Boosts Confidence to Speak

MALL (Mobile-Assisted Language Learning) is effective A recent review of studies testing the effectiveness of mobile devices to promote language development (Sung, Chang & Yang, 2015) shows that this type of technology integration does in fact improve learning with an effect size of .55. A crucial piece in foreign language education is the development of[…]

Extempore: Helping the Over-scheduled Teacher

Perhaps you read our recent post about Extempore being a great example of teaching technology that can help simplify the lives of some of our more over-scheduled students. With Extempore, learners can submit assignments online whenever and wherever their schedule permits, which in turn can reduce anxiety and foster student autonomy. But, of course, any good educational[…]

Extempore: Helping the Over-scheduled Student

We at Extempore have taught at several different institutions: middle schools, high schools, private colleges, large state universities, and community colleges. Because of this, we’ve seen nearly every type of student under the sun (and there are many!), but what’s common to all of these learning environments is the sense that many of our students are[…]

Using Extempore as a Window into Culture

Hopefully, if you’ve explored our site or if you’ve read our previous blog posts, you can see pretty clearly how Extempore helps your students hone their skills in and out of the world language classroom. But learning a new language isn’t just about memorizing conjugations and new vocabulary–it’s also about developing target language cultural competency. That’s part of[…]

Extempore reviewed at AppEdReview

Extempore has been reviewed by the website AppEdReview, the leading source of information about mobile learning tools. AppEdReview ranked Extempore very high in terms of design and efficiency, and offered a number classroom applications. You can read the full review here.    

Five Topics Students Like to Talk about in the Foreign Language Classroom

If there’s something we all like to talk about, it’s ourselves. Topics related to one’s own life experience are almost certainly guaranteed to spark conversation among students of all ages. Now, not all life experiences are equally suitable as conversation topics. The best are the ones for which everybody has something to say and no[…]