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For the past few months, language teachers everywhere have been seeking the best way to observe their students engaging in interpersonal communication. But solutions have been elusive. And for students, it hasn’t been easier. Navigating multiple tech tools, managing microphone and video settings, all while actually talking to one another in the TL has created an unnecessary hassle. We heard these concerns, we knew what was needed, and we got to work. And not too long ago we were thrilled to announce the launch of Extempore Sync: interpersonal conversations for up to four students, recorded and available for instructor review and scoring.
What is Extempore Sync?
As you can see in the video above, on Extempore Sync instructors create tasks that groups of up to four students complete in rooms on the platform. To start the group, students first enter a waiting room area, and when everyone’s ready, students can join a room where the recording begins automatically. Students then converse with one another to complete the task and, when they are finished, submit their response for instructor feedback. It’s that simple!
What happens after students submit?
After a few minutes, submitted student videos will process and will be ready for teacher review. Instructors can access these and leave feedback just as they would a submission for any other assignment on Extempore.
Some free importable interpersonal tasks to get you started
The arrival of Extempore Sync has us all syncing (heh, heh) up our new ideas on how instructors can use it in the classroom. Not sure where to start? Here are two example group tasks to get your students talking.
Example 1 — Weekend Plans (audio + image prompt)
Assessment description: A friend of yours, Xiaowang, has asked you and your friend (ahem, your partner) to make plans for this weekend in Shanghai. You have some places in mind, but you wanted to check with your friend first about the weather forecast and what you all will be willing to do.
Task: First, listen to Xiaowang’s message about what he would like to do this weekend. Then, look at the weather forecast with your friend and determine an appropriate date and location to go to. Be mindful of Xiaowang’s message, noting when he is available and what he likes to do.
Example 2 — Story Reading and Acting
Assessment description: You’ve been wanting to practice your acting skills with your classmates, and now’s your chance! Read the script out loud, playing your role. Be sure to use emotion and whatever else you need to do to convey meaning!
Task: First, choose between characters A and B. Then, read your characters part of the script out loud, using emotion / body language / anything else to convey meaning.
Sample script (feel free to change this into whatever your students are learning) 😄
A: And then he said to me, “I can’t make it tonight.”
B: You’re kidding me!
A: I’m totally serious! I can’t believe this is happening. On today of all days!
B: Maybe things will get better. After all, it’s still the morning. There’s plenty of time left in the day.
A: Yeah, but…I was hoping for something more, you know?
B: I know, I know. Things will get better, I promise.
Past Webinars on Extempore Sync
When we first released Sync back in March, we hosted two webinars on integrating Sync into language classrooms. You can access the recorded versions below.
Extempore Sync is currently available for Google Chrome browsers, but more adaptability (including usage on mobile devices) will be added soon. For troubleshooting with Extempore Sync, visit this help article. For helping students connect, see this article. For any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.