Wednesday, May 14, 2014

English Practice Hangouts

On Google+, my Profile says that I'm the originator of the English Practice Hangouts.   Well, not too many people know what that means.

The people shown below are from, respectively, Morocco, Spain, Latvia (2), Russia, Algeria, and Brazil (3). Here I am hosting a Google+ Hangout to help people practice speaking English.  The hangouts are usually 'full' meaning there are 10 people at one time.  I host 3 one-hour hangouts per week.

I was a beta tester for Google+ and started using it the last week of July, 2011.  When I learned to use Hangouts, a video-conference app that that allows up to 10 people to meet at the same time, I was very excited.  I wondered how I could use it to its best potential, because Google has a habit of just throwing great tools to the masses and seeing what we come up with.  

I thought Hangouts would be a great tool to practice conversation for people who are learning a language.  Many people study languages, especially English, but rarely get a chance to speak with a native speaker.  In fact, that's the most challenging part about learning another language if you are not in a country that speaks that language.

I started the English Practice Hangouts on August 5, 2011 and since I was spending a lot of my free time on hangouts with people all over the world, let them know about it.  Very quickly I was getting people coming to the Hangouts on a regular basis.  Since then I've met at least a couple of thousand people from every corner of the world.  Most can read, write, surf the web and work in English but have little or no opportunity to practice speaking.  Being able to communicate using the universal language of business, science, medicine, etc. increases their economic opportunity.

Here is the first and only Hangout I recorded.  People tend to be shy about making mistakes, so I let these repeat visitors know we were recording and they agreed.

The Page has grown into a number of language Pages and a thriving Language Community.  Stay tuned, more coming up!