How to set up your calling tools
In our Getting Started guide, we recommended you provide students with a choice from at least two of: Skype, Google Meet, Whereby and Zoom. Some students have a strong preference for one, so by providing multiple options you'll maximise bookings. And also have a backup if one is not working well!
Google Meet and Whereby take seconds to set up and and are easier for students as they do not need to download anything. So we recommend adding at least one of these.
Under Settings > My Information, you'll be able to add the tools you wish to make available. Formatting your options correctly is important to ensure the student can connect with you. Below are details for each tool, plus some helpful tips:
2) Google Meet
Go to this page to sign up. Once you have created an account, select the Free Plan. You'll then be prompted to create your Room Name, e.g. Alex Languatalk. Click 'Request Permissions' to give Whereby access to your webcam/microphone. You will see your link at the top. Double click to select it and copy. Go to Settings in LanguaTalk, paste the full link under Whereby and remember to save.
Pros: 1) Easy to use 2) No download required for students 3) You can collaborate on a Google Doc from directly within the call (see below for how to do this). 4) You can also watch YouTube videos and use a whiteboard together.
Cons: There is no option to download the chat messages. So, if you decide to use the chat, remind the student to select all messages and copy them somewhere before you end the call. But this is not recommended as it's difficult. A much better solution is to create a Google Doc for each student (or share a Google Drive folder where you can add multiple docs). You can then write corrections in the doc and add exercises there too. This gives the student one place where they can revise everything you've covered.
Once you have created a Google Doc for your student, share the link during the trial or first lesson. To share a doc, click File > Share. Under 'Get Link', select 'Change to anyone with the link'. Make sure you change access to 'Editor' so they can also edit the doc. Then copy the link and share it with your student.
In Whereby, you can open a Google Doc within a call: click Share > Google Drive. Copy the share link from the Google Doc and you'll see it!
As an alternative to using this feature, you can view each other whilst Google Docs (or any other tab) is open by both turning on 'Picture-in-picture' (click the button next to Settings in the top right).
If you prefer to save time, during the trial you could just use the chat, and tell them you will share a Google Doc for corrections and exercises during lessons.
Note, if you do not have a Gmail account, you should create one before following the steps above.
You will use this specific link for every call - do not create a new meeting link in Gmail every time as the student will be using the one you saved in LanguaTalk. The link should not expire as long as you create it in the way specified above, and 365 days do not pass without you using it.
Pros: 1) Students will not need to download anything. 2) For certain languages, you can see if your student would like automatic captions, allowing them to read what you say (to turn this on, click the 'cc' button during a call. Then change the language via Settings > Captions).
Cons: There is no option to download the chat messages. So, if you decide to use the chat, remind the student to select all messages and copy them somewhere before you end the call. But this is not recommended as it's difficult. A much better solution is to create a Google Doc for each student (or share a Google Drive folder where you can add multiple docs). See here for instructions on how to share a Google Doc with editing access.
1) Download and create an account if you don't have one. 2) Find your Skype Name in your Skype account under Settings. Sometimes the Name/ID is very long, making it hard for students to enter. You can also use the email attached to your Skype account, and students can find you that way. 3) Copy your Skype Name/ID/email and paste it under Skype in your LanguaTalk settings. Remember to save. Do not add a link instead as we advise students on how to find you on Skype and adding a link here therefore can confuse students.
If you choose to use your email in the Skype field instead of your ID, make sure you use the one attached to your Skype account, and make sure it's verified or your profile won't show up when people search for it. To verify it, go to Settings > Account & Profile. Click Your Profile and you'll be directed to your Skype account in your internet browser. If your email is not verified, you'll see an option to do this.
Pros: 1) For students who already have Skype, they sometimes prefer it as they know it and can easily write to their tutor. 2) The chat messages are also easy for students to revise after lessons (whereas with the other tools, the chat messages aren't saved).
Cons: 1) If students do not already have Skype, they'll need to download it. 2) It's not as modern as other tools.
We tell students that Zoom is not recommended (unless they have a paid plan) as it recently changed free plans so that calls need to be restarted after 40 minutes. This wastes time that students pay for. So we don't expect Zoom to be chosen often anymore, unless of course the student has a paid plan and can therefore host the calls themselves.
If you have a paid Zoom plan and you make Zoom the only option in your LanguaTalk settings, the student will not be asked to choose a tool. So they won't see Zoom labelled as 'not recommended.' If you also make another tool available and they request it, when you meet for the trial, you can tell them that you have a paid Zoom account, so you recommend using that for lessons. They will see on the My Tutors tab all the options you make available for calling. Even if you prefer Zoom, making Whereby or Meet available is a good idea as unlike Zoom, there is no download required.
If you wish to make Zoom available, students will use your personal link, which will allow them to join the call even if they don't have an account. To find your link, after creating your account here, go to https://zoom.us/profile and go to 'personal meeting ID'. To reveal the full link without the stars, click the little symbol to the right of the numbers. Then copy the full link ((starting with 'https') and paste it under Settings in LanguaTalk.
Zoom is a bit more complicated than the other options, so if you decide to use it, make sure you understand how to open the chat, share your screen and send files. Some tips:
1. Configure Zoom so every time you start a meeting it's at your Personal Meeting ID. Under settings, turn on Use Personal Meeting ID (PMI) when starting/scheduling meetings.
2. Turn on 'Waiting room' to ensure you have to accept students before they can join the call. This is important for security and will also prevent one student joining when you're talking to another.
3. Turn on 'Auto saving chats' so that you do not lose the chat history when the meeting ends and can send it to the student (most students will want to have access to their new vocab / corrections).