What calling software is used for lessons? What are the pros and cons of each?
LanguaTalk tutors use a range of different calling tools - Google Meet, Whereby, Skype, and Zoom. We encourage them to offer at least two of these options.
You'll see the available options on tutors' profiles, below their videos. When booking a trial or first lesson, assuming the tutor has more than one option, you'll be able to choose which calling tool you'd like to use.
The first thing to note is that Zoom and Skype require downloading, whereas Google Meet and Whereby do not - they work in your internet browser. So if you want to avoid downloading anything, you may want to choose a tutor who offers Whereby or Google Meet. But, if you think a particular tutor would be a great fit for you, don't let downloading software stop you from choosing them - it will only take a few minutes.
Zoom is not recommended unless you have a paid Zoom subscription as Zoom recently changed their free plan, forcing users to restart calls after 40 minutes. Not ideal! 🙄 If you have a paid plan, you can share your personal meeting link with your tutor. Tutors sometimes have their own paid Zoom plan, but this is very rare.
All of the video tools mentioned are easy to use and ideal for language learning. They allow you to do everything you would do in a physical classroom: speak, listen, read, write, and share learning materials.
Many tutors like to share a Google Doc, which is used to write corrections and work on exercises together (you can both edit the doc and see each other typing). This also gives you one place where you can revise everything you've covered for homework. If you use Whereby, you can even collaborate on Google Docs from within the call 😎
Other tutors write corrections directly in the chat messaging area of the calling tool. If you want to revise these afterwards, remember to copy and save these messages before the call ends (unless you use Skype, where the chat messages stay available after the call - handy!)
To start a call:
If you choose Google Meet, Whereby, or Zoom, you'll see the tutor's personal link on the My Tutors tab. You'll just need to click this to start the call. Note that Zoom and Skype require downloading beforehand, whereas Google Meet and Whereby do not - they work in your internet browser.
If you choose Skype, you'll be provided with the tutor's Skype ID on the My Tutors tab. Simply search it in Skype to find your tutor.