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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Exploring the use of TeamSpeak with your Moodle course


Hi. 
I am exploring the use of voice-casting software in Moodle, specifically TeamSpeak. Why? Simply because many Digital Native users of Moodle are teenagers with experience in Gaming and TeamSpeak. So it's just another way to engage the digital native on their own turf, so to speak.

So what exactly is TeamSpeak? TeamSpeak is proprietary voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) software that allows computer users to speak on a chat channel with fellow computer users, much like a telephone conference call. A TeamSpeak user will often wear a headset with an integrated microphone. If you are interested to know more, click here for a great introduction and review of TeamSpeak.
If anyone is interested, you can try out TeamSpeak3 at my newly created free 7-Day Trial TeamSpeak3 server.
I went here to get my free 7-day-trial TeamSpeak 3 Server. If you want to rent a TeamSpeak3 server, you can also go here.


Name: InstantTeamspeak.com Trial

Address: ts126.teamspeak3.com:7266

Number of slots (users): 10 

You will need to download the TeamSpeak client from http://www.teamspeak.com
Here's what the connection window looks like. Note the Server Address which is my free 7-day trial server address.
TS3
After you successfully connect, you will see:
TSB3
As you can see, I'm lonely, Mr. Lonely. The only user in the channel - for now.
Lastly, it is better to set your TS client to Push-To-Talk (with a hotkey like F10). 
ts4
and
TS5
That way, your microphone will only activate when you push-and-hold-down F10 to talk.
So now you have your very own 'CB radio' voicecasting software for your PC, which is TeamSpeak! Then you are good to go!
There is no TeamSpeak addon for Moodle. Well none that I know of, but there is one for Joomla. This means that you need to install the TeamSpeak client on your computer separately. The push-to-talk button and voice communication can only work if you fire up TeamSpeak program from the Start button (Windows) or from a shortcut. 
What I have managed to do is to display the status of my TeamSpeak server in my Moodle coursepage. Like so:
TS-In-Moodle

What I did was to register my TeamSpeak site at http://www.tsviewer.com/. Then I obtained the embed code from here.
Note that the first time your Moodle page loads, the TeamSpeak server status shows exactly who is online on TeamSpeak at that moment. However, the area does not update in real-time. Only when you refresh your Moodle page. 
So how can this be useful for you as a teacher or facilitator? 
Well, if by chance, a majority of your class students are teenagers who play First-Person-Perspective online multiplayer games like:
Word of Warcraft (WOW)
Insurgency
ArmA3 (Armed Assualt 3)
CounterStrike
Call Of Duty
Battlefield series
...then you can impress them by setting up a TeamSpeak server (either you rent one, make one yourself, or setup a free trial server) and by engaging them online by chatting with them. They will think that you are one mean hip dude or dudess! Seriously. Of course, the Moodle page's TeamSpeak status section will just show who is logged into your TeamSpeak server. The communication takes place entirely over the TeamSpeak client. It would be nice to voice-communicate with the students directly inside the Moodle page, but that won't happen until and unless a developer develops a TeamSpeak mod for Moodle. That is for future research and development.
Regards
Frankie Kam

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