I have yet to access Slack. I think it is the fear of the unknown. What is it about and why should I use it? It must be useful otherwise it wouldn’t be there.
I know what you mean Ken, I was very hesitant at first too! Not about speaking Welsh with people, but unsure about the technology.
Slack is a communications platform and we have a group on there called Welsh Speaking Practice. It’s for anyone of any level who wants to practise speaking Welsh.
The chats take place within Slack and depending what device you’re using can be just audio or audio+video. There is a choice between one-to-one calls or group hangouts with up to 10 people. It’s all very friendly and welcoming. Usually people post when they’re available for a chat or when they’ll be holding hangouts and then others can join up with them. There are no ‘minimum durations’ - you can drop in and out of hangouts and the one-to-ones can be as long or as short as you can manage.
It is a bit weird at first speaking across screens, but it doesn’t take too long to get the hang of it.
It’s simply a very useful way to practice your Welsh with other learners and speakers - especially for people who don’t live in areas with plentiful opportunities to do so otherwise.
If you want to give it a go, you need to be invited into the group and to do this you just need to send an email to email@example.com with WSP in the title. I’ve seen huge improvements in the Welsh of people I’ve been chatting to over the last year, so it’s definitely worth a shot
Thank you Siaron. I am getting the Slack invites and have been viewing them with suspicion over the weeks but I will put my gregarious hat on for Slack next week and see how I do.
If perhaps it could help to put things in some sort of perspective, @ken, my problem has been the inverse of yours. This forum seems giant to me, and ancient (in places), and somwhat labyrinthine.
Slack, by contrast, is quite straightforward, and offers really easy voice connection with all the people who introduce themselves there, and a place to find or post links to group video sessions and phone calls.
It’s all about using new and strange things. I mean it’s called ‘Slack’
What does it mean?
Anyway. I’ll be doing slack next week even though I don’t quite know what it is and whether I am allowed to do it or not.
@ken if you want to check it out over the weekend and get to find your feet a bit, I’ll be popping in and out of Slack at various times today and tomorrow. If it would help, I’m happy to have a chat and run through the basics with you (doesn’t have to be in Welsh!) so that it’s not quite such a big step when you join your first proper hangout.
Thank you Siaron. I.m at awedding today but will go on Slack Sunday afternoon just to see.
@ken if I can manage to figure it out, I’m sure you can. It’s not that different to ordinary phone calls once you’re connected, I found. If you see my green button lit, give me a message/call and I’ll chat
yes, of course you can
For me, Slack at its most basic is simply a forum rather like this one with topics and areas that contain chat sections, questions to be asked/answered, and information available ( such as hang out times, Q + A times and so on ) . You can log in, and read the topics, add answers/questions/advice/tips/suggestions/and read about how others have tried/failed/succeeded etc. I consider this the Toe-Dip version of Slack.
You can then watch the hang outs and the Q+A sessions on YouTube, as they happen - the links are provided for each one about 15-30 mins before they go live. Same as watching any other YouTube thing - you aren’t involved as such, but gives an idea of how they work, and a good source of practice listening, and hearing different accents. This is the Whole Foot In, but not paddling as yet version.
You could then join a session ( again, link is provided before they start ) but you are not obliged to use either microphone, or camera, or even speak - you can be there and listen, with the option of joining in if you want. Slack Paddling.
Speaking, and taking part in the conversations, as whatever level you like/are at, is Slack Swimming. No one minds adding some stuff in English, or needing clarification of what was said, or clearing up how to say something - it isn’t always like a full flowing conversation - although it will depend on who is there at the time. The Q+A sessions are mainly conducted in English, with the discussion of the Welsh wording/phasing etc, which I find is a good way to speak Welsh, without being Rabbit In Headlights at feeling like I am having to actually speak - saying ""And when Iestyn says "Beth ddwedest ti " is that a softened version of “dwedest” he is using ? “” I am simply asking a question in English, using some Welsh. A nice easy way in to finding myself speaking actual Welsh to other people.
Good luck, and I am sure you will get on fine
Big diolch to @siaronjames and @Raf for great explanations of the benefits of Slack there. I’d never heard of it either before Aran told me that we would be using it to support learners and hold ‘hangouts’ but it’s been a definite boon for those who plunge in and use it.
The thing to remember here though is that we have TWO Slack platforms. The one Siaron is talking about is the OPEN Slack platform that anyone can join and sessions happen when participants are happy to set them up. It’s quite relaxed and you can often find people there for chats.
The other Slack platform is a CLOSED community just for those doing the SSiW Structured courses - the 6 Month course or the 6 Minute a Day course. This is the one that Raf is describing.
I’m guessing @ken, that if you’re getting invitations to join Slack, then it must be as part of a course and your invitations are for you to join the Closed one. If you would like to join the open one as well, just send an email through to admin, as Siaron described, but if you start with the closed one it’s a good place for asking questions about your course and meeting others that are doing it too.
Yes, diolch @siaronjames and @Raf, and @dee of course! .
Seeing this thread has set me thinking about possibilities for hybrid Slack/face-to-face meetups, i.e. having the opportunity to join in regular face-to-face meetups via Slack if for one reason or another you can’t make it to the cafe/pub/wherever. Do experienced Slack users (Slackonauts?? ) see any reasons why something like that wouldn’t work?
One potential drawback might be being able to use Slack to join in a face-to-face meetup might reduce the incentive to set off for the meetup cafe/pub …
One thing that may cause problems is background noise. Sometimes the sound over Slack isn’t all that good, and if the face-to-face is in, say, a pub or cafe with background noise, it could make it difficult for the person using Slack to hear properly, and also for the face-to-facers to hear what the person on Slack says (because in a ‘live’ meeting they won’t have the advantage of being able to wear headphones). Also, when everyone is in a hangout it is usually easy to see who’s talking because everyone has a ‘screen’ each, so the Slack user not being able to see everyone at the ‘live’ meeting (device cameras aren’t very wide-angle!) could maybe experience problems with that too.
Diolch Sharon - that’s an important thing to know!
Thanks for all the encouragement and input. I went to the Slack group on Sunday while no one was looking and had a look around. It doesn’t seem so bad. Quite similar to the forum here. Now onto hangouts and taking part.