It’s super-simple to set-up a private forum where students can listen and respond to others and don’t have to be online at the same time. English Language Learners can communicate with other classes around the world, like in our International Sister Classes Project or just be given a simple speaking assignment to complete.
I love its simplicity and ease of use. It’s still in Beta, so you need an invitation to join. I received mine within seconds of requesting one, though.
I’m also adding it to The Best Online Tools For Collaboration — NOT In Real Time.
It some ways it’s similar to the Vaestro Voice Channel that allows you to have, for instance, your own class “voice channel” where students can easily record messages. TVO Wikispaces has a good explanation and some examples on its site, along with a bunch of other good language-learning resources. Vaestro, though, is a bit more complicated than Grapevine.