My social 9 class has spent a lot of time writing this year, if you asked them they would likely say that is all that they have done. While I have seen their writing improve immensely, it was time for a change. For their most recent assignment they were asked to record their response.
When introducing new tools I always try to give a variety or options, and leave it open to them to find their own, a short demonstration and allow time to explore the tools. The activity takes longer to complete but the exploration time is essential for students to be able to choose, for themselves, the best tool for the job.
For each of the following options I did a quick demo and gave some pros and cons for each:
- Audacity – simple recording but you need to have the program installed. I did a short demo of how to record, delete and move audio tracks around. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done and because it saves as MP3 it embedded nicely in the students Kidblog when uploaded.
- Voki – the kids love this talking avatar and this is by far the crowd favourite until they start working with it. You are at the mercy of the internet and if it is slow or glitchy you have issues. Students will need to create an account but it embeds nicely in their blog. Many students ended up using this because they could type in their responses, as they did not want to record their voice.
- Vocaroo – simple online, embeddable recording. Perfect for students to do at home as there is no software to install and no account required.
- Audioboo – students will need to create and account, but there is also an iDevice app that goes along with it.
- There is an app for that! – this is what I have on my iPad, students then explored iTunes or Android to see what they could find. Many ended up using VoiceMemo and then emailing the file to themselves to add to their blog.
If I had to do it over again I think I need to plan for more exploration time with the suggested tools. Students that used Voki or iPods spent more time on the tools and less time thinking about the assignment. It became about the tool, not about the critical thinking and crafting a persuasive oral response. On the other hand, many students also used their cell phones as a learning tool which is never a bad thing.