Monthly Archives: February 2016

Simple Voice Recording

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.
‒Nelson Mandela

Twenty-five anxious students sat in front of their Chromebooks waiting for the prompt, nervous about testing their Spanish speaking skills.  That’s what’s it’s all about, though!  Being able to communicate fluently with native speakers is the ultimate goal of learning a language. It takes a great deal of practice, and there isn’t enough class time for each student to speak with the teacher individually and receive feedback.

A great solution is to have students record themselves regularly and keep a portfolio of these recordings.  Students can listen to themselves, identify strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately hear their own growth.  The teacher can also have access to these recordings to monitor growth and provide feedback.

We found a simple way to do this using the online recorder Vocaroo.  It is a simple, bare-bones recorder that does not require users to create accounts.  You simply click to record, click to stop, and it gives you a link to your recording.  It is saved online for you to access with that link or you can download the file.

vocaroo

Students responded to a recorded prompt as if they were having a phone conversation, setting up a plan to get together with a friend.  When the recording was complete, students pasted the link into a shared Google Doc for Senorita Bejervold to review.  With one document per class, the recordings were all in one place, easy for her to access.  They then partnered, listened to each other’s recordings, evaluated themselves, and gave feedback to their partner.

Students used Chromebooks, which have built in microphones.  It worked surprisingly well, even with 25 students all speaking and recording at the same time.  With headsets, the quality would improve even further.

This simple tool has other applications outside of world languages.  Since the file can be downloaded, it is an easy way to record audio to add to slide shows or videos.  What other uses do you see?  Comment below!

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Stay Organized with Keep

keepWe all have different ways to stay organized, notifications on our phones, lists, post-it notes (way too many post-it notes)!  I have found Google Keep to be a helpful tool for my various lists and notes.  Keep is a Google app that is available within your school account: keep.google.com.  I keep it open in a tab all day so that I can check off tasks as I finish them.  It’s also an app on my phone so I always have it with me.

It’s simple to use.  Create a note, title it, and start writing.  You can write a note or add checkboxes to mark off tasks as you go.  Other features:

NotificationsReminder for Keep

You can set a notification based on a date and a time to be reminded, or choose a location.  When you arrive at that location, the reminder will be activated.

 

Organize and Search

When you create a note, you can give it a background color and tags to easily find it later.  You can also search your notes by keyword or filter based on a variety of things.  To keep your notes visually organized, you can drag and drop notes to exactly where you want them.

 

CollaborateKeep (1)

As with other Google services, you can share notes so that you and your team can stay on the same page.  If the information in the note gets to be too much, you can copy it to a Google Doc instead.  Just open the note and click on the overflow menu (three dots).  It gives you the option to Copy to Google Doc.  That’s it!

 

Voice Memos

With the phone app, you can take voice memos instead of typing out your note.  Tap the microphone icon at the bottom of the app and start speaking.  It will dictate your message and add a new note.

 

Give it  a try!

There are many note-taking options out there, but I have found Google Keep to be a simple and effective tool to keep myself organized.  Have you tried it out or use something else that you love?  Let everyone know in the comments!