❝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.❞
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.
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!