hughsreviews

It’s been far too long since I managed one of these, so here comes the third in an ongoing series, where I look at new tech tools, sites and apps aimed at teachers and question the degree to which they’re worth spending time on – and the degree to which they might be of use to students. My first two posts in this series were fairly critical overviews of Snappy Words and Lingro. This time around, to avoid being seen as a grumpy old man simply out to knock, I’ve decided to focus on a site that I actually think can be of real utility – and I have tried to shed some light on how I’ve been using it myself in my teaching.

In keeping with many of the sites that are of most utility to ELT professionals, Vocaroo was not designed with anything to do with language teaching in mind, In essence, it’s simply a very user-friendly way of recording your own voice – and gives you up to five minutes of recording at any one time for free. That’s it. In the video that follows, I outline how I’ve been using it and why. Of course, there may well be a whole slew of other things that could be done – or are being done – with the site, and perhaps this post will encourage some of you out there to share your own experiences of the site.

Featured Photo Credit: Emily Barney via Compfight cc. Recolouring and text by eltjam.

5 Comments

  1. Hi Hugh,

    Thanks for the review and the suggestion for the vocabulary activity, which is great. I actually used to use Vocaroo but like Jeremy, above, I switched over to using Audacity which is also free but (in my opinion) is far superior to Vocaroo and just as easy to use.

    A variation on using audio recordings for homework which you mention is one I tried last year: I would read through drafts of extended assignments but rather than make corrections, comments or highlight errors on the text in pen, I numbered points/issues throughout the students’ scripts. I then recorded a spoken commentary, using the numbers for reference to these ‘spoken’ footnotes.

    These were all high level (B2+ – C2) students so I found it particularly useful for them as I sometimes had to talk about relatively complex or subtle points such as organisation of information (e.g. given – new), connotation and nuance etc. which would have been incredibly time-consuming to have commented on if I had been writing or alternatively, ambiguous for the student if I’d rushed it). When one of these points was relevant to the class, not just one student, I would ask that student (after feedback had been received) to give a short summary of the issue to the others.

    Another thing about Audacity which is very welcome is the editing facility. I didn’t have much call to use it but it does mean that it’s not really a problem if you fluff something or suddenly forget what you are trying to say (or as in my case, inadvertently drop the odd f-bomb) – things which I think anyone who has had to record their own out of office phone message or leave a lengthy voicemail may well recognise!

  2. Awesome resource. I’ve had my tech-savvy students send me their recordings, but this makes it easy for anyone:)

    As a next step, I like to use Audacity. It’s a free application that let’s you edit sound files. It has tons of features, but all I do is cut, copy, and paste sound clips. It’s easy for me to create a new file with the student’s recording and my version.

    For example, a student might record “I will be there after I call him.” The focus would be on linking “there and after” (rafter) and “call and him” (lim). I would then take their recording and put it in Audacity. I’d also record my version and put it in Audacity. Then, I’d cut up and paste the versions so that the result is something like this.

    (Capital letters is me. Small letters is the student.)

    i will I WILL i will I WILL i will I WILL…be there after BE THERE AFTER be there after BE THERE AFTER be there after BE THERE AFTER…i call him I CALL HIM i call him I CALL HIM i call him I CALL HIM

  3. Awesome resource. I’ve had my tech-savvy students send me their recordings, but this makes it easy for anyone:)

    As a next step, I like to use Audacity. It’s a free application that let’s you edit sound files. It has tons of features, but all I do is cut, copy, and paste sound clips. It’s easy for me to create a new file with the student’s recording and my version.

    For example, a student might record “I will be there after I call him.” The focus would be on linking “there and after” (rafter) and “call and him” (lim). I would then take their recording and put it in Audacity. I’d also record my version and put it in Audacity. Then, I’d cut up and paste the versions so that the result is something like this.

    (Capital letters is me. Small letters is the student.)

    i will I WILL i will I WILL i will I WILL…be there after BE THERE AFTER be there after BE THERE AFTER be there after BE THERE AFTER…i call him I CALL HIM i call him I CALL HIM i call him I CALL HIM

  4. Thanks a million – what a wonderful, time-saving way to deal with all those piles of vocab notes that have been piling up. I’m definitely trying this as of tomorrow. 90% of my students need speaking and listening, so sending them away with voacb lists (even when they’ve been made into flashcards) has always been a bugbear of mine!
    Tried audio emails with mailvu recently, but had some bugs. This one looks basic – sometimes basic is gooood!

  5. HI Hugh,

    Nice presentation, I listened to this this morning and promptly went and inflicted it on my students. A lovely easy to use website that has so much potential.
    As all my students have smart phones I opted for a variation on what you presented here, I split my students into pairs but separated them around the building. I got them to send voice messages to each other by sending the links by their face books so they could listen to the recorded messages. One student was given some information that they had to communicate to the other, actually it was a taboo card. but next time I will directly link it to the lesson vocabulary as you do.
    I wanted to play with the concept a bit and see what the potential was.

    Nice site and I will definitely be investigating it’s potential more fully over the next few weeks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

TwitterLinkedInFacebook

Other related posts

See all

New decade, new Jam!

My English learning experience – 6 lessons from a millennial learner

What makes an effective learning experience? 3 key principles from the science of adult learning