Posts Tagged ‘audio’

So, this is the first blog entry I have done so far on a specific iPad app. I think several tools I have talked about now have iPad apps (such as Fotobabble, Popplet, Diigo etc) but Morfo is specifically for the iPad and iPhone. I have to say to start with that I have yet to use many apps actively in the classroom for anything apart from presentation  as part of the lesson since my school does not have a class set of iPads for instance as I know some schools do. Some pupils I teach do have them and I have suggested several apps for them to use and I hope they do for homework and so on. I have also used some iPad apps for adding to my department VLE and for my own work.

Morfo is a free app that can be used to take a photo and then this photo can be adapted and voices recorded onto it. You can have a look at the Morfo website here: Morfo website. With the photo you take you can make the person into various animals, superheroes, carnival characters, or into various musical styles such as disco glam, goth rock and the 60s. The end creation will also dance around amusingly!

This app is probably best used with young language learners, to help them forget any nerves they have with speaking the language and enjoy making themselves or their friends look silly or funny with the different disguises that the app offers. They can either read something they have prepared, or speak off the cuff in the target language. Topics that suggest themselves immediately for this app are personal descriptions (either what they actually look like, or what they end up looking like having been ‘dressed up’ by the app, but any type of speaking presentation can be done.

Creating a Morfo is very easy. Once you have downloaded the app from the appstore, open the application. To begin with click ‘Create a New Face’ and then either choose a photo that you have already taken or click the ‘Touch here to take a picture’ button. Either way, once you have chosen a picture, you will then have to fit the photo into the Morfo frame. Adjust the head, eyes, nose and mouth appropriately so that they fit over the photo’s head, eyes, nose and mouth. You can also adapt the light of the photo if needs be. Having then clicked ‘Finish’ you will then see your photo with the frame in place. At the bottom you have the following options: Record (click hear to record a voice onto the frame), Makeup (this is where to go to add the disguise / mask, and is probably your first stop), Morf (change the face shape to fatter, elf or hero), Dance (makes the frame headbang to a choice of music) or Share (email, facebook or save the video / picture). I will generally start with clicking ‘Makeup’, then I will click ‘Costumes’ to choose from the various mask options, and then click ‘Costume’ to flick between the various masks for that genre of costume. This is probably where the time wasting will take place in the classroom!

Having picked a suitably amusing disguise, then click ‘Record’ Click the red start button to start the recording and again to finish. You do no have an unlimited time to record (half a minute or a minute I think), so ensure your pupils know this and are prepared. The chances are that they will want to record two or three or more times until they have perfected their speech, which is obviously excellent for grooving in the target language.

Having stopped the recording, you can then listen to it by clicking ‘Play’ or ‘Share’ it. This is what you will want your pupils to do so you can see and listen to their work. I would click ‘Email a Video’ and then your video will be automatically saved and then you can send it as an MP4 file.

So Morfo is a free and fun way of getting pupils to speak the target language. You could also create homework tasks for your pupils by sending them a video of you telling them what their homework is, use it as an introduction to topics perhaps, or maybe even use it as a pronunciation guide. The finished products could also be used as a listening exercise.

Useful links to help you with using Morfo.

How to use Morfo YouTube video

Morfo forum

Glogster is a ‘Publisher’ type online tool, that makes posters that have more to them than your standard Publisher documents that Microsoft Office provide. Aside to text and images, you can also add video and audio as well as much flashier graphics and other little effects. The emphasis is much more on ‘youth culture’ rather than office or work presentations in terms of the graphics and images provided, which make it attractive for pupils. The end results are eyecatching and professional looking and are relatively easy to produce, and can be either printed out (obviously not if you have included video and audio content) or viewed online.

Glogster itself is free to use. There is an educational vesion which provides a ‘safer’ environment, allowing the teacher to be able to control what their pupils can see and organise things more effectively for their classes. This is called called Glogster EDU and it does cost a subscription depending on how many accounts and licences you need. I must say that I am not wholly convinced about the need to use the EDU page as with department budgets being what they are, the money is possibly best spent elsewhere. It is worth having a look though and seeing if you feel you would get your money’s worth from it, you can take the Glogster EDU tour here that tells you what the service provides. If I was to pick one suscription version it would be single user with 50 accounts, though I am not sure I would use Glogster lots over the year.

Glogster could be used for a variety of activities. It could be presentation device perhaps to start off a lesson. It could also be a revision device, presenting a variety of resources for pupils to look over following a lesson or unit, much as I have done here with this Glog containing videos on immigration that I use with the U6th and IB sets. It could also be an online worksheet, much like Lingt offers, without the ability for pupils to record their own answers as Lingt offers. Of course, pupils can use it as well. It would be excellent for doing projects, allowing them to include videos and pictures and maybe an oral presentation with their written work. Obviously it is a nice poster creation tool, and not just for class display but also for their own revision for their rooms. There are a variety of other blogs that talk about how glogster could be employed in the classroom, here is one such: Using Glogster in the classroom

To start with, you will need to register, and when you have done this, you will be directed to your dashboard home where you can start creating your glogs and see previous ones that you have made. It will look like this:

First of all you need to decide what type of glog you want to make, and you have a few templates to give you some ideas as you can see above.  I’m going to do an information giving glog about Las Fallas, and try and include some videos and things, as an example for this blog.

Let’s use the Poster glog template to start with, as this is the one you will probably use the most, and your pupils will opt for to give them more freedom to design their glog. Once you’ve clicked on it, your poster will load and you will see this below, with a helpful arrow pointing at the buttons you wil use to add images, text, graphics, video and audio.

Let’s start by adapting the background to something more Spanish. Click on ‘Wall’ and then select from a variety of options, including an image of your own, a Glogster gallery wall, or a solid colour. Find something you like and then click ‘Use it’ to set as the background wall for yout glog.

Now I’m going to add a title to my glog, so click on ‘Text’ and again you have a wide variety of tetx bubbles that you can write in. This could be one issue by the way with pupils using Glogster; some pupils could well take ages agonising over which colours, images, fonts and so on to use, wasting valuable time when the key aim is to obviously produce accurate language. Since my glog will be about Las Fallas, I’ve managed to find a fiery text bubble! Having picked a text bubble, click ‘Use it’ and then you adapt the text as you see fit, with colours, fonts and so on, and can obviously drag the text bubble around the glog and resize it as you need, much as you would do with Publisher.

Now let’s put a Youtube video. Click on ‘Tools’ to go back to the choices for types of add ons to put onto your glog and select video. If you are looking to upload a video you have already made (perhaps from Silent Film Director – see previous blog entry, or even from GoAnimate, Dvolver etc)  you can do this, or you can link to one from Youtube, Vimeo or anywhere else on the internet. I’m using a video from Youtube which gives a nice intro to Las Fallas festival (Click here if you want to see it, Journeyman pictures incidently do a lot of nice vids about cultural events from all over the world, worth searching them.) I’ve put a random graphic of an arrow in as well.

Once you have put in a few bits and pieces like this, you will really get the idea of how it all works. Go to the Tool Menu, select what you want to add to the glog, upload or link to whatever it is, click ‘Use it’ and then adapt it in terms of colour, size or location around the Glog.

You can see my completed Glog by following this link. http://www.glogster.com/mrwatson76/las-fallas-de-valencia/g-6li1pk394c25q3hj9pepna0 It’s just a demo really. With more time, I might add links to places with more information about Las Fallas, or put in some questions to stimulate discussion.

You can obviously embed lots of the types of tools that I have talked about on my blog before. Cartoon, wordles, tagxedos, videos made with GoAnimate, toondoo, Dvolver etc etc can all be put in, so it is a good chance to show off all your abilities!

Happy Glogging!

Today I’m going to blog about Lingt. Lingt is a worksheet creation site, which enables you to embed videos onto the worksheet, as well as spoken questions for pupils to answer orally or in written form. Therefore, it is possible to assess all four language skills, reading, writing, speaking and listening on one document, which is a nifty premise, a real interactive worksheet. The best thing about it at first glance is that you can really get pupils practising the vocabulary or grammar in every way outside the classroom, hence promoting the ‘classroom outside the classroom’ idea.

To use Lingt, go to the following URL: http://lingtlanguage.com and click on Signup. After signing up, you will be taken to your homepage. As a free user of Lingt you can only create a certain number of assignments (6)which is a bit of a shame. To be able to do more, you will need to extend your membership (click on upgrade your account). The price does not seem too exorbitant if you want to upgrade to say 50 exercises (currently $39 a year), but I’m not really sure I would need to upgrade to have all the features for a $79 per year subscription. This is just something you will have to decide for yourself based on how effective you feel Lingt is for what you need it for.

I would suggest the best step now is to watch the Lingt tutorial video. Click ‘Help’ from your home screen (or click HERE to watch the tutorial to get an idea what you can do.) This is a well made Screencapture video explaining how to do everything and I strongly recommend watching it and making notes. The video goes through how to create a class, and then how to create an assignment for the classes you have created. There are a number of other useful questions answered for you on the help page.

When creating a class, you do not need to input anything apart from the class name. There is no need to input all your pupils, or even for them to signup to Lingt, as when you have created an assignment, the pupils will simply just go to your Lingt page (more of this later) and click on the relevant assignment for them. They will do the assignment online (on the web browser, before filling in their name and their email address at the end which will alert you to the fact that they have completed the assignment.

When you create your assignment you have a variety of tool buttons to create the texts. You have Voice, Text, Image and Video  (YouTube only) options for teacher prompts, and text and voice buttons for when you want pupils to answer. I have created a Prepositions and Furniture work sheet for my 3rd form. I have a video from Youtube going through the prepositions to start with, with questions in English underneath. Then I have uploaded an image of a bedroom with questions in Spanish again underneath, and then I have finally recorded some questions requiring spoken answers, before leaving one final question for a longer written response, describing their bedroom.

I have yet to test this out with the 3rd form but there appear to be a couple of risks involved with Lingt. Firstly, many schools have blocked Youtube (in my school only the 6th form can go onto Youtube) and I don’t know whether by ’embedding’ a Youtube video into your worksheet on Lingt it will allow the 3rd-5th formers to watch it, or if it will be blocked still. Secondly, pupils will need to have the ability to record their own voice (necessitating a microphone) and not all school computers or pupils will have one, and it could mean them being excluded from a task, or being able to complete it properly. Hopefully they can upload / save their recordings on Lingt – I have experienced problems with Voki and GoAnimate with uploading recordings on a browser, and I don’t know if this would be a problem with this website as well.

Hopefully these problems can be overcome without too many difficulties as the IT technicians in schools become more aware of the potential uses of Web 2.0 tools and other sites for the classroom and education generally, and unblock and allow full or timed use of them. There are of course risks with using Youtube, but the benefits are huge as well, and this should mean that a more sensible policy regarding its use can be found.

I do feel that Lingt has much to recommend it, and after the exam period I will investigate it further and see if I and the pupils experience any problems with its use. It does seem particularly useful for speaking and listening practise outside the classroom, and providing a really interactive worksheet, something I feel would appeal to a lot of students of all ages.

I would be really interested to hear from anyone who already uses Lingt regularly or who has tried it out to see what you think and if it has worked well or not. Please leave a comment below or tweet me @pedroelprofesor.

Another little tool for helping make speaking a bit more fun is Blabberize. It is a little similar to Voki (see earlier post on this) but a bit more basic perhaps. Rather than creating your own avatar from a series of cartoony figures, the difference here is that you will upload a photo from your computer, draw a mouth that will then move around when you are speaking and then either record or upload a recording. It is a very simple tool to use, requiring little practise, simply follow the instructions on the page and press the relevant buttons, and you will end up with an amusing little photo speaking in your voice.

The uses for this should be fairlyobvious too. I actually haven’t used it with a class yet, but I think I will use it with my 3rd and 4th form groups and get them to make little recordings on topics we will cover in class. I think it will be a good way to do descriptions for example – pick a photo of someone famous and they can describe them. It is a good tool for readying pupils for presentations and so on as well

It is a free tool to use, but you will need to sign up in order to save your blabberized photos. After you have finished and saved the little video, pupils will need to copy and paste the URL that they have made and email it to you. Theoretically, you could then embed them onto a webpage and share them with the class and maybe use them as a listening exercise.

 

One of the best bits about advances in IT and the internet is the chance to practise listening and speaking much more than was previously possible. With Voki and Goanimate, two tools already mentioned in this blog, pupils can upload recordings they have made in a more relaxed way. The two little tools I will introduce today, Vocaroo and Mailvu  are more direct methods of communication. Both are basically audio email tools, one simply with audio, one with audio and video.

Both are really simple little tools, but are very effective for getting your pupils to speak. I haven’t used mailvu really with classes yet, as I don’t really need to see a video of them, but I have used Vocaroo regularly for a variety of tasks. When preparing for presentation tasks for GCSE assessments, pupils have sent audio email via vocaroo of them speaking their presentations and I will vocaroo them back with corrections to pronunciation and any errors that they have made. My Upper 6th have sent me recordings of their presentations, and also to questions that I have set them both on presentations and also on their opinions on texts for the speaking and reading section. All kinds of speaking tasks can be set, but all importantly it gets your pupils speaking outside of the classoom.

With Vocaroo, simply go to http://vocaroo.com, and then click on the ‘record’ button to make your recording. Obviously make sure your computer has a mic, either internally or attached, and click ‘Allow’ on the next box that comes up. After this your recording starts and when done just press ‘stop’. You can then listen to your recording and redo it if you aren’t happy. (Pupils often repeat their recordings to get things right, which means they are practising even more!) When you are happy click ‘Click here to save’ and then either copy the URL code, embed or email. To email, just fill in the required details and addresses (note that you can send the recording to more than one person – so you could send a range of questions to a whole class for instance). You will get confirmation that you have sent the voice message when you have done so as you need to give your email address as well.

Mailvu (http://www.mailvu.com) works the same but withvideo, but with a webcam needing to be used. Here you are basically sending a video email, again with audio. Again, I haven’t really seen the need to use the video emailing, though I suppose it does give you certain opportunities to maybe show pupils which exercise to do for example. You can also get Mailvu as an iPhone app as well.

All in all, very simple to use and quick to do, barring computer problems! Luckily, I haven’t had any yet with Vocaroo with people who have their own laptops or pcs though I’m yet to use school computers with it. Hope it works easily for you as well.