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.