technology

Using Audacity and Forum to practice Oral skills

Recently I got my Pri 4 pupils to use Audacity to do recordings of themselves reading an Oral passage and Picture Discussion in preparation for their oral examinations.

I felt that it was something interesting for both the pupils and myself. Many of my pupils were very focused and serious when they recorded their voices.

Here’s the rundown on what I did.

Lesson 1 (1h):

Pupils were taught how to use Audacity to do simple recording and how to export their recordings in mp3 format (which is smaller in filesize as compared to wav)

I supplied pupils with an oral passage and a picture. They did 2 seperate recordings, one for reading and the other for picture.

Lesson 2 (1h):

I already have a class forum where each pupils have their own account. So for this lesson, all I did was to create a topic in the forum specially for Oral Practice.

Pupils each created their own thread where they uploaded their recordings. This allowed them to access their recordings at home but the main reason was for them to give their friends feedback.

After they had uploaded their recordings, I got them to pair up and go into each other’s thread to listen to their friend’s readings and post a reply what they felt was good and what could be improved.

I, too, went into their threads and gave my own comments. This allowed me to give them feedback on their oral skills without them having to come to me one by one! This is amazing as it would be impossible to have a one-to-one oral practice in class. 

Challenges

The biggest challenge was hardware problems. I spent a lot of time going around checking why microphones were not working, why there was no sound, etc. Once those problems were more or less solved, the rest of the lesson went on smoothly.

However, I was left thinking. If I face so much difficulty getting my pupils to use the microphone for recording. What would the other teachers feel? Most likely, they would give up using Audacity to record given the amount of work needed to be done. How can I better support the teachers in this area?

Go check out what my pupils have done so far… Has anyone done something similar? Do share and learn from each other…

Google Docs and Labels…

Have you ever tried out Google Docs and Labels? If you have not, I urge you to try it out. The possibilities are endless…

Labels

Have you tried using labels? If you haven’t you don’t know what you are missing! Welcome to the world of organised mail. Having problems finding old mails that you need? Then look no further than labels.

Just by labeling important emails, you can easily track go to those emails by clicking on the labels. As HOD IT, I receive tons of emails from vendors promoting their products. Although I may not need it now, it doesn’t mean I may not need it in the future. If I don’t label it, I may not know how to search for it as they all come from different vendors with different subjects. So all I do now is to group them all under the same label (I called it ICT External Scan) and viola, all emails from vendors promoting their products!

Google Docs

Now this is priceless! It is not just the fact I can store documents online where it is accessible anywhere, anytime. What’s better is the collaboration capabilities. With Google Docs, I can share documents with others and they can even update the document stored in my account. So I don’t need to keep track which is the most updated copy of the document. It will automatically be updated. You don’t even need to save, it automatically saves after you type in it!

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, the best way is to go try it for yourself.

Surveys

This is also under Google Docs, by just creating a form, you have the power of surveys in your finger-tips. The best part is the survey form can be sent directly to your colleagues’ email and they can fill in the survey form straight from their email. No more additional log-ins or going to other websites just to fill in the survey form.

Results? It is sent directly to your Google Docs all nicely collated for you. One word to describe all this, WONDERFUL!

Don’t you just love Web 2.0!

Google Docs in the class?

So far, most of the uses for Google Docs have been solely to help teachers in their admin work. Can it be used in the classroom? I haven’t really tried it out but I have an idea…

Collaborative writing – Using Google Docs, pupils can work together to on a piece of writing without having to be sitting together in the same table. Hey, they have even work together on the writing when they are all at home. With Google Docs’ ability to update in the cloud, this is a definite possibility.

Has anyone tried Google Docs in the classroom yet?