As educators, we spend a lot of our time in the classroom teaching and modeling good communication skills to our students. Many times those examples and opportunities provide for the student to communicate in written form and submit a typewritten document or a nicely designed slide or digital product. While communicating in written form is obviously important, have you thought about also including ways to teach your students to communicate with their voices using technology to make this possible?
In a world where video, podcasting, and digital communication is becoming more prevalent, it is important that students are given learning opportunities in these areas that will teach them to communicate effectively, appropriately, and professionally. In this post, we will discuss eight tools and examples to encourage voice in the classroom and how teachers can use these tools for collaboration and feedback giving students a voicein their learning path.
Mote came on the scene in early 2020 and is a chrome extension that allows the user to add voice comments and other audio content to documents in Google, Google Classroom assignments, and Google Forms. Mote also works within Slides, Sheets, and Gmail for quick and easy recording. Many Google Slides users longed for audio capabilities for a while and Mote makes this process much more streamlined.
Mote can be used by both teachers and students in their Google profile simply by installing the extension from the Chrome Web Store or through the website. Once the extension is installed, it will show up on each of your Google Workspace apps to access. You also have the ability to open the Mote extension, itself, in order to record audio notes inside of a website you are visiting.
Use Mote to leave audible comments/feedback for students on their work and ask for audible reflection in return. This helps the students learn how to properly express themselves and communicate in a professional manner.
As you may know, Flipgrid has been around for a while and continues to remain a popular tool for audio/video collaboration in the classroom. It continues to be a free and effective way to create a discussion activity between teachers and students. By starting a conversation, you encourage students to share either by audio only or by also including video. This gives them awesome experience in the are of presenting that there may not always be ample time for in the regular schedule of a school day. Flipgrid gives students freedom to practice using their voice in a private way or through corresponding with other classmates within the program.
Many teachers use Padlet as a collaborative tool in the classroom to have students share ideas in the look of notes stuck on a bulletin board. Did you know that Padlet not only allows for notes in typewritten text, but in audio format as well? This is a great use for those end of class reflection activities or brainstorming sessions where students may be better able to explain their ideas using spoken word rather than written text.
So many times in the classroom teachers show a video and ask students to write about it. While writing is a valuable skill and should be highly encouraged, why not combine written reflections with voice annotations? As students watch an assigned video, use VideoAnt to have them annotate it with voice notes as they watch. These annotations will contribute well to class discussion, but also help with writing written reflections later. Developing students’ verbal skills can greatly contribute to better writing skills.
One of those tools that have been around a while almost before recording, audio, and remote learning became more of a trend, VoiceThread is a scaled down version of what FlipGrid allows you to do. Voice Thread allows users to upload documents, presentations, images, and video. Much like FlipGrid, it allows for the audible and video reflection of the content being discussed. It also has items available from various art galleries and libraries worldwide.
As students or the teachers get more comfortable with expressing themselves, audibly, that is a time to think about extending this into the world of podcasting. Giving students the opportunity to use their voices and creativity skills to create a podcast is a wonderful learning experience. Anchor.FM is a free, quick, and simple way to get started podcasting in the classroom. Anchor records and edits podcast episodes and can be done on various devices including phones and tablets. Podcasts allow students to use many aspects of the 4 C’s allowing t
hem to communicate with their voice but using creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration for the purpose of production.
I hope that one of these tools will peak an interest and you will give it a try in your classroom. Don’t forget to let me know if you give one of these tools a try
and send me some samples and tell me about your experience.