Friday, October 3, 2014

Vocaroo {A New and Simple Way to Record Audio in your Classroom}

I am so sorry I haven't posted in almost a month!  This school year is going well, but with all the new requirements being rolled out with Common Core and our school's mandates (which I'm actually enjoying and fully supportive of) life has become quite overwhelming.  It's tiring to keep up with it all.  But this is how I roll...I like to take a new idea, strategy, or mandate and try to implement it immediately and as best as I can.  Is anyone else like this, even though it tires you out?

Speaking of Common Core and trying to get better at something, this brings me to our new RI.5.5 (Informational Text) standard, which is all about text structure.  This one was quite tricky for our team because our adopted curriculum doesn't have enough material for it.  So, we consulted BetterLesson.  Have you heard of this site or have you used it?  We found a seriously nice set of lessons from one of their master teachers here.

Through this find, I was able to read up on a new Web 2.0 tool...or maybe it isn't new except to me. Please tell me I am not the last one on the planet to find out about Vocaroo!

Any who, the master teacher mentioned using this website for workstations.  She had her students read a Reader's Theater script about text structure and record their reading for a fluency check.  I decided to give it a try since we have 3 iMac desktops in our classroom.  My students were all about being able to use technology and didn't mind having to read to a computer at all!  Anything to get them excited about something that might not be all that exciting right?

Since it's a Web 2.0 Tool, it is completely free and pretty easy to use.  It took a quick 5-minute intro to show my students how to use it and they didn't need any help once they started.

Once they press record (see the screenshot from above), they press "Stop" and get this screen you see below.  They can listen to their recording to make sure it worked, the volume is fine, or to possibly redo it.

Once they are happy with their recording, they click "Click here to save" right there at the bottom of the screen (see above).  

For my students, I set up a Google Form so they could copy and paste the link you see above.  It was super easy to set up and my kids were able to send their links easily and quickly.  This, again, only took a couple minutes to show them and they took off with it.

I am able to now click on the links in the "Responses" Google Form document and listen in on their fluency.  Easy peasy!!  Did I mention it is free?  Did I also mention it gets students' attention...and keeps it?!

So, what do you think?  Will you be trying Vocaroo in your classroom?  How do you think you could implement it?  I'd love to hear some other ideas!