October 28, 2008 – ¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo
 

Day: October 28, 2008

One of the highlights of the IoW conference was learning how to podcast on a Mac. Not so much for what I learned as to how I was taught and by whom.

Don’t get me wrong; it was very exciting learning how to use Garageband to podcast and great fun too. But more important to me than that was the fact that the session was delivered by four pupils from Heathfield Technology College with little or no ‘teacher’ input.

The pupils had written the presentation themselves and taught us what they had learned from Shirelands CLC, represented by Lesley Hagger-Vaughan of whom I have heard many great things! They were confident, cogent and very professional in their delivery- first of all , explaining the ‘W’s of podcasting – why/when/what/how/where before demonstrating the whole process of making a podcast and then splitting it into manageable chunks. Each stage was re-demonstrated before we were set off in small groups to try it out. And at all ties, there was a pupil at hand to check we were getting on OK, or to give us extra help if we needed it.

  • A storyboard was produced.
  • We rehearsed using an iPod with a microphone attachment.
  • We recorded using a condenser microphone, splitting the audio into manageable chucks to allow for easier editing. At this point we were encoraged to make sure that we ‘acted’ with our voices and didn’t keep it monotone!
  • Next came editing the audio chunks to eliminate pauses, create space for the intro music and ensure that it was all corectly recorded.
  • Using the ‘Jingles’ option, we added music to the audio, lowering the music so that the voice could be heard over the top of it.
  • Finally we added photographs to illustrate the podcast.
  • (My group even managed to add a Powerpoint slide ours!)


The session concluded with a showcase of the three finished podcasts – all about our visit to the Isle of Wight. I had to rush off to my round table presentation with Jo Rhys-Jones so didn’t get to download our podcast onto my memory stick so I can’t post it here, but it was very good! ;o)

Apparently, it was the first time that these pupils had done such a session but you’d never have known. They delivered clearly, supported one another, answered questions when asked and kept perfectly to their timings – other presenters weren’t so good at that – especially the ones talking about Primary MFL ;o)

And, with the Brummie accents, it was like being at home!


I attended a really interesting session on Digital voice recorders delivered by Kath Holton from Argoed High School.

She began by talking about her criteria for a good digital voice recorder –

  • high quality – recording and manufacture
  • ease of uploading eg via USB
  • good internal microphone
  • the type of file it records eg mp3 is best as can be downloaded onto pupils’ iPods and mp3 players
  • ease of access for staff and pupils
  • robust

She suggested a number of suitable DVRs and referred us to Joe’s blog to see his ideas on the subject!

She then shared how she used digital voice recorders in her MFL classes in several ways.

Firstly, she used it for pupils to practice for GCSE. Pupils could record their response to questions / their presentations for their teachers to hear and assess when convenient, and also to provide a record that could be listened to not only by the pupil, but also by others – if the pupil has given permission. In addition, teachers recorded revision material in this way. The pupil response to this was very positive as it gave them the possibility to listen/revise wherever was convenient – on their phone, iPod, or stereo etc.

A second use was to record evidence of KS3 conversations and speaking activiites. Each of the three teachers at the school have three DVRs. Pupils are given the recorder and allowed to go out inot the corridor to record their pairwork. At the end of the lesson, the teacher downloads these onto her memory stick and can listen to, assess the audio files before keeping them as evidence. Kath advised that it’s important to remind pupils to state their name at the start of the recordings to save time trying to work out who is talking.

These files can also be used as starters in the next lesson with an AfL focus – pupils discussing stars and wishes on the class focus of, say, pronunciation. And the same files can also be used by staff for moderation purposes , allowing discussion of levelling etc.

Kath then went on to talk about the storage of files in a Wetpaint wiki, thus enabling pupils and staff to upload to a single space. she had previously tried a blog but felt that the wiki was better as it allows more freedom.

The focus then moved to the use of Voki with her pupils. She has made an account but her pupils do not have one – she encourages them to respond to her Voki using the comment button and text to speech. I found this really interesting as I had not discovered this feature (you think you know all about a tool…) You can leave a comment by clicking on the comment button and choosing to use an existing Voki or make your own. Kath encourages the pupils to do this in their time, as the making of the Voki can take time!! But she has found this to be a very successful activity with pupils ‘showing off’ in a way that they may feel uncomfortable doing in class. Kath has even had Voki from parents who have wanted to join in!

Kath finished off by mentioning Quizlet – www.quizlet.com a free tool that she uses to practice vocabulary, and then sharing an anecdote about giving pupils ownership of their work – by using their sound effects as a ‘highlighter’ of key concepts in presentations, they feel that the task is personal to them.

The great news is that Joe has interviewed Kath and you too can hear what Kath has to say about DVR as well as many other things by listening to the audio and reading the notes here.
You can also catch Kath on the CILT Cymru DVD in the ICT section.

Really interesting stuff. I’ve used Audacity so far to record pupils – problematic as there is a lot of classroom noise and I really don’t like them lugging the laptops out in to the corridor. But a DVR would be a different story… wonder if ICT has spent its budget yet?? ;o)

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