Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Record It

Just a followup to a recent post about assessing in a materials-light spirit:

I tried the small digital recorder a couple of times and found it convenient because I can carry it in my pocket and forget about it.  However, the recordings can be long unless I remember to start and stop periodically and it takes some time to go through them, especially if you're looking for something specific. This could still be a useful tool for assessing students and for assessing myself!  I know I use some habitual words when I occasionally feel stuck.  Those are flags for moments I could examine: why was I feeling that way and what could I do if a similar situation arises in the future?

from clipartpictures.org

During this morning's Feedler session, I saw a post at Free Technology for Teachers highlighting an iPad/iPhone app called Audio Memos.  I paid for the 99 cent version because you get 15 days of free access to all of the extension features, so you can check them out.  It's really cool!  Some of the features I like (so far):

- You can set it to record in "voice activated" mode.  You set the volume threshold and a delay time.  When sounds are higher than the threshold, it will record and when sounds are below the threshold for longer than the delay time, it will stop recording.  So, if the class is writing and you're walking around helping quietly, it will (I hope) not record that portion of the lesson.

- You can put in bookmarks and name them (or not).  You can even take photos while recording and they will be attached to a bookmark at the time you took the photo.  The photos include the time of the bookmark on them.  I can see tons of ways to use this!  Snap a pic of each person you interview before you begin interviewing.  I recognize that you could just make a video, but I like that the picture is also a bookmark.

- You can save files to iCloud or Dropbox, pop them onto the app website for downloading to your computer or email them (smaller than 15Mb).

- There's a lot of very easy editing.  You can append to an existing recording or insert into it at any time (maybe insert comments at bookmarks, or after an interview).

I'll have to try it in class and see if it's worth paying 10 bucks for all of the features (you can also buy just the features you want, one feature at a time).

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