Thursday, May 9, 2013

Voicethread-Voice, Words, Visual 影音文字

There are many online recording application/devices, GoogleVoice, AudioDropBox by CLEAR (Center for Language Education and Research at Michigan State University, p.s.: CLEAR has many other awesome rich internet application as well), and etc. They all have their own pros and cons; fairly speaking, most of them are easy to use.  Amongst these tools, Voicethread is one of my favorite and most suitable for online community building, in my opinion.

Simply put, Voicethread is a multi-media online interaction platform.  It is extremely useful for language classroom.  You can upload both images and videos.  Then create a class and invite students to comment on your Voicethread post, where all students have access to each other's comments.  Students can type their comments (Chinese characters can be displayed here), record audio-only comments, and record video comments.  Uploading images or your own video, for example, your own talking head, is quite neat.  What really peaks my interest is that students can also listen to and watch others' input.  Each student can customize his/her own account, for example, upload a picture of Sponge Bob as his/her profile picture, which can be a biggie for teenagers.  In short, it gives students a feeling of being a member of a dynamic group; plus, it is on the Internet.  

The free account only allows you to upload 5 posts.  However, the $79 one-year single-educator membership let you create 50 students' accounts and upload unlimited posts.  Apparently using the paid account, you also have phone commenting minutes and a customized web address.  But I haven't used these functions.  I will explore more and write a follow-up post, just to show how much I love this tool.

I feel the most exciting piece of all functions is Video Doodle.  After uploading the video, you can use the webcam icon and record a video comment while a pen will also appear on your screen.  Now you can pause the video or let the video play, use the pen icon to point/circle/underline/other motions, and record your comment in real time.  This is another good tool to give instructions or have students comment on specific details in the visual.  Also, it is slightly different from other tools and that's why it is fun.

语言教学的大方向是以实用为主,所以老师们都努力培养学生的开口能力。在非沉浸式的语境下,学生常常只能在课堂上练习口语。各种网络的录音系统给学生提供了课堂内外的练习机会。 GoogleVoice, 密歇根州立大学语言教学研究中心的AudioDropBox等等都是不错的网络录音系统。

不过要建立语言学习的学生群落,本人最喜欢的一款还是Voicethread。老师可以上传图片和录影, 然后组建班级群落,邀请学生来点评。学生可以打字写评语,也可以单纯录音评论,还可以录像评论。 在同一个班级群落的同学也能看见别的同学的评论。 学生还可以自己设置帐号,比如添加有趣的头像。这些特色都让学生觉得Voicethread生动有趣,也有了学习语言的集体气氛。



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