Sunday, April 11, 2010
Audio in ePortfolios
Audio is the major void in the space. We can use Aviary's Myna to capture and store audio, and give a link or embed code. But I think you need a desktop computer to use that tool. I wonder if Aviary is planning an App? The Aviary tools are now available as a menu in my Firefox browser and can be embedded into GoogleApps. Of course, if the software is based on Flash, it won't work on an iPad. I have AudioBoo on my iPhone (but haven't used it yet... maybe that is the solution?).
Here is are two common situations with a need for easy audio recording and embedding:
- ESL students need to be able to capture speaking samples, to compare their progress over time. When my daughter was teaching English at a High School in Budapest, we used their mobile phones and MP3 players to capture their speaking samples, but never went the whole way and create an ePortfolio that stored all of those speaking samples. I worked with a university in Mexico that was having students use Audacity to record their speaking samples, uploading them to a free storage site, and used Blogger to organize the links and reflections (it was an awkward process).
- Early readers need to capture their oral reading skills. Here is a 2006 Apple paper (PDF) on Language Acquisition with the iPod. Here is Wes Fryer's 2009 blog entry on Kathy Shirley's project on Transforming Reading and Language Acquisition using iPods.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
My Wish List for Audio in Google Docs
I realize there is the potential for copyright abuse with MP3s, but I want to be able to create audio narrations to go along with the other artifacts in a portfolio. Students learning to speak another language need an easy way to capture spoken evidence of their learning. Of course, the user interface is also an issue, since it is usually young children who can talk about their learning before they can write about it... or collect reading samples, now sometimes done with iPods... so it needs to be easy enough for elementary teachers and students to use.
Even better, a built-in tool like Myna would be terrific, that would allow someone to record a narration that would get embedded on a page! The first e-portfolio tool that I ever used (the Grady Profile originally written in Hypercard) had the built-in ability to record audio (specifically reading samples). That was 1991! I don't know of any web-based e-portfolio tool with the ability to capture audio directly (rather than uploading a pre-recorded audio file). Right now, we often use Audacity for recording to our computers, exporting the audio clip to MP3, uploading/embedding the clip into whatever e-portfolio system we are using... a lot of steps. As we move to cloud computing, we need more simple cloud-based tools that don't rely on desktop applications.
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