Audio Recordings

audio-158489_640Over the last year, with the smoother integration of YouTube videos into the Blackboard system (such as Vide Everywhere, aka Record from Webcam), we have used the video features extensively and in an increasing number of courses. There are admittedly lots of advantages to taking courses online, but cultivating a robust community remains a challenge in distance education. So, using videos makes a small dent in this area, and YouTube has proven to be a fairly friendly working solution.

We haven’t done much – in part due to the current configuration of Blackboard which is not too friendly to audio files – much (or anything) with audio recordings. There are at least a couple of courses though which use some sort of interviewing and would benefit from not a video but an audio recording. So, let’s look at possible solutions that are available either for free or at a low cost, and which are versatile, have low barriers to adoption and are ready to use out of the box.

Richard Burn has written up this article (with video demos) and I invite you to browse his suggestions (some will apply to a face-to-face classroom more so than others).

Free Technology for Teachers: 5 Browser-based Tools for Creating Audio Recordings – Videos on How to Use Them.

The other article that comes again from the same source is about ways to record interviews. They both look pretty slick, and are worth looking into (may or may not be available on all mobile platforms).


Google Add-ons: MailChimp, HelloFax, EasyBib and Many More

At first, I wanted to write about Arts and Social Work, but that was quite a bit of a stretch as I was only going to tell you guys about a very cool Google Chrome extension (only works in Chrome, of course) called “Google Art Project”. It can enrich your web browsing experience by opening a beautiful piece of art every time you open a new tab (change it in options) or stick with one piece of art for the entire day, and it will change tomorrow. This will disable other extensions, like “Dayboard” for example. But then I thought that this wouldn’t meet the 500 word guidelines we have for our blog posts (ha-ha! not true!).

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Anyway, instead, I am going to offer information about Google Doc add-ons. These are special add-ons (scripts) which will increase functionality of your docs, and provide extra features not available otherwise. No trip to the Google Doc Add-ons Store needed, because below you will find some of the highlights.

So, you want the mail merge, or to fax a document, or get approval of your document or a signature, grade and organize your students’ papers, or just keep track of your references for a very formal paper with correct format EasyBib? Here is your list:

1. Doctopus – An octopus for docs! Teacher-built tool for scaffolding, managing, organizing, and assessing student projects in Google Drive. Doctopus gives teachers the ability to mass-copy (from a starter template), share, monitor student progress, and manage grading and feedback for student projects in Google Drive.

2. Merge by MailChimp

3. Letter Feed Workflows

4. Bibliography Creator (from EasyBib)

5. HelloFax

and 6. UberConference for conference calls within a Doc for up to 10 people

Find detailed descriptions and links to individual add-ons in this article 9 Useful Add-ons for Google Docs, and in this article, 7 of the Best New Add-ons.