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Monday, November 14, 2016

Four Tools for Making Audio Recordings on Chromebooks

A couple of weeks ago I was mentioned in a Tweet from someone who was looking for suggestions for tools that his students could use to create audio recordings on their Chromebooks. The following are my suggestions based on my preferences.

1. Vocaroo - this is the simplest of all of the recording tools. To record you simply go to Vocaroo.com, hit the recording button, and start talking. When you're done speaking you can download the recording as an MP3 or share it online by distributing the link assigned to your recording or by embedding it into a blog or website. With the simplicity of Vocaroo comes some limitations including the lack of an option to edit your recording. Learn more about Vocaroo in my video tutorial on it.

2. Twisted Wave - Through TwistedWave you can create and edit spoken audio recordings from scratch. Your completed tracks can be exported to Google Drive and SoundCloud. If you have existing audio tracks in your SoundCloud or Google Drive account you can also import it into TwistedWave to edit those audio tracks. TwistedWave's audio editing tools include options for fade-in, fade-out, looping, sound normalization, and pitch adjustments. The editor also includes the typical track clipping tools that you would expect to see in an audio editing tool. Learn how to use Twisted Wave by watching the tutorial on my YouTube channel.

3. SoundCloud - SoundCloud's online platform lets students record and publish from their free accounts. Recordings can be made private or public. Students can add cover images to their recordings which is nice way to provide a visual representation of what their podcasts are about. SoundCloud offers an option to insert comments into the track of a recording. That feature offers a nice way for teachers to provide their students with time-stamped feedback. Learn more about recording on SoundCloud by watching this tutorial.

4. Mic Note is a free Chrome app that allows you to create voice recordings, text notes, and image-based notes on one concise notebook page. The notes that you record with your voice can be time-stamped by clicking on your Mic Note note page while you're recording. You can also take notes without recording any audio. All notes support inclusion of images and links. The best part of Mic Note is that you can sync all of your notes to your Google Drive or Dropbox account. Mic Note is featured in this video on my YouTube channel.

A 5 Week Jump-start on G Suite for Education

Next Monday night I will be starting a new section of my popular online course Getting Going With G Suite for Education. This course is designed for folks who are new to using G Suite for Education (formerly called Google Apps for Education) in their classrooms. People often ask me for an outline of what is covered in the course. The general outline of the course is as follows.

Week 1: Google Docs & Slides.
We cover how these tools work, but more importantly we cover strategies to take advantage of the collaborative aspects of these tools.

Week 2: Google Forms & Sheets
How to create quizzes, surveys, and other data collection forms. We'll look at how to create self-grading, multimedia assessments. We'll also dive into using Google Forms and Sheets to streamline your workflow.

Week 3: Google Calendar & Mail
In this week we tackle creating and sharing calendars to keep your students and their parents informed of important dates. We'll also examine how you can use Google Calendar to let students and parents book appointments with you. Finally, we jump into Google Mail and the overlooked features that can make your email life a little easier.

Week : Google Sites
In this week we'll learn how to use Google Sites to create a classroom website and blog. We'll also learn how to use it as a classroom wiki and as a digital portfolio.

Week 5: Google Classroom
Google Classroom is covered in the last session as it ties together everything that was created in weeks 1-4.

This PracticalEdTech course starts next Monday at 7pm EST. The course costs $147. There is a discount available to subscribers to the PracticalEdTech.com newsletter.

Whenever I offer these courses some people ask why the courses aren't free. There are quite a few reasons, but two primary reasons. The fees to license GoToTraining and to host the recordings are not cheap. The other reason is that free webinars have a very low turn-out rate. I want to help you as best as I can and I can't do that if you don't attend the webinar. When you pay to register you're making a commitment to attend and pay attention on a higher level than just filling out a form and saying, "yes, I'll attend." I've experienced this first-hand as I frequently pay to attend professional development webinars myself. When I pay, I show up and I pay attention much more than if I didn't have to pay anything for the webinar.

PrepFactory Helps Students Develop SAT & ACT Strategies

PrepFactory is a popular site for SAT and ACT practice activities. This fall PrepFactory added practice activities for middle school language arts and math topics. While the practice activities on their own are useful, they're more useful if students first complete the strategies lessons in PrepFactory.

In each section of PrepFactory students have the option to complete a strategy review before attempting a series of review activities. Alternatively, students can just go to the strategy section of PrepFactory's ACT & SAT sections. In the strategy section students can work through eight modules. The strategy module begins with an overview of the ACT and SAT in general. That section includes knowledge of the purpose of the test and general strategies that can be applied to almost any other test-taking situation. After completing the general strategies section students move on and work through seven specific methods for handling the sections of the ACT and SAT exams.
To keep the strategy lessons engaging, PrepFactory uses a variety of question formats throughout each unit. Students won't be slogging through the same style of multiple choice for hours on end to complete a strategy review. Instead, each section is kept short and sweet with a mix of multiple choice, sorting, and fill-in-the-blank activities.

As your students start to think about the next ACT or SAT offering, have them try the strategy reviews in PrepFactory to prepare to do their best.

Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com