Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Three Ways to Quickly Create Audio Messages for Your Blog

Adding an audio message to your classroom blog or website can be a good way to help deliver important messages to your students and their parents. Having an audio message, even if it's the same as a text announcement, increases the chances that a visitor to your blog will take notice of something important. Adding an audio message to your blog or website is not difficult to do. Here are three ways that you can add an audio message to your blog or website.

Vocaroo is a free service that allows users to create audio recordings without the need to install any software. You don't even have to create an account to use Vocaroo. All you need to provide is a microphone. I used the microphone built into my MacBook to make the recording below. To create a recording just go to Vocaroo.com, click record, grant Vocaroo access to your mic, and start talking. After completing your recording, Vocaroo gives you the choice to publish it or to scrap it and try again. Vocaroo provides the option to embed the recording anywhere. Vocaroo provides the embed code for you. You can also download your recording, just look for the download link at the bottom of the page (it's small and easily overlooked).

Audio Pal is a free service that allows you to quickly and easily record audio messages to post your blog or website. You can record your Audio Pal message by phone, through your computer's microphone, or by uploading a recording. Messages are limited to sixty seconds so you must be succinct. After you've recorded your message, Audio Pal will play it back to you. If you like the recording, keep it. If you don't like your recording, click re-record. When you have a recording with which you're happy, enter your email address and an embed code will be sent to you almost immediately.

Voki is a service that allows users to create animated audio avatars that they can embed into their wikis, blogs, and websites. Getting started using Voki might take you a little longer than using Audio Pal or Vocaroo, but you get the added benefit of having a talking avatar to draw attention to your message. For teachers interested in having their students use Voki to create messages, Voki does offer an ad-free version of their service for educators.

Panoguide -View Panoramas and Learn How to Create Them

I've previously written about some good sites for viewing panoramic images here, here, and here. I like panoramic images that can be zoomed and scrolled through because compared to standard images they provide students with a better sense of what a place really looks like.

Panoguide is another site on which users can browse through galleries geolocated on a Google Map. For students and teachers who would like to contribute panoramic images of their own to the gallery, Panoguide provides detailed directions on how to get started. Panoguide also provides user discussion forums through which you can learn even more about creating good panoramic images.

Applications for Education
Creating panoramic images of sites in their communities could be a good activity for both photography students and geography students. Specifically, I'm thinking that students at my school could create panoramic images of some of the lakes and mountain tops in our community. Panoguide could provide the direction needed to get some students and teachers on their way to doing just that.

The Thing About Twitter Is...

...you can discover a lot of good stuff on Twitter, if you know who to follow. Your definition of "good stuff" might be different from mine, but the point is the same no matter how you define "good stuff." You could be interested in learning about methods and resources for teaching mathematics or you could be interested in learning about the latest celebrity gossip, but if you don't follow the right people you won't find that good stuff. So how do you find those "right people" to follow to help you learn more about the things you have an interest in? I have some advice here and here and Scott Akerson wrote a good post about Twitter for educators here.

How much good stuff can you find? It's hard to quantify that, but I can say that a quick search of my blog's archives indicate that I've mentioned Twitter in nearly 10% of my posts since 2007. This post was inspired by one of Scott McLeod's recent posts which includes twenty good things he found on Twitter in one day.