Showing posts with label Synth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Synth. Show all posts

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Three Good Tools for Recording and Publishing Audio Conversations

This is an excerpt from the latest version of The Practical Ed Tech Handbook. You can get your own copy for free when you sign-up for my Practical Ed Tech Newsletter

Synth is a free service that was designed for classroom use. It has had some significant updates in 2021. Originally, Synth limited recordings to 256 seconds. Now you can record for up to 30 minutes. As before you can post your recordings for students to listen to and respond to with recordings of their own. Likewise, students can create a recording, post it, and get responses from you and their classmates. A video overview of Synth is available here.



Anchor is a simple and free platform for recording, editing, and distributing podcasts. Recording on Anchor can be as simple as just holding down the record button on your phone or on your laptop and then releasing it when you're done talking. Anchor lets you upload external audio files to include in your podcast. Finally, if you want to distribute your podcast to Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Google Podcasts, Spotify (Anchor’s parent company) or any other large podcast networks, Anchor simplifies that process for you. Watch the video here to learn how to publish a podcast through Anchor.



Flipgrid made its name as a service for teachers and students to use to record and share short videos with each other. But there were some teachers and students who preferred not to appear on camera. To remedy that, for a few years I would recommend that people just cover the webcam when recording. But now Flipgrid has an audio-only recording option. You'll find that option in the "options" menu that appears when you launch the recorder that is built into Flipgrid. See the screenshot below to locate the audio-only option in Flipgrid.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

How to Change Camera and Microphone Access Settings in Chrome

On a fairly regular basis I get questions from readers that go something like this, "I'm trying to use Flipgrid but my camera won't work. What can I do?" A variation on that question asks for help with a microphone. 

When you're trying to use a website like Flipgrid, Vocaroo, GoSynth, or any other site that you want to use to record audio or video you need to grant access to your computer's mic and camera. In Chrome you can do that in the privacy and security settings. You can access those settings by simply typing chrome://settings/privacy into your address bar. Then select "site settings" followed by "view permissions and data stored." Then search for the site that you want to adjust your settings for. Those steps are outlined in this short video



An alternate way to access these settings is to click on the "lock" icon in your browser's address bar while visiting the website on which you want to adjust camera and microphone settings. That option works the majority of the time, but not always.


This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that regularly steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin, TodayHeadline, and 711Web.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Synth Relaunches With a Renewed Focus on Asynchronous Audio Conversations

This week Synth released an updated user interface and a renewed focus on helping teachers and students engage in asynchronous audio conversations. In this post I'll provide an overview of what Synth does, what has been updated in its user interface, what's still the same, and how Synth can be used by teachers. 

What is Synth?

Synth is a free service designed for teachers and students to record spoken audio. People can listen to the audio recordings and respond with audio recordings of their own. Listeners can also respond to each other's responses. A simple example of this is a teacher starting a conversation with one audio recording about a news story then students respond with audio comments. Classmates and the teacher can then respond to those responses.

What's New in Synth?

The original version of Synth limited recordings to 256 seconds (an odd choice of time limit). The current version allows recording for up to thirty minutes. You can stop and start midstream while recording. In other words, you don't have to record everything as a stream of consciousness rambling.

In your Synth account you can now create channels. Channels in Synth let you organize your recordings according to topics, themese, or any other criteria of your choosing. You can invite people to join your channel so that they can respond to any new recording that you publish. You invite people to your channel by providing them with an channel invitation code similar to the way that Google Classroom uses invitation codes.

All responses to Synth recordings are held for moderation. That is now the default setting for all channels. Additionally, you can now restrict listening to only people who have logged into a Synth account.

What's the Same in Synth?

It is still possible to make all of your recordings public. Recordings can still be downloaded from your channel if you want to do that. The focus of Synth is still on making it easy for people to have asynchronous audio conversations and to that end Synth is still really easy to use. Watch my new video overview of Synth to see how easy it is to record and publish audio. My video provides a teacher's perspective and a student's perspective of using Synth.



Applications for Education

Swivl, the producers of Synth, published a lengthy article detailing nine ways for teachers to use Synth with students. Some of the highlights from that article include using Synth for audio exit tickets, creating audio newsletters, and hosting book talks.

My social studies teacher brain went right to using Synth for moderated discussion of current news events. I'd probably do something like assign students the job of sharing one story and their thoughts about it each week. I'd also put in a requirement to respond to a classmate's story and commentary. Then at the end of the week I might have a whole class discussion about the story that got the most comments.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Three Tools for Collecting Stories from Students and Parents

Earlier this week I hosted a webinar about using online tools to build communities. One of the topics within that webinar was collecting and publishing stories from students and their parents. To that end, there were three tools that I recommended. Those were Flipgrid, GoSynth, and Wakelet.

Flipgrid
Flipgrid was originally designed for classroom use for students to share video messages with their teachers and classmates. About a year ago Flipgrid introduced the option to invited parents to participate in conversations in Flipgrid. Inviting parents to participate in a conversation in Flipgrid can be a good way to collect short local history stories. Another good use of this feature is to host a virtual career day in which parents share information about their careers. This video shows you how to use the guest option in Flipgrid.



GoSynth
Flipgrid is great but some people don't like to put their faces in a video. In that case GoSynth is a good option to use to invite people to participate in online conversations. GoSynth is a simple podcasting tool that lets you record for about five minutes and publish your audio recording. People who listen to your recording can respond with their own recordings that get threaded below your original.



Wakelet
Wakelet makes it possible collect all kinds of files in one collaborative collection. Files can be video, audio, text, images, or links to other sources. If your students have made a multimedia book with something like Book Creator, it can be displayed on Wakelet. Wakelet also includes Flipgrid's video recording tool.


Friday, September 13, 2019

My Top 5 Tools for Social Studies Teachers and Students (Non-Google Edition)

Earlier this week I published my top five Google tools for social studies teachers and students. Recognizing that not everyone wants to use or has access to G Suite for Education accounts, here are my top five non-Google tools for social studies teachers and students. I didn't include my all-time favorite timeline tool, Timeline JS because I wanted to keep this completely free of a need for a Google account.

DocsTeach
DocsTeach is a free service provided by the U.S. National Archives. Through DocsTeach you can create online activities based upon primary source artifacts from the National Archives. Your students can complete the activities online. Don't let the fact that the service is provided by the National Archives fool you into thinking that it can only be used for U.S. History lessons. You can upload any primary source artifact that you like to your DocsTeach account to develop an online history activity. DocsTeach offers more than a dozen activity templates that you can follow to develop your primary source-based lessons.

EDpuzzle
When I taught social studies I liked to use video clips as part of current events lessons. I also liked to use excerpts from documentary videos. If you use videos in the same way, EDpuzzle is a tool that you need to try. EDpuzzle lets you add questions directly into the timeline of the video.



Synth
Conversations about historical events and current events is an important aspect of teaching social studies. Sometimes the constraints of the classroom setting (time, attendance, student dynamics) limit the amount of constructive conversation that takes place. Synth is a free platform that you can use to have students record short podcasts and then reply to each other's podcasts with audio comments of their own. Watch this video to see how it works.



WeVideo
If you want your students to make short documentary-style videos, WeVideo is hard to beat. It works on Chromebooks, Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac (though if you have a Mac, iMovie is just as good). Those who have upgraded WeVideo accounts can even use it to make green screen videos.


RWT Timeline & Sutori
Elementary school teachers who are looking for an easy way for students to create timelines that include pictures should take a look at Read Write Think's Timeline Creator. Students can use it without creating any kind of online account and it's simple to use. Watch this video to see how it works.

Middle school and high school teachers who are looking for ways for their students to create multimedia timelines would do well to try Sutori. Sutori offers a collaborative multimedia timeline tool for students. Students can work together to add pictures, text, and video to timelines that they build in Sutori. Teachers who use Clever or Google Classroom can use those rosters to add students to Sutori.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Synth Adds Podcast Moderation Features

Synth is an excellent tool for creating short podcasts. In fact, it's one of my picks for Best of the Web for the 2018-19 school year. But to call Synth a podcasting tool is a bit misleading because it is more than that. On Synth you can create threaded audio conversations in which people reply to your original podcast with audio messages of their own.

Synth has just released an update that introduces podcast moderation. This means that you can now create private podcasts and have students reply with private comments instead of having all replies be private.


Friday, March 15, 2019

Now You Can Download Your Synth Podcasts

Synth is a free podcasting tool that I've been recommending since its launch last fall. It provides a simple way to create short podcasts that people can reply to with their own audio comments. Think of it kind of like Flipgrid for audio.

Yesterday, Synth announced that you and your students can now download your recordings as MP3 files. You can download an individual recording or a series of threaded recordings.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

New Features Added to Synth - Simple Podcasting for Students

Synth is one of my favorite new ed tech tools of the 2018-19 school year. If you're familiar with what Synth does, it provides a simple way to create short podcasts that people can reply to with their own audio comments. Think of it kind of like Flipgrid for audio. You can experience a Synth podcast by listening to this overview of the service. This week Synth announced a few updates to their service that teachers and students will like.

You can now include sound effects at the beginning of a recording and or between recordings that have been connected. There are default effects that you can use and you can upload your own sounds for further customization of recordings (check out Sound Bible for free sound effects to upload to Synth).

Some of the other updates to Synth include automatic titling of recordings, improved transcription services, and students can now create podcasts independent of a teacher's account (previously, students had to make the podcasts as a part of a teacher account).



Listen to my first recording as embedded below or click here to listen and reply to it.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Four Podcasting Tutorials - From Basic to Robust

Earlier this morning I shared news about NPR's Student Podcast Challenge that starts in January. While NPR does provide some good guides for students and teachers to use to plan podcasts, those guides don't include tutorials on specific podcast recording and editing tools. If you're thinking about having students create podcasts either for NPR's contest or for any other purpose, take a look at the podcasting tools tutorial videos that I have embedded below.

Two Simple Podcasting Tools
If you're new to podcasting and want to get started as quickly as possible, I recommend trying either Anchor.fm or GoSynth. Both are very easy to use and you could be recording in less than five minutes from the time that you register on their respective sites.

GoSynth Tutorial



Anchor.fm Tutorial



Two Robust Podcasting Tools
If you use Anchor or GoSynth for a while, you'll eventually want more editing features to make your podcasts sound a bit more polished. Or perhaps you're not afraid a little steeper learning curve at the start. In either case you can't go wrong with GarageBand or Audacity.

Audacity Tutorial


GarageBand Tips


Microphones for Podcasting
You could use the internal microphone on your computer, tablet, or phone. You'll get a better sound quality if you record with an external microphone. There are two microphones that I use and recommend. The first is the Snowball ICE Microphone from Blue Designs. For a much cheaper option I use and recommend this three pack of lapel microphones for $7.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Recap is Shutting Down

Swivl has announced that they are shutting down their Recap service and replacing it with a new podcasting service called Synth. Once a competitor to Flipgrid, Recap just didn't experience the popularity that Flipgrid does.

Recap will be shut down in January of 2019. That gives you about ten weeks to find an alternative. You could start using Flipgrid. You could also try using the video features that are now included in Padlet.

 Here's an overview of how to use Flipgrid.



Here's an overview of how you can use Padlet.

Synth - Quickly Record Short, Interactive Podcasts

Synth is a new service from Swivl. Synth is a free service that you can use to record short podcast episodes that are up to 256 seconds long. When you record your episode you post it publicly for others to listen to and record spoken responses. In that way it is somewhat like VoiceThread without pictures. But Synth will automatically transcribe your spoken words and display the transcript when your recording is played.

Synth has a public gallery of recordings that people have made. You can also have your own small channel of your recordings. All recordings can be embedded into blog posts and web pages. Listen to my first recording as embedded below or click here to listen and reply to it.


You can learn more about Synth by listening to this introduction to the service.

Applications for Education
Synth was designed for use in education. In fact, the developers have a list of seven ways to use Synth education. That list includes making audio exit tickets, language practice and feedback, and presenting evidence of thinking. Check out the public gallery of Synths to listen to other teachers share their thoughts about how Synth could be used in their classrooms.

You can use Synth on your iPad, iPhone, or in the web browser on your computer.