Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Microphones I Use for Video and Audio Recordings

After my recent posts about creating classroom podcasts I've answer a bunch of emails and Tweets from readers who were looking for suggestions on microphones to use. There are two microphones that I have used for years and continue to recommend. I use a Snowball iCE microphone and an Insignia omnidirectional lapel microphone (disclosure: affiliate links).

The Snowball iCE microphone made by Blue Designs is the microphone that I have used for years to record on my Mac, Windows, and Chromebook computers. It's very easy to use the Snowball iCE just plug it in and it works. I have two of them, one of which I bring to workshops just to let people see how easy it is to plug in and use. The Snowball iCE has an MSRP of $49.99

The Insignia omnidirectional lapel microphone is the one that I use when I am recording on my phone or on my DSLR camera. Like the Snowball iCE the Insignia omnidirectional mic is easy to use. Just plug it into your phone or camera and switch it on. The prices for this microphone vary quite a bit from retailer to retailer. I've seen it as low as $49 and as high as $74.

Disclosure: the product links in this blog post are affiliate links which mean that I'll make a small commission if you purchase either product. Using the links doesn't affect the price you pay. And I only link to products that I have actually purchased myself. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

How to Include Podcast Episodes In Your Blog Posts

The folks at Edublogs were kind enough to share my list of ten classroom podcast ideas with participants in their Better Blogging With Students course as well as with all of their Twitter followers. This morning I asked the Edublogs folks if they were allowing the embedding of Anchor episodes into blog posts (Edublogs hasn't always allowed every embed code source). It turns out that they are. I made the following video to demonstrate how to embed Anchor.fm podcast episodes into your Edublogs blog posts. (This process will also work in Blogger).

Applications for Education
If you already have a classroom blog running and have people following it, include your students' podcast episodes within blog posts to make it easier for people to listen to what your students are producing. That is probably easier than trying to get parents and other blog followers to remember to visit another web address to listen to the podcast.

How to Add Voice Comments to PDFs and Word Documents

People who subscribe to the weekly Practical Ed Tech newsletter got this tip yesterday. But this is too good not to share with everyone. Kaizena, originally just a tool for voice commenting on Google Docs, can also be used to add voice comments to PDFs and Word documents. The process of using Kaizena for voice commenting on PDFs and Word documents isn't quite as streamlined as it is for Google Docs, but it's still fairly easy to do. Watch my video that is embedded below to learn how to add voice comments to PDFs and Word documents.

Applications for Education
Adding voice comments to your students' documents can be an efficient way to give them feedback on their work. Voice commenting allows you to give full, customized explanations to your students. It also helps to have students literally hear the comments in your voice as opposed to trying to interpret the tone of your written comment.

My Top 5 Choices for Making Multimedia Quizzes

Over the years I have tried and written reviews of dozens of tools that teachers can use to create multimedia quizzes. But at the end of the day there is just a handful of tools that I consistently think of when it is time to make a quiz myself. Those tools are included in the following chart. Links to video tutorials for each tool are included in the chart.

Click here if you cannot see the embedded chart.

A few points about the items in the chart:
  • Formative supports embedding media from third parties. That means that you could include an embedded audio file from a source like Vocaroo or Anchor.fm. 
  • Vizia responses land in a spreadsheet or CSV file of your choosing. 
  • If you're wondering why I didn't include Kahoot or programs like it, I put Kahoot in the category of "game" and not something I would use for an assessment that would go into my gradebook. 

Quit Social Media - Do Deep Work

Last night I watched Dr. Cal Newport's TEDx Talk titled Quit Social Media. In this thought-provoking talk Dr. Newport presents the case for quitting social media. He presents the case from the standpoint that social media fragments our attention and prevents us from doing deep work. To help people come to grips with the idea of quitting social media Dr. Newport gives rebuttals to the three most common reasons for not quitting social media. 

Applications for Education
This video could be a fantastic discussion starter in a middle school or high school classroom. And as Monique Bakken stated on Facebook, ironically, the video was a good example for her students of a professional oral essay.