At our PD on Friday, I had the pleasure of working with our World Language department. When it comes to integrating tech in their classes, they have been risk takers; and even better, collaborative risk takers. We’ve witnessed some amazing projects and classroom exercises over the past 2 years which have utilized various apps on the iPad.
They asked me to discuss tools which would allow them to hear their students speak more, which they have found to be an area our students need more work. The plan was to discuss creating group chats in Voxer & WeChat. Only two people in the department had even heard of these tools, so I wasn’t sure what to expect (we only had 1/2 hour for this discussion).
Voxer & WeChat
These are both Social Media apps that essentially give users the ability to chat by leaving voice messages. Users can leave typed messages as well in the chat. The key factor for using these tools in the classroom, or professional development, is that you can create Group Chats. After students have created their accounts on Voxer or We Chat, students can submit their username through a Google Form. The teacher can then copy and paste usernames to the class group. The teacher can then push a question or prompt out through Schoology (or any other LMS), and students would respond within the group chat in Voxer or WeChat. This way, the teacher only has one place to go, doesn’t need to download any files, and responses for the entire class are within one group chat. If a student has a question, they can ask it within the chat, and other students or the teacher would be able to respond.
The Recap App allows teachers to create a question, push it to all their students, and have each student record a video explaining their answer. This ability to collect student reflections throughout the learning process is key for teachers to truly understand where students are in the learning process. The app allows teachers to set a maximum time limit for the student responses, and requires no uploading of video for the students. When the students complete their video, they tap the submit button. Once the video is submitted, the teacher can scroll through all videos within their class. There is no need for uploading or downloading video on the teacher side.
The Tellagami app allows students to record their response to a prompt, without using video of themselves. They can create their own avatar (limited choices in the free version), change the background, and record a voice message of up to 90 seconds (30 seconds in the free version). The video can then be saved to the camera roll and submitted to the teacher through Google Drive, Classroom, or your choice of Learning Management Systems. By using this app, the students are less apprehensive about recording themselves because they are ‘hiding’ behind the visual of an avatar. The downside to this app is that the video files must be uploaded and downloaded which may be more difficult for younger students.
Adobe Spark offers 3 different tools (Video, Post, and Pages), but the ability to create an online video for free with student voice-over is a tool and advantage that we’ve never had before. The visuals available in Post & Pages is great, but to hear them through Video is something we need to take advantage about.
If you would like to share other tools or ideas to give our students ‘voice’ in our classrooms, please feel free to comment below.