Teacher Lee Briggs on technology in today's classroom. Brought to you by Weekly Reader.

An Audio Conundrum

For quite some time I have used Moodle in my classrom. Moodle is a great free and open-source online classroom suite. It allows me to have a safe place for my students to share and interact with open another on the web and also hand in assignments.

One of the great tools attached to Moodle was a sound-recording plug-in called NanoGong. (Moodle? NanoGong? Who names these things?)

NanoGong let me record my students and greatly sped up the process of our thrice-yearly running records. In many ways, this was a great replacement for a stack of audiotapes.

Until the new version of Moodle axed NanoGong.

What do I do now? How do I record my students with the least amount of effort? There are a few options for recording audio in my classroom.

  1. Use Audacity, a free audio application, to record my students, then have them upload the audio via Moodle.
  2. Have the students use my iPad to record their audio on a handy app called DropVox, which not only records them, but also automatically uploads the file to the cloud.
  3. Invest in a digital audio recorder. Several options exist; most seem marketed to college students or reporters and are far too complicated for most of my students. In this case, features and lots of buttons are bad. Although I did find one that looks like an old-timey microphone and seems designed just for students.

I ended up using DropVox. Sure, it robs me of my precious tablet, but it has just one button, which is pretty student-proof. I also like not having to connect anything. The audio files are right there waiting for me.

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