Thursday, August 9, 2012

Vocaroo: An Easy Podcasting Tool

I wrote about Vocaroo on my blog, The Teacher Garden, a little over a year ago. But yesterday, I re-discovered the website and realized it had gotten even better. I wanted to take some time today to talk about the features of Vocaroo and how you can use it in your classroom.

If you're not familiar with podcasting, you can click HERE to read this post from my blog about what it is, the benefits, and some ways to use it. But, to summarize, a podcast is an audio file that other users can listen to from the internet or their mp3 player.

As a teacher, you can use podcasting in several ways:

  • Allow slower thinkers to pause your instructions, comprehend, and resume listening. 
  • Allow students who have been absent to listen to instructions, agenda, etc. from home {or from their desks during free time after they get back to school}. 
  • Post a class "radio show" that acts almost like a newsletter; students could talk about upcoming events, what they've been doing in the classroom, etc. 
  • Allow students to present information about a topic, explain a project they just did, record a debate, etc. to show parents and other community members what they've been doing. 
  • Record instructions about a project or assignment so that students who forget can re-listen without your having to repeat yourself multiple times. 
It's just a neat way to incorporate some audio files into your classroom for those auditory learners.

Vocraoo is super-simple and easy to use. It's entire home page looks like this:

If you can see the recording screen on the home page of Vocaroo's website, all you need is either a built-in microphone on your computer, or a headset with a microphone like this, in order to create your recording. Just follow the super-simple, on-screen instructions ("Click to record" ... "Listen or Re-Record" ... "Click to save") to finish your podcast.

When you get your audio file juuuuuust right, you can share it. Vocaroo offers several ways to share your file with the world:
  • embed the audio file onto a website, using an HTML code
  • e-mail a link to the recording to whomever you wish
  • share on a number of social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter
  • link the audio file to a QR code {users scan the QR code and hear the file play on their smartphone}
  • download the audio file in a handful of formats, including mp3 {put the mp3 file on your computer's iTunes, and then place it on your iPod for listening on-the-go}
Keep in mind that Vocaroo does not offer memberships to its site. I like this because it means that you don't have to register to use their site, and you don't have to remember yet another username and password. However, once you click away from the "sharing your file" page, the recording is gone forever; Vocaroo does not save it anywhere for you. So be sure to download the file or save a link to it if you think you'll need access to your recording again.

The sound quality depends on your microphone and the amount of background noise in the recording room, but it sounds pretty clear when I record {puh-lease don't make fun of my dorky recording below! :) }:

If you read one of my past Technology Tailgate posts over using QR codes in the classroom, then you know I'm a little QR-crazy right now. :) So I'm particularly excited about Vocaroo's ability to link your audio file to a QR code instantaneously {all you have you to do is right click to save the QR code image}. Although your students would need access to an iPod Touch/iPad or smartphone in order to scan the codes, I think there are some cool ways to incorporate this into your classroom. Specifically, I'm thinking of using a QR code linked to an audio file in these places:
  • at the top of assignments, rubrics, or worksheets to explain again what you expect and/or give examples. 
  • at centers or stations in your classroom so that students who forget what to do can hear your instructions again {without asking}.
  • on book pages with particularly hard vocabulary words, so students can hear you pronouncing the words {and maybe even give a definition}.
  • on the backs of books or at the end of chapters so that you could ask students review questions for discussion {perhaps within a book club or small book group}.
  • on the door on Open House night, to welcome visitors.
  • on your BTS newsletter so that students can hear your voice and a warm welcome from you before ever meeting you.
  • on substitute assignments so that you can remind your students of expectations, how to do the work you've left, and when you'll be back. 

You can see my ideas in more detail by reading the original Vocaroo post on my blog; just click HERE.

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  1. Thanks for sharing this! For my Masters program, I have to record 48 different podcasts for teachers to learn from so I'll actually be using this, too! :)

    Miss V's Busy Bees

  2. I love Vocaroo especially for QR codes = )

  3. I have never used Vocaroo before but I too am obsessed with QR codes so I will definitely check this site out! It seems very easy to use!!!