Sunday, April 11, 2010

Audio in ePortfolios

Mobile devices are great at capturing the moment: audio reflection, video clip, text comment. I'm not sure they are good at organizing all of the data into a coherent presentation. It would be interesting to have an app that would show me the videos that I have uploaded to YouTube, or the blog entries I have written, or the audio clips I have stored online.

Audio is the major void in the space. We can use Aviary's Myna to capture and store audio, and give a link or embed code. But I think you need a desktop computer to use that tool. I wonder if Aviary is planning an App? The Aviary tools are now available as a menu in my Firefox browser and can be embedded into GoogleApps. Of course, if the software is based on Flash, it won't work on an iPad. I have AudioBoo on my iPhone (but haven't used it yet... maybe that is the solution?).

Here is are two common situations with a need for easy audio recording and embedding:
  • ESL students need to be able to capture speaking samples, to compare their progress over time. When my daughter was teaching English at a High School in Budapest, we used their mobile phones and MP3 players to capture their speaking samples, but never went the whole way and create an ePortfolio that stored all of those speaking samples. I worked with a university in Mexico that was having students use Audacity to record their speaking samples, uploading them to a free storage site, and used Blogger to organize the links and reflections (it was an awkward process).
  • Early readers need to capture their oral reading skills. Here is a 2006 Apple paper (PDF) on Language Acquisition with the iPod. Here is Wes Fryer's 2009 blog entry on Kathy Shirley's project on Transforming Reading and Language Acquisition using iPods.
There is a need for a web-based version of using audio this way (requiring just a microphone and Internet connection). I also think we need an easy way to record reflections. Before students can easily write, they can talk. How can we manage all of these audio files in an online repository, all dated and organized for easy retrieval, and embedding into a blog or ePortfolio page? Can it be made easy enough for a Kindergarten student to manage, but still sophisticated enough for adult learners? Just dreaming... and hoping.
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Mr Wood said...

I agree audio should be a part of Eportfolios, in fact my students recorded their written stories and embedded them into their first eportfolios. An example is Vocaroo is great for this although you cannot edit online, give it a go.

Nick Rate said...

Hi Helen,
As you know I am a big supporter of the mobile potential of eportfolios. That true anytime anywhere and any device notion of capturing learning and reflection.
My current tool of choice for that is the iPhone and the Tumblr blogging app. Allows me to capture images, video and audio direct from my phone to my blog, also tag it and optionally send a tweet. (Also allows posting of text, links, quotes, and chats).
While it is not a perfect solution it is the best I have found, and works seamlessly through wifi or 3G.
What I am trying to work around now is to selectively import the feed of certain tags only into my eportfolio 'container', and currently I am trialing Netvibes for that.
there is a blog post in the making for this...
Hope you are enjoying the iPad, they have not yet made to little old NZ!

Helen Barrett said...

Thanks, Nick. I notice that the laptop version of Tumblr wants a pre-recorded audio file. Is it different on the iPhone version? I activated my Tumblr account, but haven't tried it, yet.