So today I had this really short conversation with one of my teachers, Ross, about his COETAIL project. I hope this post encourages him to do this for his project because it’s a great idea. Ross is an EAL teacher. Earlier in the year, he put out a Vine video on FB of his kids doing something funny. I remember commenting that he should use Vine in the classroom. Today he mentioned that he was thinking about using Vine to make pronunciation videos for his EAL students and for this to be his COETAIL project. I say go for it Ross! What a great idea. I felt it was such a good idea that I had to tell the world.
Vine videos loop and are perfect for students to hear and see the word being said over and over again. Please forgive my extreme close-up.
Vine is an app that is available on most mobile devices. Logistically I think Ross will have to make all the videos using his device because not all students have smartphones or iPads. Also, it’s one of these social media sites that requires students to be at least 13 to have an account. I guess the students could always use Ross’s account and device if they were to make their own. Despite those limitations, you can embed the videos or email them which is quite handy.
Today Ross came to me with a tech question and we came up with a wonderful idea to use an app in a new way for education. He was wondering if there were any cool iPad apps that simulate an old school language lab. Not knowing exactly what a language lab was, I asked for some clarification.
When he was in school learning a foreign language, his teacher had a system where students would record themselves with headphones on. While the students all recorded and listened to themselves, the teacher could monitor and respond to their recordings by plugging into their feed. It was usually done with cassettes back in the day. How could we recreate this useful language tool with iPads or mobile devices.
As Ross and I started to think of solutions, the What’s App app came to mind. My family uses What’s App to send texts, pictures, videos and even sound clips. Students could use this to record their voice, and Ross could reply to them using a voice recording or a text. As I was digging deeper into this idea, I realized that What’s App is only available on smartphones, not iPads or iPods. This solution wouldn’t work. Ross wanted to use the iPads or iPods.
Priya was in the office and overheard the whole conversation Ross and I were having. She turned around and said “Why don’t you use the Wiber App,” in her very pretty Indian accent. The “Viber” app is just like What’s App but it even has more functionality, it’s free and it works on the iPad and iPod. I checked out their website and they even have a desktop version. This would work perfectly. Thank-you Priya and Ross for this amazing idea.
Now we just need to try it out with students. I can’t wait to share this with all our EAL and Foreign Language teachers. This could also be used for group discussions on any topic or for students to ask questions on homework. The possibilities are endless.
Trying out the Viber App on the iPad was very disappointing; it doesn’t have all the cool features that the phone version . Students would need to have a phone number to set it up. I think most of our middle schoolers have phones but maybe this would not be a good fit for everyone.
I started looking at other apps that might work for Ross’s idea. And AudioBoo I think would be a good pick; however, Ross would be unable to leave a voice comment. I think we should see how many of his students have smartphones. Maybe a work around would be for students that don’t have a phone to just email him a recording made in quicktime on their laptop.