Friday, 26 October 2012

Audio Conferencing for Writing

Recently I began to use an app on my iPhone called Voice Memos.

My kiddies were in full blown inquiry mode and beavering away over their paragraphs for an information report. Each paragraph was drafted on a separate inquiry sheet and handed in for conferencing. They needed to follow this writing cycle;

1. research and take notes on the sub-topic
2. draft your  paragraph
3. discuss your paragraph with your research buddy and edit
4. conference with T
5. type into class Google docs account then drag into T folder for typo check
6a. research next paragraph, or
6b. retrieve T checked paragraph from Google Docs for publishing into presentation mode. the middle of all this frenzy....I got sick. Oh no!
My trusty iPhone to the rescue.

I took their stack of draft work home and read them into voice memos. I gave oral feedback as I went and saved each one by name and subheading under the 'custom' option. I then shared each one by email to my work email account.
Mine would have been called e.g. Matt P2 causes. At first it comes up with the time of the recording and you need to re-name under custom . 

Once they arrived into my in-box, I could save each attachment into a folder on my desktop as they were already correctly labeled. They come through in m4a format.

I uploaded this folder to the school server where the kiddies could access their feedback and went home to crawl back into bed, under a pile of tissues.

Under my wonderful relief teacher's supervision, they took their paragraphs, red pens and headphones to the computers to listen to their feedback and make edits.

The joy was being at home in bed and seeing their work begin to appear in the Google Docs account in real time, as they began typing up their edited paragraphs. I could then correct their typos for them from home, as soon as they were done, so that they could move onto their next step.

Now some of you reading this will be quite skeptical, I'm sure. From my point of view, here are the benefits for the students, as I see them:

1. students receive their conference privately through their headphones
2. they can pause, rewind, re-listen to the feedback while editing and even come back and listen again if  they were asked to go away and add more detail, to ensure they were on the right track.
3. the conferences can be recorded after classes are finished and multiple students can work through their feedback at the same time, the next day (depending on the number of devices you have in your room).
4. this also avoids students leaving you after a conference and immediately forgetting what they had to edit, despite the notations you made on their work :)
5. students make their own corrections, not you, that way they own it and there is a higher chance of it crossing over into their typing / publishing.
6. they listen to an informative feedback model and will hopefully develop the skills to provide feedback in a similar way, when buddy editing.
7. the inherent stress of being with the person while they critique your work, is also removed
8. it slots easily into Daily 5 with an authentic 'listening to reading' model

Would love to hear what you think so please leave a comment. Have you used anything like this in your class? How has it worked for you? Please comment below :)

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