Adventures in Verbal Feedback

On November 4, 2009, in educational technology, by Leigh Graves Wolf

Voice Memo app

I’m always experimenting with non-text ways to give feedback.  (I’m more comfortable giving verbal feedback.)  Time is always an issue when we’re trying to give students authentic and meaningful assessment.

This week I have been experimenting with finding a quick way to provide audio based feedback to students. I love using Jing for more thorough feedback — but I was looking for something a little less process intensive.  (Jing is awesome for allowing you to comment and “point” while they’re following along with you – but for something quick there is the processing, uploading and then sending the link time which quickly adds up when you have 40 students!)

First, I tried the iPhone app Tweetmic – it was working perfectly in my experiments last night (for 2 recordings) then it conked out. I was so hopeful that this tool would work out because it was SO quick and easy.  I simply launched the app on my iPhone and the link posted a permalink immediately to Twitter, which I could then forward to students. Luckily, as I started the feedback session, I went back to double check the recordings — 4 in a row did not record.  I am VERY thankful I remembered to go back and check – I would not be a happy camper right now if I had 40 blank recordings.

Then I tried Aviary‘s audio editor — this did not work well for a quick recording.  Too many clicks.

So, I went back to the iPhone — and decided to use the Voice Memos application (which is installed by default) which allows you to email the voice memo to yourself.

Using something like Audacity would have required recording, saving, uploading, then linking and sending (the “Jing” conundrum.)  The Voice Memo app combined with email was the least time intensive solution I could find — as you know, time is of the essence and when you have so many to produce, you need to save as much time as possible “tinkering around.”

As a post script – I of course posted a tweet expressing my frustration with TweetMic and had an auto reply from http://chirbit.com – I may give it a try down the road.

Do you have any tips or tricks to share? (Have you tried Chirbit?) Of course, my ideal course management system would allow these quick in-line audio recordings. Until then, bricolage is my game (h/t to Claude Lévi-Strauss who passed away this week.)  I don’t see the capability in Google Wave yet, but maybe it’s a plug in that will come with the API development!

8 Responses to Adventures in Verbal Feedback

  1. David Legg says:

    I’ve been experimenting with student use of mobile devices to do some work in Broadcast Communication 1 (you remember that class, I’m sure!). Some students used their iPhones and the voice memo app to record news interviews to put together wrap-arounds. Of all of the mobile phones, iPhone sounded best. Good microphone and good fidelity. Some students emailed the audio files to themselves for editing, and others dubbed the files using a patch cord to the line-in port on a computer. Both methods worked well.

  2. trish harris says:

    I plan to use Jing to comment on student writing this term. In my experiments, it actually took less time than I’d been spending with text-only comments. I only have 20 online students as my beta group, so we’ll see. I’ll report back when the term is ovah.

  3. Spiro Bolos says:

    What a great idea. I’ve wanted to do something like this for years, but struggled to find the right tool. What I want to do is have my students see how I grade their essays (on paper). I have found that written comments are not enough because the student doesn’t always assign the appropriate importance to each written comment I leave. I am thinking about using the iPhone to video record the actual grading process.

  4. Laura Jimenez says:

    You can attach voice memos to anyone in your contact list. If I read correctly, you emailed to yourself and then posted? Why not email directly to students?

  5. Leigh Graves Wolf says:

    I’m trying to remember (I did it 3 years ago…) I *think* I wanted to send it via ANGEL mail so there was an “official” record.

  6. Hi, Leig.
    I really enjoyed your on-line lecture “Engaging Strategies for feedback” at the Master on e-learning in Spain and I just followed one of your links.
    I use to implement this widget for video and audio feedback in our courses at the University of Granada, that we can embed in any safe place. With it, you can have track on your messages with a thumbnails gallery and export individual audio/video feedback by means of a simple link to each particular video and many other interesting options
    We prefer video feedback option, specially for courses with deaf pupils and sign language
    Here is the link for that free resource
    http://www.commentt.com/

  7. Leigh Graves Wolf says:

    Thank you for your kind words David. Thank you also for the insight into your class and the link – I will check it out!

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