Wednesday, April 2, 2014

23 Mobile Things: 16. Audio

Fact: On my 16th birthday I took my driver's license test.
Double Fact: I got the lowest possible score you can receive and still pass.

Oh, to be 16 again.

At least we can be this 16 -- Thing 16 of 23 Mobile Things.

This one's all about audio. It's pretty sweet actually -- the mobile devices our students carry around every day double as audio recording devices. I like to imagine the kids walking around all day recording a "Note to Self" a la Norm Macdonald, but I'm not quite sure it works that way.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of useful reasons why we would have our kids use mobile devices for audio recording. I think of young readers recording themselves to evaluate fluency, or teachers recording to model fluency. Our teachers have recorded their voices as a test modification, and our students have created mock radio shows or podcasts. Our choir and band teachers have asked students to record their singing/playing so they're able to critique it or send it to the teacher for feedback. Other students have recorded their voices over movies or presentations to enhance the product. All pretty legit and awesome uses of this technology.

When it comes to apps, our teachers and kids use a few for recording purposes. Among the most popular are Audioboo and Voice Recorder Pro. I'd say most prefer the latter.

This Thing also suggests ipadio and SoundCloud. I haven't used either, so I decided to give them both a shot.

First up -- ipadio:
This is a pretty simple app and a cool concept. But I'm not going to dig into it any further. Reason being: I work in a middle school, and right off the bat the app requests that you register, enter your first and last name, email address and even a phone number. Wha?

If you get beyond the registration page, a list of not so kid friendly terms of use pop up which are meant to be cheeky, but wouldn't fly well in the middle school classroom.

I'm sure the functionality of this app is great...I just don't see it working for our purposes.

Next up -- SoundCloud
This one also requires registration (sad face), but at least it can be logged in through a Google Account (which our kids have). I can get on board with that. Once in, SoundCloud immediately requests your musical preferences. You see, beyond being a recording app, SoundCloud's primary purpose is to expose you to new music. After selecting your preferences, a unique "stream" is created for you to promote music you might like.

The allure of SoundCloud is that you can VERY EASILY record audio and share it with an authentic audience. I like the concept -- our kids could share their original musical compositions, poetry, writing, singing, etc. with a real life audience with ease. The recording and sharing process is easy to use and seamlessly integrated into the app.

I'm not 100% sure it's middle school approved (some of the music is inappropriately named, we'd need terms of use approval, and I haven't been able to give it a long look-over). That said, even if the teacher managed and shared the content, it could be a great way to expose student creation to the world.

Well there it is.

Until next time, keep listening.

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