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When I think about the possibilities of using technology to learn language - it is the audio realm that really excites me. Unlike other subjects, we have ready made content to now bring directly into our classrooms. Input is the technical term - I call it the plain old thing - oral language.
Chirbit is an audio/video recording site that does many things well (and I DO know how difficult this is - I tried to make one for TEFList, flash based and well, let's just say, it didn't meet my high expectations.) Highlights include:
1. Simplicity. An easy to follow interface and user flow
2. Quick. Reasonable conversion time.
3. Quality Audio files that play as they should (the text to speech though is a bit rough).
4. Social media ready. Comment on them. Tweet and share to your heart's delight.
5. iphone, android and blackberry compatible. Send files through email.
*** The only one big weakness IMHO, is that you can't download your audio file for offline listening.
Here's my video tutorial quickly showing you how to get using Chirbit in a jiffy.
How could you use this in your class? Well let me count some ways.....
1. Record your textbook or stories/reading from the textbook. Either as TTS (text to speech) or read live (get a good student to do this - you'll have their attention in class.
2. Recording students both in class and out of class. Create a class id/pw and all students can use that to get to Chirbit. Students make a recording to practice and show mastery of course material.
3. Podcasting. Just do your podcast here. Students could do interviews here or short skits/dialogues. Or make their project one of "voice" not just dry text.
4. Evaluation. Why not give your feedback to students in this fashion. By recording it and then sending them the audio file? They can learn as they learn about their learning!
5. Make recording and put on a class page. Really good for introducing each other and sending greetings. The player is fully embeddable.
6. Your own way!
The one downside to all this is the 5 min. limitation. So for longer recordings, think of using audacity and recording on your own computer.