_ _ it Happens, (when you step off the mill)

One thing that you notice when you drop out of the community for any, (especially an extended), length of time. is how much the landscape can change. Things like the beta release of pbWiki 2, the latest edublogs feature that enables you to add up to fifteen users at a time, (oh where was this just two weeks back when I and my colleagues enrolled 123 senior students with their new blog), a little further back Jo’s post about TokBox video chat , Sue’s new role as the edublogs helper via the edublogger ‘mag’ or arguably worse than that you miss out on some nice synthesis work by some ex students now in grade 5 who have set up their own blog to showcase their work with Flash animation.

You also miss out on the opportunity to ruminate on and get some assistance in solving problems. In my new role I am working with a number of schools and of course I can’t resist giving advice even when I’m not too sure myself. So it was that when I was asked about an easy way to capture student’s voices I replied that iPods were definitely not the best option.  But that was where the contribution faltered.

I had seen what looked like a simple generic MP3 player with a voice recording option in a catalogue however when I purchased it the player proved far too complicated for teachers to us, though most students could probably make it work :). Anyway the next day another catalogue arrived with a SanDisk Express 2Gb player for less than half price advertised in it. After a quick trip to town I now have an eminently suitable plug and play recorder that importantly works. So now 2 iPods, a couple of generic  mp3 players and more than a few hundred dollars later I have finally found something that is usable.

It again begs the question as to how many others have had the same or similar experiences trying to make the technology accessible in our classrooms. Whither the central authorities and departmental people? Probably spread too thinly trying to scramble to keep up themselves.

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4 Responses to _ _ it Happens, (when you step off the mill)

  1. Jo McLeay says:

    Hey John I am interested in knowing more about the voice recorder you bought. Is there a link? I think I have gone down the same path as you with trial and error but with less success. I even used my Nokia N95 for students to record themselves.

  2. johnp says:

    Hi Jo,

    The recorder I have just purchased is a SanDisk Express 2Gb that Harvey Norman http://www.harveynorman.com.au/catalogue/catalogue-index.html
    have on a great special at the moment for $55. Recording is really quite easy and the mic has good pickup. Playback is simple and it has a USB charge and connection and the files can be found really easily and open directly in Audacity. You can see a review at http://www.cnet.com.au/mp3players/mp3players/0,239036128,339279753,00.htm Neat 🙂

  3. Why do you say the iPod is no good? My students use mine all the time and the quality is fantastic. We do end up with large files but they just convert to mp3 and open in audacity which allows easy editing and the resulting export to mp3 is a much smaller file.

  4. johnp says:

    Hi Paul,

    The iPods we have used have been excellent sound wise though we have had some issues with the microphones not seating properly. The big problem is price and the need to purchase a 3rd party mic and then the manner of extraction of the file through iTunes. A unit around $50 that you can just drag and drop files from is just that more appealing :). BTW I was actually told by one of the leading sales folk from Apple that iPods were not really designed for voice recording even though they can.

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