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Protected: LRC Language Teaching with Technology Faculty Showcase Spring 2013

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A comparison of options for student oral photo presentation assignment

  1. Objective: Student presents personal photos in target language (e.g. home). b
  2. Contenders for Tools:
    1. Voicethread (free version)
    2. University-environment
      1. For Multimedia authoring:
        1. MS-PowerPoint
        2. not yet contenders
          1. MS-Community Clips (screen capture recording, to be installed)
            1. benefit: single purpose, record yourself talking while flipping through the images on your computer
            2. cost: new tool to learn, and no long term perspective
          2. Sanako Student Recorder: not a contender, it has subtitling options, but cannot author multimedia presentations (teachers used to with the Sanako authoring tool, but this is not longer supported).
      2. As LMS: Moodle.
  3. Comparison:
    1. Student
      1. Authoring:
        1. (PowerPoint ties:) Image upload is easy in Voicethread (including batches): image, but PowerPoints Insert / Photo album is as fast (if you have digital photos).
        2. Image narration:
      2. Assignment submission: Voicethread (free) has no support for assignments, only for sharing. Students have to find a way to submit their Voicethread,

        1. either by email or invitation to pre-created contacts: image
        2. or, – with higher initial setup cost, but greater reusability benefit – by invitation to a pre-created contact: image, imageimage
      3. Sharing/peer-editing/grading:
        1. (Moodle would win where it has peer-grading options. YMMV:) Sharing within the class is possible, but sharing with "anyone" is a privacy (possibly FERPA) issue, and sharing with a handmade class list  (no import) is tedious.
    2. Teacher: grading
      1. Managing submissions
        1. (LMS wins?:) Voicethread (free) does not allow an export that could be uploaded to the LMS. imageStudent can email links or invitations like these:  image. It is up to you managing them, and completion of assignment and grading for the class. This is no LMS gradebook.
        2. (Voicethread wins:) PowerPoint can be saved as a slideshow that starts on click (save as .ppsx) (including with narration). But opening and listening, without the need for saving to a local file,  remains easier in Voicethread.
      2. (Voicethread wins:) Providing feedback is possible,image including oral image– but is this insert recording? And providing editing access is not the default: image
      3. Record-keeping:
        1. (Moodle wins:) Voicethread: Uh.. oh..?! I see no retention story, especially not in the free version. With Moodle, you can leave all that to the institutional support.
    3. Student: receiving feedback
      1. (A tie:) Voicethread’s audio feedback versus Moodle/PowerPoints gradebook access.
    4. Learning curve:
    5. Voicethread has the advantage of being a specialized tool (relatively few options, still relatively simple interface – few distractions).
    6. Other tools have the advantage of greater familiarity in the long run and reusability. Of course it depends also where you are working: stable positions get greater benefit from embarking on the institutional environment.
  4. Summary: PowerPoint/Moodle remains the solution for the pedagogical task at hand that the LRC currently supports. Fortunately

    1. a narration of a picture presentation using PowerPoint and
    2. its submission by the student and grading by the teacher on the basis of a  Moodle single file upload assignment are not too difficult.

Speaking/Listening Assessments and Oral Exams: A comparison what the LRC has to offer

  1. Moodle:
    1. I proposed for installing one of the free audio recorder plug-ins into our Moodle, but we are not there yet.
    2. However, we do have a new video recording assignment (which is based on Kaltura).
      1. Format: free form, according to your written instructions in the assignment. Students can review and repeat the recording as often as they wish.
      2. The video overhead is minimal since it is streamed, and video is better for authentic language assessments – unless you specifically prepare your students for phone interviews: then just have students step out of the viewing angle of the webcam).
      3. thanks to Moodle, the familiar interface and the underlying LMS support infrastructure, it is easy
        1. for the teacher
          1. to create and assign a video-assignment
          2. to grade it from the gradebook
        2. for the students to take it and submit it.
      4. LRC Support:
      1. Since our PCs have no built-in or added webcam (proposed), we can currently only use our 5 iMacs for Moodle video assignments. Since the MACs do not have headsets (but built-in microphones), the audio quality is not as good as on the PCs. Since 5 seats are not sufficient for class-size activities/exams, it is best to use this as a homework assignment  
      2. I list all necessary steps for a video assignment
        1. here for teachers
        2. here for students.
        3. all my Kaltura posts
      3. Additional support is available through the campus Moodle support team.
  2. Sanako
    1. Sources
      1. Dual-track comparative recorder:

        1. the teacher can prepare an input track (or provide one live. Preparing is easy, and worth your while, since easily reusable. I can help you)).
        2. the students records on her own track
      2. Pair  and group recording:

        1. Sanako makes it easy to pair or form groups of students and to record free-form conversations.
        2. These recordings can be either controlled remotely by the teacher or locally by the user
    2. Control
      1. Remote-controlled recording under exam conditions,
        1. responding to a listening cue within a preset (or live) pause in the teacher track
          1. model&imitation:  for phonetics and pronunciation exercises,
          2. question&response for a wide variety of activities as commonly used in SLA textbooks and classroom, including practicing grammar structures or vocabulary recently
          3. question&response&model response: the teacher can also include after the pause in the teacher track a model answer for the students to compare their own output to.
        2. automatically saved with student names to be accessed from the teacher office desktop
        3. easy comparative grading using Audacity (see below)
    3. User-controlled recording is also possible, using the student recorder in manual operation mode
      1. which has more language learner features (bookmarks, voice graph, dual band recording), and  a simpler  interface than a full blown audio editor like Audacity (see below).
      2. The task how to save and sent the assignment to the teacher is here left to the user.
    4. LRC support:
    1. I can help you
      1. creating an audio recording with your content and speaking cues and pauses – using Audacity (see below)
      2. conducting the remote-controlled exam
    2. Up to 20 seats can take an oral exam simultaneously, until we get more Sanako licenses. However, we  found a way to split classes into 2 halves and have consecutive exams (we can play audio on the other students’ headsets to provide for exam conditions). The LRC main classroom is equipped with 30 seats for 2 consecutive exams with Sanako headsets.
  3. Voicethread is a popular online recorder, especially  for educational institutions that have no onsite support.
    1. Visual and audio cues can be provided by the teacher.
    2. Pairing of students has been attempted via sharing and responding/commenting to the partner’s submission. This is not a realistic conversation.
    3. Recordings are stored in the cloud.
    4. There is no integration with the SIS (accounts – getting students set up with accounts that can communicate back with the teacher is a challenge) and LMS (the Moodle integration is superficial). 
    5. Voicethread is not free. The ELTI, however, has a subscription. LCS does not.
    6. LRC Support:
      1. We support Voicethread exercises with new and improved headsets.
      2. Help is available through the vendor.
  4. Audacity:
    1. for teachers and LRC staff and other language professionals:
      1. best free audio editor, also good for comparative grading. I routinely make my audio exam recordings with Audacity.
      2. LRC support: I have tips and tricks how you can use it in your teaching preparation and grading.
    2. for language learners: not the recommended option, since Audacity has not a feature set geared towards language learning nor support for language assessment workflows:  
      1. Language learners do no need an audio editor for speaking exercises, they need a recorder. If you are a language learner, it is not pedagogical to be able to technically edit and refine your audio recording. Rather rehearse, reflect on and repeat your audio recording, until you are happy with your language output.
      2. Audacity is too technical: It involves too many steps, options and settings for the students to record, save, export and name the audio and to get it to the teacher, and (if it is not uploaded into a Moodle assignment, which could then be a Kaltura  assignment anyway, see above), too tedious for the teacher to manage and grade files.
      3. LRC Support:

        1. If your students are technically inclined, we do have Audacity installed in the LRC.
        2. Your students should not find it difficult to read the documentation. Here are my posts on Audacity.