Tools for presenting work using audio narration

Danielle Bayes

Danielle Bayes is an IMS expert and writes regular articles about supporting learning with technology.

Danielle is an experienced teacher, having worked with pupils of all ages both in schools and as the eLearning teacher at one of the country’s City Learning Centres. Her expertise with using technology to support learning led her to work for Crick Software, where she is now the Curriculum Support Consultant, leading school INSET training with their software and creating print and video online support materials.

Crick Software’s aim is to help every pupil to achieve success by providing inclusive educational software for all ages and abilities, including struggling readers and writers, and those with special needs. Their flagship product Clicker is the innovative reading and writing tool which has enjoyed tremendous success in helping pupils to achieve rapid and permanent gains in their levels of literacy. For older students WriteOnline offers more support than any other word processor and has already made a huge impact on the education industry. They are also the creators of a range of acclaimed Powered by Clicker learning resources.

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Asking pupils to create presentations to demonstrate their learning has long been a common tool for assessment. In today’s classroom learners have access to a range of tools that allow them to create effective presentations, and these can often be a great way of letting those pupils who struggle to write their ideas down on paper communicate what they know.

There are many voice recording tools around. Simple gadgets like Talking Tins, Talking Postcards or the Easi-Speak microphone are great for young children to record short segments of information. With these simple pieces of hardware, children can easily listen back to their recordings, enabling them to practice and perfect their speaking skills as well as the content of what they are saying.

As children get older they will be capable of using recording software such as Audacity or GarageBand to create recordings. These programs also allow effects like sounds and music to be added in post-production, along with manipulating the voice itself. I have used this effectively with Year 6 pupils in the past where they have written scripts, then after recording them have added effects to their voices so that one person effectively plays all of the different characters.

Combining voice recordings with images to make slideshows can further enhance a presentation of learning. Software such as PhotoStory, Movie Maker or iMovie allows pupils to do this easily and professionally, and the finished results are easily shared. This can really bring topics to life, especially if the children have personally taken or selected the images that are used. Again, the simple addition of music completes the presentation.

Once presentations have been created, sharing them can be achieved in endless ways. Those classes who have blogs will receive valuable global feedback on their presentations when they have been watched. The school website can be another fantastic place to host presentations, especially those created about the school itself which can be particularly useful for new pupils or prospective parents. VoiceThread is an online tool for sharing a presentation made up of images, documents and videos, and allows people to view the presentation then leave comments (either via text, voice or video), again achieving a global audience for pupils’ work.

Or for an interactive presentation, why not let the children record information learnt about a specific topic, upload it to a Wiki, then turn the web address into a QR code? These make fantastic displays around the school, with pupils scanning the QR codes with a device and then listening to the recording in conjunction with looking at the images in the display.

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