This is a guest post by Matt Bergman, a teacher at the Milton Hershey School (Hershey, PA) who works with students living in poverty. He is the co-course designer of Regional Training Center’s (PA, MD, and NJ) graduate course on Universal Design for Learning. Matt is passionate about sharing his educational technology and Universal Design for Learning solutions with educators around the globe through presentations and his Learn-Lead-Grow blog.
Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of testing out the Edmodo app, Audioboo. I have used the iPhone App for several months now, but I had no idea how much of a game changer this is with Edmodo. It allows both teachers and students to create audio clips that are easy to upload and share. The best part is that audio clips can be private and contained within your Edmodo group!
What is Audioboo?
Audioboo is a free social podcasting platform that combines the power of audio and social media to generate a rich educational experience for students and educators. With Audioboo you can:
- Create web-based podcasts called “boos” that are easy to upload and share within your Edmodo groups
- Access a vast library of unique user-generated content from sources like BBC, CNBC, The Guardian, and UNICEF
Imagine the possibilities for integrating this App into your classroom! Here are a few ways others are already using the app:
1. The “YouTube of Audio”
Many schools use filtering systems to block YouTube because of the possibility of students accessing inappropriate content. With the Audioboo app, you can pre-select audio clips and add them to your library without the possibility of students accessing unwanted content. You can easily share your audio clips with students the same way you already share Word, PowerPoint, and PDF files.
I recently spoke with a Language Arts teacher, who is teaching a poetry unit in the fall. She typically has students read a poem, but finds that many of her auditory students fail to grasp the content. They need to hear the emotional cues contained within the passage.
She searched for the word “poetry” in Audioboo’s library and found audio versions of the same poems she has in print. Now, her students have options when reading poetry. She is adding audio clips to her Edmodo library as we speak, with the goal of giving students options on how they access content.
2. Options for Students To Show What They Know
Brain research shows us that not all students learn the same way and that how we learn is as different as our DNA. Providing options for students to “show what they know” will solidify learning and help them perform better on one-size-fits-all standardized tests.
For example, in many of my classes, I have my students demonstrate their knowledge of the “big ideas” of a particular chapter. I sometimes give students the option of writing a paper or creating a PowerPoint presentation; however, this poses a barrier to my auditory learners, who often struggle to translate their ideas into a document or slideshow. Audioboo is the perfect tool to help my auditory learners verbally share their ideas without the barrier of text. I can post an assignment and give my students options on how to respond–they can write or speak their ideas.
Some students are also limited in how much they can participate because of disability. I recently heard the story of a student who had Cerebral Palsy. Her disability limited how she could utilize technology to share her ideas and participate in class discussions. Having the option to record her voice would have helped her participate more in class online discussions.
3. Flipping the Classroom
The idea of “flipping” the classroom is becoming more popular in 21st Century education. If you are not familiar with this concept, it is the idea that students listen to a lecture outside of the classroom, and demonstrate their knowledge and ask questions inside of the classroom. In the classroom, the teacher’s role shifts from a lecturer to a facilitator. The Audioboo app is another tool that teachers can use to record mini-lessons for their students to hear.
If you are not a big fan of “flipping” your classroom, you (or a student) could record a summary of the “big ideas” learned in class that day. This would be a perfect study tool for students to review concepts, or a way to prevent absent students from getting behind.
4. Efficient Communication
When you are giving directions, have you ever felt like you were repeating yourself over and over? I often use Edmodo to write down our daily agenda and communicate objectives. I use the beginning of class to go over the post/directions, and students can reference that throughout the lesson.
It never fails! I always have a student who is absent at the beginning of the class or wasn’t paying attention. Even when I ask my students to read the Edmodo post, they often need an in-depth explanation of the tasks for the day. The Audioboo app allows me to record the in-depth instructions so that I am not repeating myself over and over.
5. Frequently Asked Questions
In any classroom, it always seems like there are three types of students:
- “Expert” students who need very little direction and yearn for you to be quiet so they can work.
- “Directionally challenged” students who frequently need you by their side as much as possible.
- “Middle-of-the-road” students who may ask a question or two from time to time.
I have found that when I give an assignment, I often neglect my “middle-of-the-road” students because I am so stretched helping my “directionally challenged” students. These students often get frustrated because their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are often not addressed fast enough. In my classroom, I have pre-prepared FAQs that students will ask. I often use text or use video clips to distribute those FAQs; the Audioboo app lets me quickly record answers to common questions, so that my “middle of the road” students can get their answers, while I help other students.
In the digital age, we often forget about the power of audio and how important it is to learning. Audioboo plus Edmodo makes it easy to create, share, and engage students in different ways, using the power of audio. If Edmodo has transformed your classroom, then you will find that Audioboo will take it to a whole different level.