One of the biggest complaints I receive about sites such as Gabcast and Gcast is that there is no way to record a "welcome or introduction message" for students dialing in to record. Many teachers have said they would like to use these resources for oral language assessment activities, but would like to give instructions before the students record their message. In addition, the teachers would like some of the recordings to be stored privately so only the teacher can listen to them. A new resource called PrivatePhone may be the answer.
PrivatePhone allows anyone to create a unique local phone number where you can not only receive voice mail, but all voice mail messages will be posted to a private online space where you can download messages as MP3 files or post them publicly to blogs! In addition, you can create unique voice mail welcome messages that can be heard when someone dials into your number. In addition you receive call logs of all the phone messages to your voice mail, therefore if students have a deadline, you can make sure they called in on time! When you log in on line they can communicate back to the caller with either a voice or text message. While this site has not been created specifically for education, there are many potential educational uses such as oral tests where you create a voice mail message of a question and then the students say their answers. Since their answers are saved privately, there is no worry of students sharing answers or accidentally hearing someone else's work. It can also be used for interviewing, speech practice, private student messaging...
A bonus of this resource is that you receive a new phone number in your local area. Therefore you can also use this phone number as your "junk" voice mail. For example instead of giving out your cell or home phone numbers when you have to fill out the endless web2.0 registration forms that ask for your phone number, you can give out your PrivatePhone voice mail number.
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Cell Phones in Learning by Liz Kolb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at cellphoneseinlearning.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cellphonesinlearning.com.