I have been playing with a free resource called Snapvine. It has a strong emphasis on the power of voice. It allows anyone to use their mobile phone (or landline) to audioblog or record voice. Snapvine allows you to post directly to a public blog on their site, or to a private "voice comments" page. Besides posting audio to a blog, you can also call a number (from any phone) to send voice comments to anyone with an email address. Additionally, you are also give a "permanent" number where people can call and leave you a voice comment on Snapvine.
Feel free to try out my Snapvine Voice Comment box, by leaving a comment, that will automatically appear in my private box. Then I will be able to "approve" it for publication. Don't forget to press 1 when you finish to save your comment in my private box. Here is the number:
1) Snapvine allows you to post audioblogs from any phone as long as you register the phone number in your account. I think this gives you some control over who posts to your Snapvine account.
2) No advertisements on the blog pages.
3) You can use a landline phone.
4) For students who do not have cell phones or easy access to landlines, can record via a computer microphone on the Snapvine website.
5) You can make your Snapvine blog private, so just your students could do mobile audioblogs and no one else can listen to them.
6) The teacher can create the account and "approve" voice comments before they are posted.
7) You get an automatic RSS feed with your Snapvine blog.
8) You could use voice comments as a free voicemail system, where nobody actually knows your phone number, but can leave messages.
9) You can embed all of your voice comments at one time. For example if your students each called in their own math jingle, you can immediately embed all 30 of them at one time. This is a great time-savor
1) The phone numbers for Snapvine are not toll-free.
2) You need to call a different number to hear voice comments than you call for voice posting...this can be a bit confusing (although it would not keep me from using the resource).
3) Only audio mobile blogging at the moment, no photo, text, or video from mobile phones...yet!
There are a variety of ways this resource could be used, but one of my favorites is for "moderated" podcasting. While I love Gabcast, one of the problems with Gabcast is that there are no ways to keep students from immediately publishing their work. Teachers do not have the ability to moderate podcasts through Gabcast. However, Snapvine gives teachers the ability to moderate with the voice comment system. The teacher can decide when to publish comments. The teacher can also listen to the comments through their cell phones, so they can moderate comments via their cell phone (in case they are away from the Internet and would like to decide on publication of the student podcasts). Furthermore, since the Snapvine public blog does not have advertisements it really is an ideal place for students to learn how to podcast and to share their podcast experience.
Teachers could use Snapvine's voice comment system as a way to administer and collect oral quizzes from students. Snapvine allows you to create a "greeting" that will be heard by anyone who calls in to send you a comment. Therefore the teacher could create a greeting with the assignment for the students, so that when the students call in to Snapvine, they hear the "assignment" and then take their oral quiz (by creating a new comment). Snapvine can be set up so that the quiz automatically post into the teacher's private account. Snapvine also allows the teacher to send a voice a comment back to the student. One additional feature that I like is that the teacher can check the oral quizzes at anytime, since the teacher can call in to Snapvine to hear them (thus not needing to have Internet access to evaluate the quizzes). I see this application helpful for any subject but especially for English/LA, ESL, Foreign Language, Science, and Social Studies.
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