One of my biggest struggles is giving students regular feedback on their writing. I am able to look at their writing on a fairly regular basis, but getting that feedback to them is hard. If I have to type it out it takes hours. If I have to meet with them individually to give them the feedback, it takes days.

Then it hit me - could I send them voice feedback somehow - record my voice giving them quick feedback on their writing (probably 30-60 seconds worth). Then they could listen and use the feedback as they write more.

I work with 4th graders, so I think voice feedback would not only be cool, but might be more effective than written feedback.

Any ideas for an easy way to do this? What technologies could I use? I need a system to organize this easily so that students can "pick up" their message.

Tags: writing

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Hey Matt,
i did this with my grad students using Audacity (a free audio recording program), saved them as mp3 format (to reduce the file size) and then posted them as links on the class website (BlackBoard). It was definitely a time-savings for me -- I could communicate a lot more by voice than if I'd tried to write it all out. By the way, the way i did it, I also included some notes and markup on the papers, then with my voice recording went through them page by page making reference to some of the markup. I'd certainly do it again, but interestingly, the students were somewhat concerned with the format, because they felt (i think) a little overwhelmed by the process. I think they were used to getting extremely linear feedback (like a notation that says "fix your grammar on this sentence") whereas the format allowed me to have a much more conversational feedback style, really discussing the ideas they were presenting and the approach they were taking. The students said they felt like they had to listen to my recording several times in order to "catch" all of the comments I was making, so it may be good to be fairly focused and concrete as you begin this.

You could use a web2.0 tool like Voicethread to record your feedback. good luck,
Hey Matt
Have you considered using yackpack for this kind of feedback. It's easy to set up and yackpack is very keen to help educators use it in the classroom. Take a look at and see what you think.
I have seen YackPack, however I believe they are charging for their service now. The free service only allows you to post 10 seconds of audio - definitely not enough.
Hi Matt,

I'm the special education teacher in a fifth grade inclusion class. I love the idea of leaving recorded messages for students! While I currently use our digital voice recorder for podcasts, I am ready to take comments/direction giving a whole step further.

On our classroom website, I created a whole section of passworded individual sites to provide differentiated instruction for all learners outside of class. The students log into these sites and find skill appropriate websites and games for improving their learning while still at their level. Providing your students space on your web-server may be a good way for the students to "get the message." You could also e-mail the students the sound files if they have access to e-mail at home.
I like the website idea. Did you program it yourself, or are you using a service?
I'm the webmaster @ my school, so in playing with the website program, SchoolWorld, I modified the pages to "create" these individualized pages for my students.
Hi Christine,
Simply amazing! I can't imagine being able to maintain that level of individualized attention to all of my students.
Christine, Matt,

Have you tried Chinswing? I used to use Yackpack but it was really cumbersome to keep track of conversations. Chinswing is straight forward. Just start a voice thread with a title and then respond to the students. They can respond back if wished. Very quick, user friendly. A good alternative to voicethread if you aren't using photos/pictures.

I create a template for each season of the year and I do a lot of copying/pasting. However, I add individual support sites for students (classified or not) who appear to be struggling in certain areas.

*Just added chinswing to my delicious account.
Matt, how tightly connected do you need your voice feedback to be to the student's work? We have been discussing adding this to Yacapaca (no relation to Yackpack) but not started researching what the practical details are. Your view would help a lot.
I have a co-worker who uses garageband - I am getting ready to prep his tutorial for the faculty - if you like I can send you a copy or post it here somewhere -

He uses Youtube as well but the audio only thing was intriguing -

I teach online and do ALL written feedback - I am trying to use Ilisten voice recognition but without much success

Jeff P
HI Matt
have you tried Voicethread?



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