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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Vocaroo

by
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Mar 26, 2013 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: Vocaroo is a fully-online audio recorder that allows users to capture media without downloading any software. Use this web-based tool to create audio files and share as a link or an embedded file. Vocaroo can also be used to host audio files that you have uploaded and want to use with an interactive player.Vocaroo is very effective for disciplines that require pronunciation, diction and language practice. It is used by many World Languages faculty members and their students.
Learning Goals: Users will be able create audio recordings for a variety of purposes and disciplines, and share those files for grading or collaborative work.World Language students can use Vocaroo to record short audio interpretive, interpersonal or presentational language tasks. These recordings can be used for assessment or practice. Vocaroo can be used simply to enhance presentations, websites, wikis and blogs.
Target Student Population: All ages and educational levels.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Students should have basic familiarity of how recording on the Internet works and should be aware of Internet safety.
Type of Material: Development Tool
Recommended Uses: This program can easily be integrated into homework assignments to collect oral responses for grading, or to include as a part of an ePortfolio or class wiki. Use in class or language lab, at home for homework, anywhere the student/user has access to the Internet. All that is necessary is access to the Internet, a quiet recording spot and a good microphone.
Technical Requirements: An internet connection and browser are needed to listen to files, and the flash plug-in is required to record.Quality of microphone will impact the quality of recording

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: This program is elegant in its simplicity, making it highly functional and suitable for a wide variety of assignments and uses in the world languages classroom. Instructors can easily build communication practice activities using the software without wasting a lot of time instructing students how to get started. Using a voice text on web pages makes information more accessible to users with auditory learning styles or those who are visually-impaired. Vocaroo can be used for accent correction and to practice speech fluency.
Concerns: Students need to be careful and conscious of what they post on the Internet and understand that, in the words of the author disclaimer "Vocaroo is still in BETA. This means it is still being developed, tested and tweaked. Accidents may and do happen, and messages may get lost or corrupted."

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The focus of the program is direct and adaptable, making Vocaroo suitable for meeting a wide variety of learning outcomes and standards for education. Because of its adaptability, it serves as a tool that will support difficult concepts and give students more time on task when engaging with homework and practice exercises. Many students really do not like doing interpretive or even interpersonal tasks in a crowded classroom, but would have no problem making a recording, tweaking it and sharing it with a teacher or classmates through email or online. The ability to record, listen and re-record produces time on task and perhaps deeper learning of language structures. Teachers who want to provide voice feedback rather than written critiques can quickly do so with Vocaroo. The voice recordings can be more meaningful and motivating to the recipient and take less time than a carefully-worded written statement.
Concerns: Although the tool is not only for education, it would probably be helpful to include a page of examples of strong uses of Vocaroo to give instructors a clear idea of how they might integrate the program into their classroom activities.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: The beauty of Vocaroo lies in its simplicity - baring any issues of hardware and microphone setup, users simply click a button to start and another to save their work. The lack of a learning curve has users working with the product right away, and even though there is not much to explain, the site still features an informative (and humorous) FAQ of tips and tricks for using the program.The Help notes are friendly and even whimsical at times.
Concerns: There is always the possibility that free tools may not always remain free or that they will change forms. Such is the Internet, but while Vocaroo is here, it is wonderful.

Other Issues and Comments: Faculty members should talk to students about the appropriate use of tools when on the Internet to avoid all issues such as bullying, inappropriate language and protection of private information.