Have you ever embedded a video in a blog and asked your students to leave a written comment? Ever thought, “it’d be great if they could leave recorded audio comments too”? If the answer to both these questions is yes, Speakpipe may be just what you’re looking for. By simply pasting a snippet of code into your blog Speakpipe will install a small widget which allows visitors to make voice recordings right from the same browser window. Click here to see an example (the “What do you think?” widget sits on the right of the screen, feel free to leave a message) … Needless to say, the widget can be used to make recordings on any type of blog content, not just embedded video.
Now you’ve got an idea how it works, watch this quick tutorial which shows you how to install the widget …
… that wasn’t too difficult, was it? But before you click away and give it a go yourself, there are a few things you ought to know: You may have wondered where the recordings end up and how to access them. Well, unfortunately they’re not accessible on the blog itself. In order to hear them you will have to log-in to your Speakpipe account and go to the “inbox” page, where you will be able to play, download and delete the messages that visitors have recorded. As most students will want to be able to play back their own recordings and listen to their classmates’ contributions, this is a bit of a shame. However, you can get round the problem by opening a group account for your students, giving them the log-in details and linking to the inbox when you embed your videos (see example here).
Another possible inconvenience is the fact that the widget sits on the mainframe of the blog itself, rather than on the pages of individual posts. This means that the widget will remain visible on all your posts, including those those on which you haven’t planned to do any voice recording activities. Of course, you may consider this constant presence to be an advantage, but bear in mind that the inbox can become awfully messy if it’s receiving recordings from different posts in the same time period. To make life, and the stream of messages, easier to follow ask your students to label their recordings clearly e.g. CYRIAK – IAN JAMES (Post title + Name).
Afterthought : Voicethread is another application which allows students to leave audio comments on videos. The problem is that videos can only be uploaded as opposed to embedded. If the videos you’re interested in aren’t yours, this means downloading from a video platform (e.g. Youtube) first, which besides being a bit laborious may also involve infringing copyright …. very naughty!
If you know of any other ways that students can make recorded comments on videos, please let me know!