If you’re ever talking to Calley or me about using Digication for Integrative Knowledge e-Portfolios (IKEs), you’ll probably hear us mention Jeffrey Yan, the designer and creator of Digication. When he came to DePaul a few months ago for a training, he shared an idea that I would have definitely used as an undergrad, had the technology been available to me. These student teachers used Digication e-Portfolios and GoogleVoice to illustrate their experiences in a compelling way.
First, in Digication, you can upload audio files to an e-Portfolio. I “borrowed” another of Jeffrey’s examples and created a gallery of images with audio embedded below them. That way, with each image, my audience could hear me talk about why I included it and what it means. Audio files can be embedded in an e-Portfolio in a variety of ways, and they can be included with both text and images.
GoogleVoice is a service that offers “a phone number that is tied to you, not to a device or a location.” You can use this account in a variety of ways: you can have several phone numbers tied to the account, which puts all of your voicemail in one place and saves the audio files as MP3s. If you purchase an Android phone, it’s actually easier to set up a GoogleVoice account (since you’re already using a Google operating system), and you will get an email and/or a text message with an approximation of the text of the voicemail.
Jeffrey gave us a great example of student teachers combining these two resources: the student teachers set up a GoogleVoice account. Then, when they left school each day, they would call that account and leave a voicemail reflecting on their day. These voicemails would be short (1-2 minutes), and they weren’t all spectacularly insightful – some were compelling, and some were boring.
The beauty of this was that the students had a pool of useful, visceral records of their student teaching experience that they could utilize in their e-Portfolios. When I was student teaching, I was already doing this – instead of calling GoogleVoice, though, I was calling my mom, who is also a teacher, to vent about my day. And unfortunately, she was unable to record all of those nuggets of frustration/elation/demoralization/triumph (you know, the emotions student teachers experience every day).
This speaks to the real value of multimodal communication. These student teachers chose some of their audio files and included them in their e-Portfolios, along with some text and images to further explain what happened on a particular day and how that experience shaped their teaching. Audio is the only format in which you can capture that type of moment – any type of writing mediates the information, while speaking can leave these ideas unfiltered.
I could also see this idea reconceptualized for many purposes: a student could go to an art museum and leave a GoogleVoice message analyzing several pieces of art. A professor could use this option for “grading on the go,” recording audio feedback for students from any location. Student teachers could also use this to record feedback from their mentors or their students (if they’ve obtained permission forms to keep this sort of record).
Requiring students to use multimodal forms of communication isn’t just a “hip” way to teach – these media offer a venue for expression that text can’t reach. This is just one (free, accessible) way to incorporate an audio tool, and I’d really like to hear your ideas for using audio recording.