My latest technology discovery for use in my ESL classes is Audioboo.  Audioboo is a free social platform for recording or uploading audio and sharing it on the web or on mobile devices.  Audioboo allows us to record up to five minutes of audio, called a “boo,” to share on our own Audioboo site or on Facebook, Twitter, or other applications.  I particularly like the fact that we can send audio message “boos” to others on Audioboo.  This platform fits into my advanced ESL Speech Making course beautifully.

One of my Speech Making course objectives is to improve  pronunciation.  My curriculum for this course has always included articulations for the students to practice and record.  Previously I had the students use Windows Sound Recorder to record their audio, and then they would send them to me as email attachments.  This semester my students will each open Audioboo accounts.  They’ll follow me to hear the “articulation of the week,” and then they’ll send me their assignment, their recording of the articulation, as an audio message boo.  These boos will go straight to my Audioboo Message Inbox so I won’t have to worry about them getting lost amidst my hundreds of weekly emails.  I can then critique their articulation and return my comments to them as message boos delivered directly to their inbox.

Students are also going to use Audioboo in this Speech Making class as a device for practicing their speeches.  For example, the next presentation the students will give is a three to five minute news presentation.  Audioboo will replace the mirror as their  tool of preference for practicing their speeches.  The students may not be able to look at themselves while delivering their speeches, but they will be able to listen to their pronunciation, phrasing, and fluidity and be advised of their five minute time limit.  If their recording time runs out, they’ll know they need to go ahead and cut parts of their speech before they get their time cut in front of the class during the actual presentation.  A veritable face saver!

The news presentations are given in groups.  Since Audioboo is a social network, the students within the same news group can share their news boos prior to their classroom presentations.  Their group members can then critique the speeches by: a)  following each other in Audioboo in order to b) listen to each other’s speech boo, and then by c) sending their critiques in message boos, also affording them speaking and listening practice.   I can give homework credit for these message exchanges as well.

I’m excited about using this new application in this speech classes and possibly in other classes as well.  I think both the students and I are going to like creating own own boos and finding ways to use them outside of this one class.  I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

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