Friday, March 25, 2011

Did You Hear That? Immediate Feedback

My students and I were working on episodes for our podcast on biography books recently when two wonderful things happened: Unsolicited student response to feedback and peer coaching.

From time to time I would play back what a student just recorded due to inadvertent background noises, line flubs, or speaking volume issues. A good number of students would blush or feel embarrased when they first heard their own voices. However, with almost every student, that bashfulness quickly subsided, and something wonderful and unexpected happened next.

They wanted a "do over". They wanted to do it again! Do you know how many times I wished my students would voluntarily do their assignment over just to get it right? Imagine my surprise when they said:

"Can I read that one again?"
"I think I can do better, if I had another try."
"I want to change something."
"I thought of a better sentence just now."
"I sound like a robot. I want to do it again."

The benefit of immediate feedback was evident. In almost every case (not all, because some of them did a super job the first time) students wanted to re-record their lines. Upon a second or third go, the improvements were remarkable.

The second added benefit was the peer coaching. My students worked in small groups on these podcasts, and they were helping each other with suggestions about delivery and emphasis, and their suggestions were on the money! It was fantastic!

This idea is good for any student, but especially great for students who need coaching with diction.

Myna from Aviary
Get Started!
A USB microphone is relatively inexpensive. You plug it into any open USB port, and you're good to go. I purchased my microphone at a big box electronics store for about $20.00. Once you buy your microphone go to this free web-based program for podcasting called Myna from Aviary. You can watch a demo of Myna below. Skip ahead to 2:05 to listen to the part about recording voice.

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