I really do enjoy a good piece of edtech, so long as it has a purpose and there is a measurable impact from it. The tool should enhance the learning experience without being a distraction.

Recently I have started using Vocal Recall to provide students with feedback post assessments.  It was featured on day 11 of Mark Anderson‘s #AppventCalendar, so the word is spreading about this wonderful free tool!

My contribution, in response to the #AppventCalendar, is below. I am loving the fact that I can provide detailed, personalised and specific feedback quickly.  It has a far wider reach, dexterity, and potential than how I have begun to employ it too; another of its charms and reasons for you to give it a go.

The possibilities are limitless!

I really believe that this edtech tool has the potential for a real variety of possibilities within a learning environment. Here are some suggestions as to how it could be used for such as set phrases for things you may write seven, eight, nine or ten times when marking work such as: write the title, use keywords more frequently, check keyword spelling(s), use a ruler for tables, label axes. Or something that may be more common and subject-specific such as: can you give an example of alliteration from the text or please try to rearrange the equation again.

Here are some more specific suggestions you could try using it for: verbal feedback, whole class feedback, interactive worksheets/posters/displays/treasure hunts, to support EAL learners, book reviews, MFL speeches, peer assessment, self-assessment, reading of a text, explanations of concepts, recording timelines of events or describing an experiment.

How does it work?

It really is nice and simple to use too! Download the app, sign up and you will receive sheets in PDF format by email. This is free! to print them on stickers you need to have the right paper. There is the alternative where you can purchase some pre-printed sheets from Amazon but if you’ve got a printer already it is much cheaper to ‘do it yourself.’ Just get down to Staples, your reprographics department or somewhere ( I found some in the bursary) to get some sticker sheets! Once you’ve got your stickers sorted, you can record audio (you can record for up to 5 minutes) and then link your audio to one of the QR Code stickers (by scanning one of the QR Codes). The app works on Apple or Android and all your students need to hear your audio is a QR Code scanner; many are widely available for free and in fact, the camera app on the iPad now has a QR Code scanner built right into it.

Where can I find it?

Get Vocal Recall on the App Store here or visit their website here.

The interface is simple to use and once downloaded you can start recording instantly. Naturally, it can be a little awkward at the start as you’ll likely want to listen back to yourself and no one really likes that. After listening back to the first few, to ensure you’re doing as good a job as possible, you’ll find your rhythm. The menu in the top right-hand corner links to the four sections of the app: record, get codes, history and how to. Within the ‘how to’ section there is also information on data security – as ever, don’t include any revealing information in your audio, the student name is all you really need.  My advice here is to just stick to focusing on the content of their work as, after all, that’s what is most important, critiquing the work.

 

Another fantastic feature!

Another fantastic feature of the app is once you’ve recorded your data you can save it and title it accordingly. This then allows you to look back, in the history section of the app, and check that your audio has been listened to. It takes a few seconds to do a quick check to see who has completed the follow up so you can focus on the next step, task or part of the lesson.

How have I used it so far?

So I previously mentioned that I have been using it to give feedback post assessment, I talked the student through the parts of their assessment that they lost marks on and why they lost the marks – I highlighted the part(s) of their assessment I talked through to make it easier for them to follow and added some guided notes on the odd occasion. As always, they lost marks for a variety of different reasons, some were due to misinterpretation of the question, some miscalculations, a lack of depth of detail or simply they were guessing. In the audio feedback, I was careful not to just give them the answers so I tried to explain where they went wrong in the hope that on reattempting the questions they would be able to access more marks. It proved more successful a routine than previous methods of feedback, they mostly all bought into it and I was able to really personalise the feedback for each student.

Following up.

When using for feedback purposes it is important to make sure that post listening to your audio there is some action, by the students. For example; they could rewrite a sentence/paragraph from their work in more detail, perform recalculations or use greater detail and terminology when describing a process. I feel this is a vital step in the feedback cycle as it further engages them in the learning process, by re-drafting and improving their work in order to move the learning forwards.

Thanks for reading and it is worth mentioning I have no affiliation with Vocal Recall, I just think it’s a really useful tool. Download it and have a go for yourself!

 

 

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