Monday, November 22, 2010

Classroom tools: Using phones to generate voice-to-text transcriptions, reminders and audio recordings

In my recent post on using audio and podcasting in the classroom I discussed phone recording options such as Google Voice and ipadio.com. In this post I am looking more specifically at phone services which record audio and transcribe voice-to-text, but are designed primarily as reminder and to do applications.

What are the benefits in education?


First, phones are one of the most ubiquitous technologies in schools. Land line phones as well as cell phones are available to almost everyone both in school and at home. 

Secondly, reminders and to do lists are an important organizational strategy.  Services such as Dial2do.com and Reqall.com add features which traditional to do lists lack such as access on multiple internet connected devices and integration with other online services such as calendars, social media, and blogging.  And unlike traditional lists and reminders the audio recordings provide another means of accessing and remembering important information.  

Teachers could use these services to broadcast classroom notes and alerts or for personal organization and reminders.  Students can use these services to become more organized but may also benefit from their voice-to-text transcriptions. This may particularly beneficial for students requiring assistive technology such as struggling writers or students who have difficulty using a writing device or keyboard.

Dial2Do


"Today I've been looking at a couple of different phone services which I might promote for students who are having difficulty writing things down. Dial2do is a phone service that converts voice to text and transcribes those messages-"
Powered by Dial2Do

Dial2do appears to be moving toward a two tiered pay model and no longer offers a free account. Dial2do integrates nicely with services like Twitter and Blogger. The recordings are limited to aproximately 20 seconds, but the transcriptions are very good. The recordings are in Mp3 format and can be downloaded or listened to directly using the web based audio player.

Reqall


Here's another test I made today using reqall.com -

"Imagine using your cellphone to write your next persuasive essay. There's a student sitting at a table. He's looking at the assignment. He needs to write an essay. He pulls out his cellphone. In the future essays may be written by students who call in their paragraphs and have them dictated by a phone."  Link to audio

Unlike Dial2do, reqall.com does offer a free and paid account model.  It also has an iOS app which integrates nicely with the service and allows voice messages to be recorded and transcribed using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. The time limit appears to be slightly longer, about 30 seconds, however the transcription did not pick up punctuation at the end of sentences and a few words required correction. One feature which I feel is missing is an embeddable Mp3 player for listening to audio online. Reqall Pro offers integration with services such as calendars, social networking, and Evernote.

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