We can usually speak far more quickly than we can type, so being able to get ideas on screen can be time-consuming. And we can also lose the flow of what we are thinking if the mechanics of typing get in the way. So being able to speak naturally as the text then appears on screen can both allow for ideas to be captured in text form, and this can then more easily be edited later.
Click on the Sway below to see how to enable and use the dictation tools on Apple, Android, Windows or Chromebooks. So whether it’s PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone your device will most likely have the facility to have speech to text. As long as there is a microphone and the device supports speech to text you should be able to then use the dictation feature to say your thoughts aloud and have them appear as text which you can then later edit.
When using dictation tools you need to say what punctuation you wish to appear in the text – whether comma, full stop/period, question/exclamation mark, or new line/enter.
Speaking close to the microphone, and as clearly and distinctly as possible, will aid the dictation tool to be as accurate to what you wish as possible.
If you wish to find out more about the benefits of using Dictation or Speech to Text Technology in a classroom environment then the following links be of interest:
Supporting the development of literacy in the classroom with GarageBand iPad app
GarageBand is an iPad app which has a host of uses for recording audio, which can include music in a host of different ways. But here’s how GarageBand can be used specifically to support the development of literacy in the classroom.
The how-to guide below provides the steps for learners recording themselves speaking using the GarageBand app on an iPad. A teacher can vary the steps depending on the purpose of the activity – so learners may start off needing to write a short story, or a poem or a conversation between characters, a report, or whatever is undertaken in the class.
It may be that learners have to retain key information, and the process of working sufficiently with a piece of text in order to prepare for recording it, then going through the recording process, then manipulating that recording (refining or editing or adding backing tracks), then sharing and listening to that recording, may help the learner engage more fully with the text, absorb it and make it their own, so they may be better able to recall that information if required to support their learning.
The outcome is that this chosen piece of writing is to be made into an audio recording to be shared with others. Whether that’s simply played back in class or shared with a wider audience online as determined by the learners and their teacher.
Knowing that their work will have a wider audience than their teacher changes the dynamic for the learner.
The resulting recording can have unwanted silences or other sounds edited out as described below, before the audio recording is shared with others.
Or as exercise in listening one group of pupils might record the words of a well-known piece of text being studied in class, but with the words in the incorrect order for another group of learners to use GarageBand to move the recordings of the words around until they are in the correct sequence.
So how do you use GarageBand to record and edit the spoken word? Follow the steps below, and then adapt the activity to suit the learning needs.
Recording learners speaking using the GarageBand iPad app
1. Click on + at top right in GarageBand Recents screen to begin a new recording
2. Choose Tracks tab along the top
3. Slide from the screen left to right until you see Audio Recorder choice
4. Now click click on + at top right
5. On the next screen click to the right of Section A where it says 8 bars to change to automatic by changing the slider to show on position for automatic
6. Switch off metronome icon so it does not show blue
7. Click on the input settings icon to the left beside the word “IN” and slide the button to the right beside the word “Automatic” to switch this on
8. Switch the view to show the tracks by clicking on the icon to the top left next to the down arrow
9. Then click record red button, wait for the audible clicking and on-screen countdown before speaking.
10. Once you have finished speaking, press the white square stop button to halt recording.
11. Press the white triangle play button to play back what you recorded.
12. Double-clicking on the blue audio track will reveal a range of choices for editing that recording, whether cut, copy, delete, loop, split, rename or (from the settings option) adjusting the speed or even reversing the recording.
13. To edit out unwanted silence or noises between speaking then when you double click the track, slide the timeline arrow above the track to before the unwanted sound, choose split from the menu when double-clicked on the track, and pull downwards on the scissors icon which will appear. Repeat this to split after the unwanted part of the recording, then double click this unwanted section and cut it or delete it.
14. Using this process you can cut and paste sections, phrases or individual words or sounds and move elements around.
15. Click and hold any track and choose to redo if wanted
16. Once you’re happy with your recording then click on the downwards pointing arrow at the top left and choose “My Songs” to save this recording and return to the list of any other recordings
17. To name this recording simply hold your finger on the recording icon for the recording you’ve just made and choose rename from the menu, give it a new name and click done.
18. To share this recording elsewhere or with others then hold your finger on the recording icon for the recording you’ve just made and click on the sideways arrow until you see share as an option and click on that.
19. Choose “Song” so that this will convert the GarageBand file into an audio recording which can be played back by others without the need for the GarageBand app.
20. Select the level of quality you wish than click “share” so that you can then choose how you wish to share it, whether by airdrop to another iPad or saved somewhere else of your choosing.
21. You can even save it to this iPad just into iPad Notes so you can keep it beside typed text without having to have an internet connection to share elsewhere – you can still share this note and the recording later elsewhere.
Do you want to add background music to the audio recording of spoken text?
GarageBand has a host of inbuilt musical instruments available from which to choose to create a musical backing track to your audio recording of the spoken text. You don’t have to add this but it can add another dimension to the recording, especially if the recording is to be shared elsewhere. Also, as the musical background track is being added, the learner once more listens to the text to which the background track is added each time adjustments are made.
You don’t need to be able to play the chosen instrument, or know much about music, since GarageBand includes options for using neat auto-creation wizards. For this guide the steps will show how to add a guitar backing track.
How to add a guitar backing track to audio recording of spoken text
Open the audio recording of spoken text you previously created in GarageBand
Ensure you are viewing in track mode (click on the track icon to the top left next to the downwards pointing arrow).
Click on the + symbol to the bottom left to add another track.
4. Slide from left to right until the guitar choice appears on screen
6. Now click on the icon which looks like a volume control dial at the top right
7. Click on the “Autoplay” dial so that the choice dot aligns with number 4 (you can make a different choice as you wish).
8. Try out creating music simply by clicking in turn on each chord to hear how it might sound. When you are ready to record the music simply click on the red record button, wait for the countdown, and then start playing your choice of chord buttons – note that you will hear the previously recorded audio recording of spoken text played back so that you will be able to match your guitar chords playing with this recording, and click on the white square stop icon to finish recording.
9. You can click on this guitar track to choose from the menus as to whether to delete and try again, or split and cut elements. You can adjust the relative volume of this track by sliding from the left and adjusting the volume control there.
10. Once ready to save and share this recording click on the downwards facing arrow at the top left
Looking to learn how to use more features of GarageBand iPad app?
Click on the link below for a free online manual on the Apple support site which guides you through every aspect of using the GarageBand app on an iPad
The video below “Beginner’s Guide to GarageBand for iPad” on the excellent Technology for Teachers and Students YouTube channel provides an introduction to using GarageBand on an iPad, including a host of tips and suggestions for using different features of the app.
Apple Teacher classroom-specific guide to using GarageBand
Click on the link below to sign up for the free Apple Teacher programme. This comprises standalone modules, one of which covers the use of GarageBand in a classroom setting
Learning Tools with Immersive Reader provide users of Microsoft Office 365 (including Word and OneNote) with a range of tools to support learners with varying needs, making reading and writing more accessible for any learner. This is available to all Glow users in Scottish schools.
Get past this first paragraph: it’s not what you think.
I have a really nice house and have just had and incredibly comfortable, happy Christmas break. I’m dabbling with learning to play piano and often listen to Jazz, classical music less so. I try and eat healthily, for the most part, and have money in the bank. I enjoy gardening have a season ticket at my football team, occasionally listen to Radio 4 and get annoyed at Question Time. I am, to all intents and purposes, living the archetypal Middle Class Life and, while I grew up in a reasonably comfortable working class background, I recognise that I have ‘escaped’ a life I could have had.
I teach in the area in which I grew up and would have attended this school. I see problems with inequality all the time, recognise the poverty gap and want to support our Government’s attempts to narrow that gap. Inequality means we have a huge imbalance in our society: an imbalance of wealth, opportunity, services, voice. While school is a core part in society it must never be seen as the hub of all our problems but we do have our part to play. As an individual I have a responsibility to do what I can to help alleviate society’s problems. But what am I prepared to do?
Those in poverty very often see schools as the enemy; that might seem extreme but it’s true. Parents who’ve had generational resentments of authority see us offering something which is not for them. Families with unemployment running through generations look upon educational aspiration as a middle class conceit. They don’t believe that their cultural heritage- whatever that may be – is valued and see themselves being mocked and derided; the fast food they eat, the TV they watch, the way they talk. To say that education is the way out of that mindset is naive and misguided.
As educated professionals, it is easy to think that we have all the answers, that we know what’s best. What if we gave up that ‘voice’ in order to listen to the problems of our communities? How often do we really listen to the concerns of the parents of our students, instead of voicing annoyance when they don’t turn up to Parents Evenings? How do we create communities where teachers have to give up some of their free time to go and listen to these communities? Would that be a sacrifice? Would that help us understand?
Would we be willing to pay a little extra in tax if we we’re convinced that it would improve the lot of our poorer communities? We see high tax societies working well in Scandinavia but shudder at the thought of paying more here. Why is that? Because we’re not convinced our Government would put it to good use? Because we don’t see evidence of it yet? What would change?
If we are serious about alleviating poverty and improving the lives of those who live in poorer areas then how much are we really prepared to do? How much are we willing to sacrifice? As educators we have the knowledge and the tools to help but need to involve ourselves in the lives of our students and their families. Otherwise the gap will widen. And keep doing so.
If we are serious about closing the attainment gap and alleviating poverty then those of us in a position to do so will need to make some sacrifices. It’s not enough to get annoyed at Question Time or, dare I say it, write emotional blog posts. Otherwise let’s stop wringing our hands and pretending we care.
When it was created back in 2011, part of the thinking behind Pedagoo was the beliefthat if you put a group of teachers in a room and allowed them the time and space to discuss all things education, then great things can happen. Put them in a nice room? Even better. Treat them like intelligent professionals? Fantastic. I’ve just returned from a weekend at the Norton House Hotel where I spent two days with 25 educators from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. And, yes, great things did happen. Seven hours of sessions on Saturday, four on Sunday, ram-packed with intelligent conversation, searching for common ground.
And it went on through dinner and breakfast. Other than a set of bullet points for discussion there was no plan, no agenda. We found a path through the complexities of each of the four education systems and began to discover a way forward. It was a challenging and exhausting experience – by five thirty on Saturday I was out for the count – but hugely rewarding and wonderfully invigorating. While recognising the blocks to progress, what was fascinating to find out was the huge ambition and focused determination to overcome those barriers.
As we began, what was striking was that after the initial moans and groans about our respective education systems, the pride and joy we felt about the job we do every day in our communities shone through in every conversation. We started in our own countries, developing themes for debate and recognising areas for development, and as we moved into mixed groups, the room came alive. We probed and pushed, explained and extrapolated. There was serious debate and loads of laughter. But we began to focus on the things that we may learn from each other in post-Brexit Britain. Whether we feel that the UK is on its last legs or at the beginning of a new, golden age, we can still share the vision we have for our children.
In my group, when asked ‘From what you’ve heard about the context, if you could move to any of the other countries, which one would you move to?’, every single person knew that they would stay where they were. For what better way of changing things for the better than working hard to enhance our own communities. The (very) real David Cameron reminded us of Debra Kidd’s line from ‘Notes from the Front Line’: “it is pedagogical activism that will prove to be the butterfly wing of change” .
Sitting at dinner on Friday night, slightly nervous, none of us really knew what to expect. By Sunday, we left with greater resolve and determination to go back to our schools with a rebooted energy to continue to fight to enhance the life of the children we serve.
I left with a greater understanding of the difficult issues teachers from other UK countries have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. However, there were also wonderfully inspiring tales of hope and aspiration from everywhere; a determination to succeed against difficult odds because we all understood why it was important. It was an honour to be invited to the #4countries conference; an honour to meet such inspirational people, people I can now call friends. No matter our political futures, we understand that education exists to allow the children we teach to become empathetic global citizens; to strive to be the best that they can be. They will need to be.
PechaFlickr – for encouraging learners to think on their feet, and have fun as they try to improvise a coherent talk to a presentation of 20 random photographs which they have never seen before, each displayed for 20 seconds.
This free online tool lets you specify a word (it’s set up by default to be “dog” and if not changed will present a random series of images of dogs, each on display for 20 seconds). All you do is replace the word dog with another word, then either set a topic on which to talk (not necessarily related to the chosen picture topic!) – click play and then return to the slides as they display one at a time. The speaker must try to make a coherent presentation from these slides. This develops the PechaKucha form of making a presentation.
At a simple level the learners may try to narrate a made-up story relating to the pictures they see, but for more interest and challenge the learner may try to talk about something on which they are trying to demonstrate their learning and understanding, while in some way linking to the random images which appear every 20 seconds, the image topic not having any obvious connection to the subject on which the learner is demonstrating their learning! Challenging and fun – give it a go and see if you can do it!