Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Audio memos and reading fluency

At this point in time I have one iPad to use with my whole class so I needed to get creative on how to use it. I wanted to start with something small and simple. I do guided reading with my students on a daily basis. My 23 students are separated into 5 reading groups based on ability. We predict, read, discuss, connect, think about, and interact with a book as a small group. While I am reading with one group the other students are re-reading and completing some reflections about what they have read. As there is only one of me it is hard to move around and have a chance to spend quality time with each group. I had an idea that the iPad could fill that hole to a certain extent.

This week I introduced the use of audio memos with guided reading. I decided to start by simply recording the students are they read the book aloud. I placed the iPad in the middle of the table, opened the audio memo application, and simply pressed record. Students took turns reading the book and at the end I stopped the recording. I wrote a title (group name) and it was automatically dated. Then we listened to the memo as each student followed along in their book with their finger. It was amazing to watch their faces light up as they heard themselves read. I let them lead the discussion around the things that they noticed upon listening to the recording. After the discussion, we decided to read the book again and see if there was a difference in their fluency.

This was a great first step into using the iPad with my students. I found it very exciting. It was neat to see how the students enjoyed hearing themselves read. I know tape recorders have existed forever but in my humble opinion there are so many more things that can be done using this technology plus the potential for the students to use it independently is intriguing.

My next step is to try and figure out how to email the audio files out to parents to share their child's reading. When I tried to email the files it said they were too big.....I am going to have to do some research and investigate this a little more and then report back. I am still wondering how I am going to compile the audio files in one place. When I get the other iPads I could give one to each group to record their read aloud without me being present. This would provided some accountability and they could do some self analysis. However, it will mean that the audio files are each stored to single iPads so I need to figure out how to save them all in one place. I'm sure there is a simple way to do this so I will just do a little more investigating.