Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oral Assessments With Phones

A majority of technology infused lessons involve students consuming or creating content. Typically content creation with technology is text or image based. In world language courses we need students to speak. Writing is less of an instructional concern.  Exploring technologies that allow for speaking and listening are a priority for teachers of world language.

Our world language department has been experimenting with alternative tools to assess student oral proficiency. One tool that has stood out is Google Voice. Google Voice is a free phone service. Google allows for two options.

Option one allows you to keep your existing cell phone number. All calls to this number are forwarded to  your Google Voice mailbox. Google voice provides an online voice mailbox. Your voice mails are available online in the form of emails. Google uses its voice recognition technology to transcribe the message into text. From the online screen you can view the transcript of the message or listen to the message by clicking play. Google Voice also provides a mobile phone application that can access your account.

Option number two will provide you with your own personal Google phone number. This phone number can be set to forward to any other phone number that you have. A phone call to your Google number can be forwarded to your home, work or cell phone. Calls that go to voice mail are available in the same way as option one.

Our world language teachers are using option number 2. The teachers have established their own Google phone number. The teachers turn off the call forwarding features so that the calls do not ring on their cell phones. Students dial the number and provide their oral assignments/assessments on the Google Voice voice mail of the teacher. The teacher can then open up the Google Voice website and listen to each child's recording.

The use of Google Voice has simplified the process of oral assessment. It is no longer necessary to spend class time assessing individual students. Students do not require access to computers to take part in this activity. All of our students have access to telephones at home or personal cell phones.  The use of Google Voice has had a positive impact in our world language courses.

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