Are you happy with your marking and the time it takes you to do it? Do you feel that students get enough out of your marking from the time you put into it?
The answers to these questions are likely similar for most teachers; the answer for me is (or was) a big, resounding NO! The scenario of spending your Sunday marking books in detail, only to have feedback ignored by students, or even just misunderstood, given the limited space to explain mistakes, was all too familiar. I teach Physics; often I find it difficult to help students understand mistakes unless I can talk directly to them.
The result of all of this was the development of Vocal Recall, an app that allows you to record audio to stickers that you can place on students’ work. Since the app’s early development, I have been using it with my classes and have been a lot happier with my feedback. It takes me less time to make, I can include more detail, and the students prefer it. They engage with it more readily and actually do what I ask them to do!
Since releasing the app publicly, it has been used for verbal feedback, language learning, music, interactive worksheets, treasure hunts, advent calendars, audio tours of students’ work, greetings cards and more, showing the versatility of the app as a teaching and learning tool.
The app works by emailing you sheets of pre-generated QR codes, which you can then record audio onto directly using the app. The code sheets are designed to be printed to cheaply available blank stickers, but they can also be cut up and stuck down with glue – or you can pay a small amount to order ready-printed versions to save you the trouble of making them yourself. Simply record, scan, and stick. The process takes seconds and can be done in the middle of a classroom without needing to be next to the computer. It can even be used in the reverse way, whereby codes are given to students who can use them to submit work orally; perfect for languages. The app is also of benefit to students who might have trouble reading, such as early years and students with SEN or EAL.
The app is currently free with all recordings featuring up to five minutes of high-quality audio and permanent storage. The app will let you know which of your feedback has been listened to, making following up with students easy. The app also features a pause-record feature, so you do not have to speak continuously. As a very-important privacy measure, we also encrypt all audio end-to-end, meaning that our servers never see the unencrypted audio; it is only available to you and whoever has the QR code that you attached the feedback to (ie probably your student).
It is our hope that Vocal Recall can make teachers’ lives a bit easier and marking a bit more fun! We look forward to seeing you at Bett 2018 in the Bett Futures area.
For more information, visit Vocal Recall’s website.