Tag Archives: recording

Four Excellent Sites for Online Dictations

Oh boy. Does it bring back memories!
Dictations! To be completely honest with you, I have mixed feeling as regards dictations. I remember back in primary school when the language teacher gave us lots of dictations like a well- deserved break after a tough grammar lesson; and then, this feeling of “I don’t want to ever hear the word dictation again” that I got from my classes at university where the teacher gave us one-page-long dictations so quickly that when he finished, he was panting for breath and we were seeing red.

Although doing dictations is somewhat regarded as an old-fashioned technique, it is undeniable that a lot of benefits can be derived from doing this exercise. In fact, it is an integrative activity requiring the use of various skills like listening, writing and reading -when you read the passage you have written, looking for grammar or spelling mistakes. You might even add speaking if the dictation is used as a prompt to encourage discussion of the passage.

In case you are not fully convinced that dictations also have their place in the twenty-first century classroom, here are some more benefits you might want to consider:
• It improves spelling.
• It improves recognition of grammatically correct sentences.
• It helps students distinguish sounds in continuous speech.
• It improves students’ awareness of punctuation.
• It gives students practice in comprehending and helps them gain fluency in writing.

If I have managed to convince you, here are some links to online dictations you might want to try or if you are a teacher, heartily recommend to your students.

Dictations  Online.

This site specializes in dictations and although it is free, you can sign in to do more dictations or keep track of your score  and view your score history. They are graded from elementary to advanced.

The students hear the dictation four times

  • The first time, the whole passage is read at normal speed to listen for gist.
  • The  second time, each phrase is read slowly twice, with punctuation.
  • Then the whole passage is read again to check your work.
  • And finally, the written text is shown  for you to see  your mistakes.


I like the site. It is very user-friendly. The dictations are graded going from Elementary, with short recordings of one or two phrases, to Advanced with recordings of one or two paragraphs.

Learn English free

This site features two levels: elementary and intermediate. It has a very clean interface where you’ll see two recording of the same dictation. One recorded at a normal speed and the other one at a slow speed with pauses to give you time to write down what you hear. You only need to follow the instructions.

ESL: English as a Second Language

Aimed at Intermediate and Upper-intermediate students, this site offers an amazing numbers of dictations

Do you like these sites or would you rather create your own dictations? Here are two online free tools to convert text to speech.



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Downloading , Cutting or Editing Audio : Everything you need is here!

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It is the beginning of the school year and there are some tools that I need to make sure are working properly. You know how everything works on the Internet. Some sites close down, others that promised to be free are now charging you and some others are still there but they don’t seem to work anymore.

Anticipating these problems that I may encounter, I am almost sure, one of these days when I am up to my eyes with work I have searched the net for some new tools that I know are working right now and therefore won’t let me down.

♥First of all, a much needed video downloader, free and easy to use. I never know when the already weak Internet connection in my school is going to crash.

The name of this site is CatchVideo.net and the only thing you need to do is paste the url, choose the format you want  -or even just download  the audio- and off you go! Your video is downloaded into your computer and ready to carry with you in you Flash drive. Here’s a snapshot

♥Still working and overused at home by both me and my children to download the audio from youtube is my Listentoyoutube.com. Post here

and then there this 123.apps which  is incredibly helpful when you need to cut or edit audio and  the audio of a video. It offers, “online”, everything you could possibly need  for free and you don’t even need to register.It offers six different audio or video related tools

♥Online Audio Cutter: It is an online application for cutting audio. It supports mp3 or other formats. If you open a video file, then the audio will be extracted. How do you cut the audio? Easy: 1.Open the file (video or audio), 2.adjust the interval and click Cut. 3.Save the track
There is also a Fade-in and Fade-out function, in case you need something a bit more sophisticated.

♥Online Audio Joiner: To join multiple audios into a single one. It supports all media formats and it can combine them, but it works better and faster with mp3 than with any other format.You can choose between the two modes of sound merger. If the “Crossfade” function is enabled, one track will gradually fade into another: the first track will gradually vanish, while the second will grow louder. This allows smooth transition when combining music tracks. Click here for more detailed information on how to merge audio

♥Online Voice Recorder: Records sound from a microphone. After the recording you can trim the sound and then download it.

♥Online Audio Converter. Converts audio into a wide range of major formats such as mp3, wav, ogg, m4a, m4r, flac… You can also convert several files at a time which will be compresses into a zip-archive to ease the download.

♥Online Audio Extractor: extracts the audio from videos and saves them as OGG, MP3, Wave or FLAC files.
To extract audio tracks from video files, just open video from your computer, select proper output format, and click the “Extract audio” button.
The application supports all major video formats (AVI, FLV, MP4, MPG, MOV, RM, 3GP, WMV, VOB and other).

♥Online Video Cutter: Once you have downloaded your video with CatchVideo.net you might need to cut the videos to remove an unwanted part. Well, this is just the tool you need. Open the application and just follow the instructions – It is fairly simple but I have to say that I have tried with a youtube video and it hasn’ t worked. Still, I think it is worth a try.

♥Online Video Converter : free tool that converts almost any media format to MP4, AVI, MPEG, FLV, 3GP. It also extracts sound from video and can correct video resolution

So, here you are! Honestly, this post is more for the sake of my memory than for any other reason. If… it can help anybody..it’s killing two birds with one stone!Keep posted!!!! 🙂

The Flipped Classroom: Two Interesting Tools

I couldn’t just wrap up the school year and kick off the summer holidays without mentioning these two interesting tools I’ll be trying this summer to add to the list of useful tools I have been trying on and off in the flipped classroom setting. The Flipped Classroom Concept is the new trend in education. Classes are flipping all over the world. Well, maybe in Spain, it is not so popular yet but I think it has a great potential in classes where the students are motivated to learn.
The Flipped Classroom is a reversed teaching concept. Basically the teacher, through about 5 minute -created videos, teaches the students at home and then “homework” is moved to the classroom. One of the advantages of this method is that students learn at their pace and while some students might need to watch the video just once to understand the content, weaker students will not feel left behind as they will be able to replay the video as often as they like without feeling they are interfering with the normal pace of the classroom. The student, then, comes to the classroom to work on what was explained in the video and time in the classroom is spent on practising, something the students cannot do at home on their own. There is,obviously, more time for student-teacher interaction. In this flipped classroom setting there are two tools I’m willing to give a try this summer and which I thought I would share with you, in case you want to give the Flipped Classroom a go next year.

The first tool is similar to MyBrainshark and VoiceThread, which I have been using for two years. It’s called Narrable and it allows you to upload photographs and record yourself or upload an audio file narrating your photo. When you sign up you only get 5 free narrables but you can get more free narrables if you don’t mind sharing them in facebook.

The other one is a bit more complicated and demanding on the teacher’s side and if you are camera shy, like me, maybe not so appealing but, anyway I’m willing to try it.
It’s called Movenote and it helps you record a video of yourself teaching accompanied by slides. First of all, you have to upload your images or presentations ( it supports pdfs, excel,.. and many more) and then you record yourself using your webcam while you explain your images. There is also the possibility of uploading a previously recorded video and synchronising it with the slides. It’s free , you only need to sign up to an account . The only thing I don’t like is that you share via an url but it doesn’t seem to offer the possibility of embedding it in a blog or website.

SoundCloud: need to share a recording?

Are you running out of time to test your students’ speaking ability? Are you  a student and looking for an easy-to-use tool to send your teacher your speech? I’ve found the perfect tool for you! It is called SoundCloud and has been around for some time now ,so one can only assume that it is entirely reliable.
Sound Cloud is an amazing site which has a lot of potential for teaching and learning English. What can you do with SoundCloud? You can upload your own audio and you can record yourself. You are then given a unique url and the possibility to embed the audio in your own website or blog.
Why am I so enthusiastic about my students using SoundCloud? Because my students willl be able to send me their recordings and I will be able to correct them by inserting comments about their pronunciation, grammar…. directly into the recording and exactly at the exact second at which the mistake is made.

You need to register but it is completely free up to two hours ; then, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan or delete some of your recordings.

Below I’ve embedded a SoundCloud Recording to tempt you to try this useful tool!

Snow Patrol – You Could Be Happy [HD] by Cristina Cabal

Here’s a tutorial I found on the Internet which clearly explains how to upload and share your recording.

and now, for teachers, here’s a chopped tutorial from Princippia Innovación Educativa, about how to insert comments on a Souncloud Recording.

How to Download the Audio File from YouTube

A very short post to share  this tool with you.

ListenToYouTube.com is an online application for converting YouTube flash video to MP3 audio. The service is fast, free, and requires no signup. All you need to do is copy-paste the  YouTube URL, and the application will  extract  the MP3, and give you a link to download the audio file.

Vocaroo: Free Tool to Record and Share Audio

I just love this useful tool to record audio. I love it for many reasons:

♥You don’t need to register and it is free

♥ It is very easy to use

♥You can record yourself or upload a recording

♥ It can be easily shared  or embedded in a blog. It also gives you an url that can be sent via email.

Listen to me saying hello

Audio recording and upload >>

Recordmp3: my favourite online recorder

I am running out of time. The term is coming to an end and I haven’t had many opportunities to listen to you. That’s why our next project is going to be giving an online speech using www.recordmp3.org, which is probably my favourite tool to record audio. Advantages of this simple tool:

1. you don’t need to register

2. You can save your recording

3. it gives  you an url (this is what you will have to send to me)

How to record yourselves

♥ Go to http://www.recordmp3.org/

Allow the recorder access to your computer. See picture below

♥Click Record. Click Start Over if you have made mistakes

Save your recording on your computer (just in case)

Send me the url you get. Choose the Click to Copy option and send me an email with the url you have just copied.

Good luck!

Voicethread and my students

I’ve been meaning to use this tool for  quite a long time but  the right time never seemed to come.

I think this little dialogue performed by my most elementary students is a nice way of showing you what Voicethread is. VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in 5 ways – using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam).

I want to thank María Sánchez and Rocío Ibias in the first dialogue and Eva Bedia and Ainhoa Nuevo in the second (from IES  Cesar Rodríguez – Grado) for their enthusiam. Thanks girls, I would never  have done it without you!

To use Voicethread you need to register but it only takes a minute and it can help you a lot improve your speaking and writing abilities. How ?

  • You can  record yourself describing pictures
  • You can  add comments to photographs
  • You can tell a story using different pictures

It also has a lot of potential for teachers.

  • I intend to use it for debates on issues: by asking students either to record themselves or  type their own ideas
  • I have already used it to record students doing role-plays

I’m sure you have plenty of ideas to use VoiceThread. Why don’t you share them with us ? Please, send a post if you want to contribute with your own ideas.

Talking Photos: Fotobabble

What a great tool this is!!

The Certificación exam is  just around the corner and bumping into this little tool right now got me thinking whether some things  happen by sheer chance or by  some divine intervention. Choose the one you feel most comfortable with .

Now, as you know , in the oral part of the exam you’ll be asked to describe  a/some picture(s)  in three minutes. Well, here’s a good tool to help you rehearse for this part of the exam. It’s called Fotobabble and it looks promising.

This is what you have to do to use this app:

  • First, sign up. Don’t worry it’s free and it only takes a few seconds.
  • Upload a photo from your computer.
  • Record your voice using a microphone
  • Listen to your recording.

This is quite OK as far as you are concerned but I’d like to see what you are doing , so why don’t you send me your fotobabbles ? No idea how to do it ? Click on the link below and in  a video and in Spanish I’ll explain it all to you. No excuses now!!


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