Tag Archives: audio

Free No Sign-Up Micro Tools for the Busy Teacher

This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for a long time. Some people collect coins or postcards and I… I collect digital tools. ūüôĄ¬† Well, I also like watching tutorials. OMG! Come to think of it, do I qualify as a freak? The irony is that though I use tools to curate and organize my findings: Pinterest, Sites, Wakelet, Pearltress… you name it, the shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot.

And, much to my chagrin, it appears that I have been adding tools to this list in a fairly haphazard manner with the result that I have so many of them that I’ve opted to include just a few and may create a Part 2 if you find this post useful.

What is mind-blowing  about them is that:

  • They are free
  • They are online
  • You don’t need to register

I have tried to organize them into categories and add a bit of everything. For better or for worse, some of them are multifunctional and don’t fall into just one category.

                                     IMAGES
  • Removing a person/object from a picture. You need Cleanup Pictures: Upload the photo, choose the brush size, paint the area you want to remove and download your new photo. In some cases, you might need to paint the area twice. The 0:20 video below shows how to do it.

 

  • Removing the background of an image. Go to Remove.bg. As easy as choosing the photo and uploading it. You don’t even have to click any buttons.
  • You can find Cool 3D icons¬† for your projects On Free3DIcon, and images on CloudDevs
  • To create a Breaking News Image, go to Classtools.net
  • StorySet is an amazing site for your projects.¬† Choose an illustration and now…
  • delete elements
  • change the colour of the illustration
  • animate one or all the elements in the illustration
  • download it as a GIF or MP4
                                    VIDEO 🎥
  • TypeStudio is just awesome. It is a new approach to editing a video, text-based. That means you edit your video by just editing the transcribed text. You can also add subtitles automatically, turn the video into a blog article and everything runs online in your browser. How to go about it:
  • upload the video
  • the screen will be split into two parts. On the left, you will see the transcript for the video and on the right, your video.
  • Now, you will be able to edit the transcript by deleting a word or words from the video. It is like magic! Imagine the possibilities for language learning.
  • Removing or changing the background from a video clip. Go to Unscreen.com. The 0:40 video below shows how to do it.

  • Facebook is blocked in your school? Then, you need Snapsave. Just copy the link of a video that you wish to download, then paste the link in SnapSave and select the video quality that you want to download.
  • Automatically or manually adding subtitles to a video, go to Veed. Veed is¬†a free editing video tool with lots of possibilities.

  • Downloading a Youtube Video, go to YT5s¬†
  • Downloading the audio from a Youtube Video, go to YT5s and paste the link. Downside: it has some annoying ads and you will probably need to close some pop-ups and probably a window. Other than that ūüėČ ¬†it works fine
  • Free downloadable video clips, sound effects and images for your projects on MixKit
                               DOCUMENTS

  • Extracting text from online images, PDFs or Websites, you need CopyFish, a Chrome extension. The 0:52¬† video below shows how to do it.

                              MULTI-PURPOSE
  • Tiny Wow is a wow of a tool.¬† It works with PDFs, videos, images and URls. Remember you don’t have to register. Files are deleted after 15 minutes.

  • Converting a myriad of media files from one format to another, go to Onlineconverter is just what you need to convert
  • audio
  • ebooks
  • images
  • files
  • etc…
                                     READING
  • Speechify This is a Chrome extension that when installed reads any text. Great to practise pronunciation and boost reading fluency.
  • Text to downloadable speech? Yes! Go to Speak. Voice clips are up to 300 characters but if you register (free), you get clips of up to 1,000.
  • Don’t know what to read next? Go to Whichbook and choose your next book based, for example, on your mood.
                               MISCELLANEOUS
  • If you have forgotten your password on a specific site, you might find it here https://passwords.google.com/
  • If you want to know if a file or a¬† website is free of viruses, go to VirusTotal¬†
  • Alternative to: this site finds the best free alternatives for paid or free apps or programs. As easy as typing the app you need to find an alternative to.
  • Changing the cursor. I know. Just for fun! To change your cursor, you need to add the free Chrome extension, Custom Cursor
  • QR Codes. My favourite is QRCode Monkey because it allows you to customize your QR by adding a logo or changing the colour or the design.

 

If you have found some of these tools useful, share this post it with someone who might need it!

Happy and Healthy New Year!

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Otter.ai: an Awesome Free App to Get Accurate Transcript from Audios/Videos

Let me start by saying that this is not a sponsored post. I don’t get paid to write about tools. I just write about what works for me. And thisss …. has already saved my life 3 or 4 times.

Imagine this!  You have an awesome video/audio in your computer or on the internet that is great for the topic you are discussing in class. You want to give it to your students, but you cannot find the transcript. It is simply not available.

What do you do? I am going to give 2 options:

  1. Discard the audio/video. After all, you can always use something from the textbook.
  2. Use an app that will easily, effortlessly and accurately transcribe it, giving you the possibility of downloading it in different formats (including Docx), without time stamps and ready to share with your students?

If you have chosen Option 1, you may stop reading. This post is not for you. Hope you continue to drop by.

Those of you choosing Option 2, I can picture you rubbing your hands and holding your breath. Here we go!

Otter.ai is a mind-blowing text-to-speech tool. It is very user-friendly and the transcription you get is incredibly accurate. Perhaps, you might need to add a comma or a stop here and there but that’s it. It is almost perfect.

For free, you get 600 minutes of transcription per month but if you need more, you can always invite friends or colleagues to try Otter.ai. For every friend that decides to try Otter, you will get one month Pro Lite.  Not a bad deal! So, the link I am going to share with you is the one that will allow me to get one-month Pro Lite. There is no money for me here, just the opportunity to enjoy more free minutes of transcription.

I have created a video tutorial to guide you through the app. It is in Spanish but, don’t panic, I have added some explanatory notes with instructions in English.

A big thank you to Miguel A S√°nchez (Michel) for bringing it to my attention.

Edited to include contributions and tips from other teachers

  1. “It also records sounds from a YouTube film opened in a different tab. Much better than YouTube transcript.” – Ewa.
  2. “It’s awesome to give feedback in oral exams. I provide my Sts the transcript and underline the death-penalty mistakes. They realise at once and correct them, something that hardly ever happens if they just listen to themselves” Loli Manteiga.

Try Otter here

 

Remote Teaching: 3 Tools to Assess Students’ Speaking Skills

And here we are. Trying to make the shift to online teaching as smoothly as possible. For most of us, it is uncharted territory. Lack of information as to how we need to assess our students does not help either. We are on a roller coaster of emotions and sometimes we feel stuck, restless and unsure about what to do to help our students.

But, we need to stay at home. This much is clear. For how long? Quite uncertain. What is certain is that remaining at home is an unprecedented act of love to take care of each other and that we need to stay safe to keep our loved ones safe.

How can we assess our students’ speaking skills?

Meanwhile, the question of how to assess our students remains unanswered. In this post, I am going to share with you 3 easy ways to assess your students’ speaking skills. The tutorials are in Spanish but I have added notes in English to help you understand the steps you need to follow. Most of the times, the notes are unnecessary as everything in the app is in English.

1. The Easiest One:  Audio Recording with Vocaroo

Why do I like it?

  • Students don’t have to register.
  • They just need to click a button and start recording.
  • They can upload their own recording and then share the link with their teacher.
  • They get a link for their recording and share it with their teacher. So, no need to upload or download their recording unless they want to.

2. As if you were in class: Videoconferencing with 8x8.vc

Why do I like it?

  • Neither the teacher nor the students have to register.
  • You can create your own room with a click and then share with your student the link for the room, which is always 8×8.vc/ (nameofyourroom)
  • It is a videoconference platform so the interaction is automatic as if you were in class.

3. The Whole Package: Video Recordings with Flipgrid

This is a more complex tool but it allows students not only to record themselves from their homes and then share the video clip in a secure platform but also interact with their classmates or teachers. Not in real time, though

Why do I like it?

  • It is very reliable and safe for the students
  • It is completely free.
  • Students can record up to 10 minutes
  • They can upload their own video clip or record their own computer screen
  • Teachers can send written or video feedback within the app straight to the students’ email.
  • Teachers can develop their own rubric.
  • Teachers are¬† ¬†100% in control of the videos
  • Teachers can even share the recording with the student’s parents.

(NOTE: you might want to watch the original webinar here) 

 

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

‚ô• Go to http://www.recordmp3.org/

‚ô• Allow the recorder access to your computer. See picture below

‚ô•Click Record. Click Start Over if you have made mistakes

♥Save your recording on your computer (just in case)

‚ô•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!

All right, I have an OHP and now what? Part 2

Dear reader,
About two weeks ago I wrote the first part of this series which I should have called “Adventures and Misadventures of a teacher with nothing but a projector “.
The next obstacle in my path was the lack of a computer in this classroom. But, of course!.. ūüėČ ¬†we have one laptop for the English department but… it’s not always available. So, we have to take whatever laptop is available from other departments. The problem is that¬†not all laptops have programmes installed that can read Flash or whatever format your video is in so the innocent teacher, unaware of this fact, walks into his classroom with a video downloaded from the Internet ready to be played, some questions about the video ready to be answered and some hours and a lot of effort put into this task and realises that the laptop cannot read his video format. Swearing and bumping your head against the wall is not a good option, ¬†trust me on this one,¬†I have already tried it, so what’s left?
Downloading VLC media player, which is player that reads most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio Cds, VCD …etc .

You can easily download it into your computer from this site (Click here) though I strongly recommend you download a portable version of this programme and carry it around with you, in case you have to borrow a computer from some other department. (portable version, click here).

Will I ever need to write Part 3? What are you guesses?