Tools that support speaking and listening were grouped together as oracy tools. These include tools used for creating podcasts, minicasts, dictation exercises, voice recordings, text-to-speech function, and personalized avatars. With the help of these tools, students can practice pronunciation, intonation, and timing, as well as work on their listening comprehension.
Voki is a free service that allows users to create personalized speaking avatars. The avatars’ 60-second message may be recorded by phone, microphone, or using a text-to-speech feature. Included templates and color-adjusting options permit customization of the player, avatar, message, and background. There are three size options for the embeddable player. Voki does not permit personal accounts for users under 13; however, users can create Vokis without saving them to an account. Teachers can also create a class account. Voki could be useful for creating a portfolio of speech samples, sharing a favorite poem, or a student newscaster for class blog. Moreover, the text-to-speech function can be useful for students to make sure they wrote what they intended to write. It can also be useful for language learners as Voki supports several different languages. Users can write their message in any of the supported languages and the text-to-speech feature recognizes it creating the Voki in that language.
Myna Audio Editor is part of the Aviary suite of powerful creative applications that are used right in the web browser. Teachers and students can use Myna to remix music tracks and audio clips. Students can record their own voice reading a story and apply sound effects, create a podcast episode, or record a speech sample. Students can also practice for public speaking by recording themselves, listening to themselves, and by asking for feedback from others.
Podomatic is a tool for recording and publishing podcasts. Podomatic has a systematic process for creating a podcast or a minicast, therefore, encouraging learning as you create. The tool is advertisement free by default; however, some users may choose to add advertisements. The podcasts are assigned an URL link that can be shared via various sites. Users also have options on using HTML subscribe badges, or embedding a player link. The minicast permits users to add images to their audio therefore creating a mobile ready video slideshow. Beyond storytelling, this can be used to demonstrate study skills, share class projects, or create a class production on language use that builds on instruction in class.
Podsnack is an online application that allows users to build audio players and playlists for websites. Users also have options for progress bar players as well as for mini players. PodSnack is free for testing with a limitation of five tracks, each no longer than five minutes long. Teachers can utilize PodSnack, for example, for creating a playlist of student-read stories, poems, or word definitions.
Chirbit is a tool that aims to permit people to record, upload, and share audio easily. Users can record with webcam, microphone, on the go with any smart phone, or upload audio in mp3, wav, aiff, wma, and m4a formats. There is an option on utilizing text-to-speech function and converting a YouTube video to a Chirbit. Users must be 13 to use, although the tool is not directed for persons under 18. Teachers could still potentially use the tool for podcasting, creating a personalized message for a webpage, recording reading material, providing feedback, giving directions for independent work, creating and embedding short recordings to their blog or sharing using social networking.
ReadTheWords provides users with a platform for utilizing text-to-speech technology for processing written information. The site can be used without registration; however, there appears to be a limit on the number of characters the text may contain. Those who choose to register with a free account have a limit of three recordings with deletion of recordings allowed to make room for more. ReadTheWords can be used in various ways. It can be a good way for students to check the pronunciation of a word or a phrase. It can also be used to aid reading comprehension. Teachers may use the tool to provide more personalized message on their websites.
Vocaroo is a simple voice-recording tool. It requires no registration and users can access all features immediately. The recordings can be saved to computer, embedded to website, or emailed to others. Users who create an account can keep messages for 5-6 months; users who do not create an account can expect the messages to be deleted in 1-2 months. It is possible to record audio for class website or blog or to practice a speech.
Audioboo is a Web and mobile platform that lets users record and share up to 5-minute audio recordings. The recordings can be created online, using a mobile phone, or by uploading a file. These created boos can be listened to on computers and mobile devices. They can be shared on social networks or embedded on webpage using the Audioboo widget. The mobile application permits anonymous use with limited options. Since users can follow other users Audioboos teachers can utilize the feature to find out what other teachers and their students are doing. Overall, teachers can use Audioboo for podcasting, creating instructions for an assignment, or creating an audio archive. Since the recordings can be created using a mobile phone, the tool can lend itself to reporting on events, describing a field trip while at a destination, or interviewing people.
Listen-and-write is a web tool that provides free listening practice. It can be used to create personalized listening exercises in different languages. The tool has three listening modes: fill in first letters in quick mode, complete the whole story in full mode, or fill in the blanks in blank mode. Archiving for these dictation exercises is public.
AudioEditor is an online audio editor for recording, slicing, and mixing audio, allowing users to place sound files along a timeline, across several channels. It is part of the Creaza suite of web-based creativity tools. With its limited demo version, users can produce audio clips and soundscapes as well as radio plays to be published as podcasts. There is an option for recording sound and adding it as a track on top of the final edit. AudioEditor can be used to record speeches, practice reading, gain fluency, practice intonation and timing, or develop phrasal fluency.