Monday, February 25, 2008

Utterz (not Udders) in the Classroom

Now you ask: What in the world is an Utterz? According to their web site “Utterz is the first way you can instantly blog your experiences, thoughts and ideas, anywhere, using all the capabilities of your mobile phone. Utterz mashes together the voice, video, pictures, and text you call or send in and creates an 'Utter' that can immediately update your existing web pages on sites like Blogger, WordPress, Facebook, LiveJournal, MySpace and more.”

I have been playing around with it and have found it so easy to use I think it could be used for almost any grade. I first used the microphone on my laptop without any problems but my wonderful hubby actually bought me a microphone from Office Depot for under $9. Either way, my voice was pretty clear when I played back my recording but without my microphone I felt like I was leaning into the computer instead of relaxing and concentrating on what I was saying. As I said, it was so easy because all you have to do is click on the red button for record, say what you want, and then stop the recording. It plays back what you said and then you post it if you like it.

I can see students enjoying this because many of my students loved to try something new especially if they could hear or see themselves and others. I also had many high school students who had difficulties with writing but really understood the content of the material. This is a great way to assess their understanding as well as improving their self concept. By doing this, they wouldn’t feel as frustrated as a writing assignment and could feel good about being able to show that they understood the material. I also think you could ask questions from a worksheet and have them respond to each question. They could work on this independently as you walk around the room and help those that need help. Usually students who had difficulty writing would get bored and disrupt the class because they couldn’t complete the assignments. Rather than “looking dumb”, they would act up so no one would see that they had difficulties.

I could also see where Utterz could be used for getting students to share their opinions and give details to back up their opinion. The teacher could give a statement and ask students if they agree or disagree. The students would take turns giving their opinions. As each student came to give their opinions, they could hear previous responses and add or refute what they said. Students who already responded could listen also and respond to anyone. At a certain point, the discussion could be ended and all responses played for the whole class for a class discussion. By having students do this, the shy students may feel more inclined to give their opinion. This would be a great way for students also to share their opinions without others interrupting or disagreeing so their whole thought could be formulated and shared.

If you think of other ways that Utterz could be used in the classroom, please leave it in the comment section so others could see it also. I really believe that by using Utterz in the classroom, the students would be more successful in the classroom.


Bill Gaskins said...

Okay... I can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing...

murch said...

Have you tried utterz yet with your students? Having read this post I will try and think of ways I could use this as well. Students love their phones and I also want to get them (year 9/10) to take a photo of their favourite place around the school using their phone and we will try and bluetooth it into their blogs. I have had a lovely wander around some of your other posts. So, thanks! murcha

loonyhiker said...

Haven't tried it out with students yet because my course doesn't start until June but I plan to get my college students hooked! Please let me know how your experience works out. Thanks for dropping by and reading!