A recent email from a listserv reminded me of an activity I’ve been meaning to try – Google Voice. I set up a Google Voice account and number awhile ago but had never used it.
Google Voice (here) is a website that allows you to create a phone number and receive calls and voicemails. There are many uses for it. For a World Language class, it’s an easy way for students to record themselves speaking and for the teacher to listen and evaluate. I used it after a story in class. I gave students the phone number I had created along with a list of questions about the story. I allowed them to find some space (outside of class if necessary) to make the call and answer the questions. All students’ voicemails were stored on my Google Voice page and were easy to playback. It is also easy to send a text message from the site to the student with any feedback.
In the past, I’ve used computers and Michigan State’s CLEAR-RIA website to conduct speaking assessments. The advantage to that was the ability to record myself asking questions and set up an interview scenario. The advantage to the Google Voice activity was ease of use. Most students had completed the task in 5-6 minutes with no issues. I will continue to use both sites.