Recently I went along to the parent information evenings at our primary school. Along with all the other information we received, the teachers in each class discussed the importance of the weekly oral presentation our children are expected to do each week. The children are working on developing good oral presentation skills, including looking at the audience and speaking clearly. Each week they are rostered to do a talk on a particular topic.
Teachers suggest we get our children to practice their talks at home, particularly the talk that is assessed (one per term). My children tend to do well, but they are reluctant to practice before hand, and one of them has a bit of a problem with mumbling. What to do, what to do. One of the teachers suggested that we record the children. In “the olden days” everyone had a tape recorder, but these days it is not as common. Luckily there are things we can do with mobile devices that can help.
The iPad 2, iPhone, most mobile phones and some iPods have video recording options built-in. Simply record your child and have them play it back.
If you are just interested in the voice, or if you (like me) have the original iPad with no camera, there are a number of Apps that are very handy.
AudioNote Lite – this is a free version of an App with a few more features. It has the standard recording feature, but you can also add notes as the recording is being made, which act as bookmarks in the recording. When you have finished, you can play the recording back in its entirety or you can skip to particular parts by tapping on the notes you have made. This is probably more of use to the “serious” speech maker, but I could also see it being handy during lectures. The free version does not allow sharing of files by email or wi-fi. A sound amplification feature is available through general settings. – Free, Universal – will work with both iPhone and iPad. Published by Luminant Software,Inc
Kids Voice Recorder HD Lite – ultra-simple controls for this App. Two buttons on the screen are used to start recording and then stop. When finished, the record button is replaced by a Play button. The App is free but sponsored, so ads will appear along the bottom of the screen. If you turn your wi-fi off, they don’t appear. Free, Universal – will work on both iPhone and iPad. Published by iTech Developers.
QuickVoice® Recorder – Another basic recording App that saves files as QuickTime files. You can share them by email as a QuickTime audio file or as a ringtone. The free version will record any length of file, but you are limited to emailing files of 5 Mb or smaller. The pro version allows you to share files of up to 20 Mb. Since I don’t need to share files, the free version suits my purposes very well. Free, Universal – will work on both iPhone and iPad. Published by nFinity Inc. (The pro version is $2.99)
There are many other Apps available that may be just as useful. Join my Facebook Group as I’ll post links to these apps if and when they go on sale.
It helps to have a checklist of skills for your child to consider when evaluating their own performance. Start with the basics: can everyone hear me and am I looking at the class? Once your child gets those, you can work on pace, expression and all those other skills that great speakers use.
Developing Oral Presentation (Speaking) & Active Listening Skills – A Fly on the Classroom Wall Blog.