SpeakPipe is my new favourite way to collect questions from students in their own voice.
Picture this: A student is at home, listening to my biology podcast and a question comes to mind, that she thinks would be of benefit to the community of fellow listeners. She wants to contribute to the podcast by asking her question in her own voice (like talk-back radio) and hear the question discussed on next week’s episode.
I have investigated and tried quite a number of options. Some of the best include K7, Skype Voicemail, Google Voice and iPadio and CinchCast. But none of these were ideal for the purpose. Some are expensive for students. Some are expensive for me. Some don’t work in Australia (yes – I’m looking at you, Google Voice). Some are cumbersome for my purpose, and let’s face it, if it takes
much any effort, students won’t use it).
Enter SpeakPipe. A new service that is just what I’ve been looking for.
Once you have signed up for a SpeakPipe account (which takes about a minute), you are given a embed code so you can place a SpeakPipe widget on your website, blog, or wiki. NEWSFLASH: As of this morning, you can also put a SpeakPipe app on your Facebook Page (but not on your Facebook Profile or Facebook Group, yet). (Click the links above to see mine in various locations.) If your class uses multiple websites/blogs/wikis you don’t have to choose which one to embed the SpeakPipe widget on – put one on ALL of your pages. Then your students can ask a question right from whichever page they are using at the time!
When someone clicks the SpeakPipe button, it doesn’t take them to some other site where they have to tediously log in. Instead, they are presented with a beautifully minimalist pop-up window that invites them to click a red button to record their message. It’s convenient. It’s easy. It’s free.
The audio quality depends on the microphone in the user’s computer, but sound quality is consistently better than services that use a phone network like K7. Listen to a recent SpeakPipe message I received.
Immediately after recording, the student has the option of supplying their name and/or email, the option to play their message, delete it or send it. As soon as they click ‘Send’, SpeakPipe drops you an email with a link to the message on your SpeakPipe account. There, you can listen to it or download it as an MP3 – which, for my purpose, is exactly what I want to do.
The only thing I don’t love about SpeakPipe, is that it is flash-based so doesn’t work on an iDevice. Other than that… there is little not to like!
At the time of writing this, SpeakPipe is in beta and is free to use.