For the past few months I’ve seen several giveaways floating around in cyberspace featuring some awesome products from Learnng Resources. I managed to enter a few of the contests/giveaways but never won. 🙁 And then…. Learning Resources contacted little ol’ me about reviewing some of their products and I said “yes, yes, YES!” (Okay, I was probably more calm and professional in the email response but I was screaming excitedly in my head!)
Today I am reviewing the easi-Speal Digital Microphone from Learning Resources. If you read through this post, you’ll find out what the easi-Speak is, how to use it in your classroom, AND how to WIN one for yourself!!
Learning Resources describes the easi-Speak as:
Fun-and-easy wireless recorder encourages even reluctant students to speak up!
Just one button to record, then simply play back and listen (up to 4 hours of
audio). Extended uses across the curriculum—oral language, fluency, phonics,
speech therapy, intervention, math facts, podcasts and more. Built-in USB to
charge via your computer and download (PC, Mac). Upload student-created files
(WAV or MP3) to digital portfolios for authentic assessment, or share with other
educators or parents. Integrated speaker offers quality playback for instant
self-assessment. Headphone jack for quiet listening.
• Is a great tool for storytelling, emotions, phonics, tongue twisters,
fluency, speech therapy, intervention, math facts, podcasts, dramatic play,
assessment, teacher conferences, field trips and more
• Boosts students’ 21st century skills
• Invites all students to talk—ideal for reluctant speakers and
• Download to your computer (PC, Mac) and send files to other teachers,
parents and specialists
• Upload to your class website, virtual learning network or digital portfolios
• Provides simple operation for young students. Reading not required, and
easier to use than a tape recorder
• Allows teacher or student to listen without disturbing others
• Does not require purchase of batteries
• Choose the file format/size that’s right for you
• Inspire creativity and budding musicians
• Offers convenient portability and safety
I literally squealed when I got this little gadget in my mailbox. First thing I noticed was the size of the box. Nice and compact. I do not like having to store bulky boxes in my classroom or home.
Even though the box was small, it sure fit a lot of things inside!
The first thing I did after removing everything from the box was look to see what size batteries it took and guess what – it doesn’t take any! How many times have you had students tell you things aren’t working only to find the batteries are dead? Not with the easi-Speak! It only takes a few hours to charge completely. You could always plug it in during lunch or planning to make sure you always have enough charge or leave it charging overnight.
To charge the easi-Speak simply plug it into your computer’s USB port. It comes with a USB cable too in case it isn’t convenient to have a little microphone hanging off your computer or if your USB ports are on the back of your desktop tower.
The microphone is very light weight and the perfect size for kids. There most important buttons are color coded on the handle of the microphone (red button for record, green button for play/pause). There are also yellow volume control buttons (V+ for volume up and V- for volume down) and yellow double arrow buttons to skip between audio recordings. It comes with a lanyard also in case you or your students would like to wear it around. Great fashion statement! 😉 The USB is concealed by a lid that fastens onto the bottom of the microphone. There is a string attached to it so you don’t have to worry about the lid going missing!
When you turn the easi-Speak on, the light will blink an orange color. When you are recording, the light is red. When you’re listening to audio, the light is green.
Now I know a lot of really awesome teachers who tell me things like, “I’m no good with technology and computers” or “I’m computer illiterate.” Well I’ve got news for them – anyone can use the easi-Speak Digital Microphone! It’s easy peasy, lemon squeasy! Here’s a quick tutorial-
When you plug the easi-Speak into your computer for the first time it will ask you to install some drivers. Follow the prompts and then you should see this:
If you don’t get a popup like this you can always navigate to “My Computer” and locate the easi-Speak that way. If you’ve ever used a flash drive, it works in the same way. Click on the drive. From the popup box click on “Open folder to view files” and you’ll see this:
To access your audio recordings click on the MIC_REC folder. The first time you open this folder you will already have one audio file in there – a sample audio about the easi-Speak. After your record yourself or your students you’ll have a list of files like this:
To listen to your files simply double click on one and it should open with whatever media player you have on your computer. If you’re wanting to save the audio recordings you can either right click on the file and then click “Send to” to send it to a location on your computer or “copy” to copy and paste it onto your computer. Alternatively, you can click on the file and drag it to your desktop or a folder like below:
When you’ve saved your recordings or if you’re just needing to erase things, right click on a recording and choose “delete” and it’s gone!
It really is very simple to use. A LOT more simple than connecting an external microphone and making sure all of the settings are correct. That’s really all there is to it to use it in its most basic form.
Now, how can you use this in your classroom?
- Record students during oral reading fluency assessments. Use the recordings with students and/or parents at conferences to show progress
- Use it after reading a story. Have students pretend to be characters from the book and interview them.
- Let students buddy read together using the easi-Speak. Later, you can listen to their recording and make anecdotal records of how students are performing.
- Need to scribe for a student? It can be difficult to keep up with them at times. Record them and then use the recording to help you scribe.
- Going on a field trip? Take the easi-Speak along and let students record their thoughts and learning.
- Know you’re going to be out of your classroom? Leave it for a substitute. Record the class a special message for the sub to play. (Alternatively, let the sub record your class!)
- Record directions onto the easi-Speak and leave at a center/work station so students can be reminded of directions.
- Recording a podcast would be a piece of cake!
- The possibilities are endless!
Here is a sample audio recording for your listening pleasure: Sample of audio recording
In addition to the ideas above I plan on using my easi-Speak at Christmas time this year. I always record my class singing four or five holiday songs. I then burn those songs to cds, take their picture for the cover, and give each student a copy to give to their parents as a gift. When I do this project, I have to bring my laptop and all of its accessories to school as well as an external microphone. No matter what, the settings with the external microphone always get messed up and it doesn’t work properly the first several times. I plan on using my easi-Speak this year to see if that makes the process easier.
My students also participate in The Great Poetry Race weekly. I try to record the student who had the most signatures that week reading the poem so I can post it on my class website. Again, using the external microphone is a headache but the easi-Speak will make this so much easier I can actually stay on top of getting the students recorded in a timely manner!
Now the best part of all – Learning Resources was gracious enough to let me hold a giveaway so one of you lovely readers can WIN an easi-Speak Digital Microphone for yourself! You have EIGHT ways to enter!!
To earn an entry you may do any or all of the following: (make sure you enter in the Rafflecopter widget below!!!)
• Like Learning Resources on Facebook (tell them I sent you!)
• Follow Learning Resources on Twitter
• Follow Learning Resources on Pinterest
• Subscribe to Learning Resources’ You Tube Channel
• Like First Grade Brain on Facebook
• Follow First Grade Brain on Twitter
• Subscribe to my feed
• Leave a comment on this post explaining how you would use the easi-Speak in your own classroom
The giveaway is open from today, July, 10 and will end at 12:01 am on July 17th. A winner will be announced on July 18th. Good luck to all who enter and thanks to Learning Resources for an awesome product! 🙂