Note taking is one of the central tenets of Teaching Unplugged, and the more I try to practice it, the harder I realise it is. This is especially true in a one-to-one setting. I find it’s particular tricky because I want to sustain genuine face to face conversation, and having me scribbling away feels like a level of artifice that distracts from the quality of the conversation.
Furthermore, if I’m being honest, I find it difficult to concentrate on both things at the same time. Both the conversation and the note taking suffer, so nobody wins. This is where technology can step in and help out.
Soundcloud is a popular audio sharing platform which was designed to allow musicians to share their music in a quick and convenient fashion. However, as it is essentially an easy way to record and then share audio, I thought I could use it to replace my notebook.
Firstly, you need some hardware (a smart phone running either IOS or Android, or a PC or Mac) and some software (the appropriate Soundcloud app: iPhone, Android or desktop). Then you need to go the website and create an account. Once you’ve done this, you simply need to start your app and get recording. On the iPhone it’s as simple as pushing a big red button.
When you’ve finished, you can share the file with your student by emailing it to them directly from within the app. It has a really useful function that allows you to comment on precise moments in the recording, so I ask my student to use this to identify any problem areas they think they can hear in their own speech as homework. In the next class we go over those points and clear up any other details I think need some attention.