I know that I am not the first, and will surely not be the last to do a post on Jott, a free web based tool to convert speech into text, but I still feel the need to mention it here for my readers.
So what exactly is Jott, and how can it be used in your toolkit of Universally Designed activities for students? Well, to access Jott all you need to do is go to www.jott.com and setup an account. Once setup you will receive a verification code to use when you call 866-JOTT-123. After dialing the number and entering the code, you can choose to Jott yourself or someone in your contact list (which you can create after signing up for an account). To Jott is simply to speak a message. Once spoken, you can set up a reminder to go along with it if you wish. When finished, Jott will sent you an email or text message with the text of that voice note. How cool is that! You can use Jott to send yourself reminders while driving in the car, create lists, and even add dates to your Google calendar or make a blog post.
So how can this be used in Education? It just so happens that a colleague and I did a session titled “Ugh, I Hate to Write!: Innovative Ways to Use Technology to Motivate Reluctant and Struggling Writers” yesterday. A major component of it was using services like Jott to motivate writers. For example, one critical part of writing that is seldom done these days is writing to learn. These are the kind of things students do to help digest information. They are not graded, and the main audience are the students themselves. Activities typically seen in writing to learn activities include writing breaks (stop talking for 2 minutes and let students write what is on their mind), exit and admit slips, brainstorming or clustering, drawing and illustrations, write arounds and much more. So imagine next time you want your students to participate in a writing break you allow them to call Jott and speak what’s on their mind! This not only increases engagement, but is also much more accessible for students who may struggle with writing due to cognitive or physical disabilities.
The above is of course only one example. I can see students using Jott as an organization tool, a method for delivering admit and/or exit slips to teachers (remember that students can Jott to teachers and other students, not just themselves), brainstorming, and to take notes among many other things. Have an idea for using Jott? Write it in the comments section below.