Second Language Listening with Blogs and Odiogo

A “Sunday SpeedGeek” presentation by Vance Stevens

13:00 GMT, November 21, 2010, in Elluminate

I recently discovered that English language colleagues were creating listening exercises for their students by recording themselves reading them. I suggested they set up a blog with the readings and have them read by Odiogo.

So for this session, I have in mind setting up two blogs (for comparison purposes) and creating a tag for them whereby we apply the Writingmatrix principle that anyone can find each other's similar blogs, and show everyone how we can collaborate on setting these up so that we essentially create a set of podcast sites with beginning, intermediate, and advanced listening passages.

What I need from participants is for you to come prepared with at least one good story for a short listening passage. I'll get you to email this to a posterous blog or post it to a blogger one, or both. And we'll see how each of these can be enabled with Odiogo to create the listening exercises  that will benefit our students.

Preparing the presentation

In order to give the presentation in an hour I need to prepare a few things.  First I’m going to settle on a tag for this project: fromreading2listening.  I expect this tag to operate similarly for listening as writingmatrix does for writing:

To check if fromreading2listening is a good tag, I first check it against these searches, hoping for no hits (we want zero hits so that we can be sure it’s “our” tag, with no interference from other users; I had to reject a dozen potential tags, including storymatrix, listeningmatrix, listenmatrix, listening2reading, etc. etc.):

So, fromreading2listening is our best tag!

Now to set up some blogs.  I want to experiment with Posterous and Blogger, so I’ve set up:

Rendering blogs text to speech using Odiogo

Odiogo is a plugin you can add to a blog that automatically converts the text in any post to that blog to speech, creates an mp3 file which can be downloaded, and stores these files in a podcast space that can be subscribed to, so that when a post is added, a subscriber to the podcast can have the audio files automatically downloaded to their computers via any number of podcatchers, or directly to their mp3 players using iTunes.

To render your postings from text to speech and podcast your blog, you need to “sign up” at Odiogo, which basically means to provide your blog address and your email address, and the Odiogo LISTEN NOW button should appear at the top of each posting in the blog.  

Here’s all there is to the signup process:

Actually the situation is slightly more complex for Posterous than it is for Blogger.

Here is an example blog where I’ve installed the plugin  You can see the Listen Now icon at the top of each post.

However, when I signed up to podcast this blog, I was unable to install the Listen Now plugin.  However, Odiogo still created a podcast.  I put a link to the podcast site in the right sidebar under my picture:

When I give my presentation I’ll show how the two blogs can be made into podcasts; however, I’ve just realized they both have the same name, so I’m not sure how the urls for the two podcasts will be differentiated.  I guess we’ll find out when I give the presentation ;-) - they weren’t; the second was disallowed until I changed the name of one of the blogs)

Here are the URLs of the podcasts produced:



Finding similar sites through Tagging

The final part of the presentation is to check some of the links to searches on our tag above and see if anything has changed.  We’ll also find out how participants in our session can use the blogs I’ve set up to podcast their listenings for their students OR set up their own blogs over which they have control, but associate them with our project through use of the fromreading2listening tag.  We’ll talk about how that works (and if not during the session, then perhaps later, see if it does).

Here's the recording for the event on Nov 21, 2010:\ AA8C21B.vcr&sid=75 


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