Thursday 16 September 2010

8 voice recording tools for language learning

One of the greatest benefits of web 2.0 tools for English language learners and teachers is the possibility of recording audio and voice to share online. These tools lend themselves for a myriad of tasks you can set up for different levels and purposes.

This is my personal choice of the audio recording tools available. It is only a showcase of the available tools.  Links to ideas on how to use the tools are provided in some cases.

Audacity is a downloadable program for your PC. It is a simple yet powerful audio recording and editing studio. You can read about ideas for using Audacity in this blog post by Keri Lee Beasley here

Voki is a creative voice recording tool to create speaking avatars. It offers multiple customization options. Registration is needed and you get an embeddable widget in various sizes and colours. With Voki you also have a text to speech option. You can see a Voki in action at the top left column of this blog.
You can read about how Shelly Terrell and Ozge Karaoglu used Voki with their students here and here

Voicethread is a tool to build conversations around images, videos or documents.
Registration is needed and you get an embeddable widget which you can add to any blog, wiki or website. For ideas on how to use it, check this Voicethread

Voxopop is a neat tool to create asynchronous conversation threads. Registration is needed.
For more detailed information you can check Nik Peachey´s tutorial and ideas on pages 8 to 11 of his “Web 2.0 tools for Teachers Guide” 

Vocaroo is a very simple voice recording tool. There is no registration needed and you get a small embeddable widget to put on your blog, wiki or website.

Audiopal is another very simple voice recording tool. Again no registration needed, You just need to provide an email to pick up your small embeddable widget to put on your blog, wiki or website.

Chirbit works in the same way as Vocaroo and AudioPal, but you need to register first and the embeddable widget is slightly bigger.

Cinch allow you to record a message to which people can reply. Registration is needed and the recording is available on their website but also embeddable or linkable.

Odiogo is a bit different from the previous tools in that it is not really a voice recording tool but a text to speech one. But it works really well so it was worth mentioning.

I hope this list is useful and if you know of other tools, please leave a comment! 

Readers suggestions

Wimba Voice (Suggested by Teresa) 
Wimba Voice is a web-based service on subscription that allows you to create voice forums for e-learning courses. 

Fotobabble (suggested by Shaun Wilden)
Fotobabble allows you to upload a photo, record voice to it and share it with friends.

AudioBoo (suggested by Alex Wilson)
AudioBoo is a free web-based audio recorder. Registration is needed. It also has a free Iphone app worth checking.

Voice Activity (suggested by Paul)
This is an online (desktop version for Windows, Mac OS, Linux) short voice messages service. You can use it as a training/learning tool as well.

SoundCloud (suggested by Vernon)
It has a web app and an Iphone app. The great thing about it is that you can add comments at specific times of the message/audio track. Worth checking!


  1. I have tested most of these and they have varying factors to offer. However,once you get past the experimentation stage and want to include voice as a serious part of online courses, check out wimba's voice tools. Professional, flexible tools for teaching.

  2. Well timed post as was looking for voice tools for a workshop, have tried the first four but now got 4 more to try thanks Vicky. I'd probably add fotobabble as well given you can record your descriptions of photos.

  3. Dear Teresa,
    I have focused on tools which children and teenagers can easily use for language learning projects.

    Wimba is certainly a great addition to the list if you want to create voice forums in e-learning courses.

    Thanks for the suggestion!

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  5. Dear Shaun,
    Thanks for the comment. I will add Fotobabble to the list!
    And happy to have given you more options!

  6. There are actually quite a few great tools for audio recording out there specifically made for language teaching, letting the teacher set a piece of speaking work for students and collect it in when they've recorded it.

    I'd like to mention Schoolshape Language Lab (which we make -, but in the interest of fairness I should also point out Lingt, who made a very nice online recording tool back in 2008. As I remember, there are also a couple of audio recording plugins for Moodle.

  7. Great list - we've had good success with AudioBoo, especially using it's additional iphone app which means you can record whilst out and about and upload immediately.

  8. Hi Alex,

    Thanks for the comment and the suggestion.
    AudioBoo looks great and it also has an Iphone app! Will add it to the list

  9. These tools are awesome! Thanks for showing me these Vicky.

  10. Brilliant list, thank you Vicky
    I've been researching tools and resources for translation professionals to use to keep their expertise fresh and well trained. This will come in handy!

  11. This is really a cool post. Thanks for the info, I have been using Audacity to record and dub video and audio translation project. The best part is that it's very easy to use, takes no time to learn! If you are doing translation and involve audio, you ought to try it.

  12. I hope this link can be useful too. This is an online (desktop version for Windows, Mac OS, Linux) short voice messages service. You can use it as a training/learning tool as well.

  13. Thanks Paul for the suggestion.
    Have just added it to the post.

  14. Don't forget Garage Band and QuickTime for Mac OS X

  15. I am about to try SoundCloud as an alternative to AudioBoo. The main difference being that SoundCloud's player allows comments at particular points within the timeline of recordings. This takes precision feedback to a whole new level.

  16. Thanks Thomas and Vernon for the suggestions! Sound Cloud looks great!

  17. Thanks for the good voice recording tools they are really helpful...

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  19. Hi, Vicky! My favorite is Audioboo. What's your favorite audio tool. I'm also familiar with Audacity and Fotobabble. Thanks for exposing me to these different audio tools.I'll check them out.

  20. Nice post!! Thanks for sharing really informative and useful post. And thanks for the good voice recording tools. i like it.!! recording app