niekverlaan / Pixabay

Thanks to Richard Byrne and his fabulous blog, I just learned about Synth.

As the headline of this post indicates, it will immediately become one of the favorite online tool for any teacher of English Language Learners.

Synth lets you record audio for up to 256 seconds at a time for free, save it, and provide a link or embed code. It’s available as a SmartPhone app or as a web tool.

Big deal, you might say, there are lots of tools out there that let you record audio online (you can see a ton of them at The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English).

Yes, and here is why Synth is so good – it provide automatic captions for what you are saying!

The captioning isn’t perfect, but what automatic captioning system is? It’s pretty decent.

Plus, you can set-up your audio recording so that others can leave audio recordings in response to yours.

Edublogs tried at one point to provide an audio comments feature on their blogs, but it didn’t work very well and they’ve never found a decent replacement.

Synth could be a perfect substitute – just embed an audio recording and students can create their own in response – and read the text of what they say!

Here’s one I made in seconds:


ADDENDUM: Chris points out in the comments that Google Slides now has a similar speech conversion to text feature (see GOOGLE SLIDES GETS AUTOMATED CAPTIONS – HUGE HELP TO ONLINE TEACHERS OF ENGLISH; COULD MAYBE HELP IN REGULAR CLASSROOM). It seems to me that Synth would be far more useful for my purposes because:

* It’s extremely simple to use, since audio and transcription is its only purpose

* It has the feature of being able to have a connected conversation with students respond to each other’s comments

* It’s easier to read since you only see a few words on the screen at once

I’m interested in hearing other readers’ opinions on this, too…..

Of course, the very obvious benefit Google Slides has over Synth is that it does provide simultaneous captioning, why Synth doesn’t provide a transcript until after you’re done speaking.