Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Digital Recording of Student's Reading Gemara

Firstly, I'd like to thank Avi Chai for this wonderful opportunity to follow my long lasting interest in recording students reading from the Gemara. After experimenting with using tape recorders (different cassette sizes and speeds made that difficult), voicemail boxes (the program would hang up on them after a pause of several seconds), and computer microphones (some home computers could not save a file in an Mp3 format), I am excited to begin this year with having my 7th grade Gemara class record themselves on handheld digital voice recorders as an assessment of their understanding after completing a section of Gemara.

This week I gave it my first try...

We finished reading the first Mishna and 10 lines of Gemara from Perek Arvei Pesashim. I had the students divide into two groups, one group of about 12 were meant to record themselves, while the other group of 12 worked on an assignment, they would then swap in what I assumed would take about 6 minutes. I assumed wrong...

While the digital voice recorders I purchased are about as user friendly a device as things get, the first time around definitely required some additional guidance to remind them how to use them. The other surprise was that the students were very often not satisfied with how they recorded themselves on the first try, and wanted to do a 2nd take. This quickly became a 3rd, 4th and even 5th take. With regard to this issue, I'm torn. On the one hand, I want my students to feel more confident in their first take, on the other hand, every time they do another take, they are learning the Gemara better and better. Additionally, as an assessment tool that is meant to capture their best effort at that time, I do want them to have the opportunty to submit thier best work. I'll think more about it, and let you know how it goes next time.

Rabbi Tavi Koslowe
Yeshivat Noam

1 comment:

Y Pollock said...

I have my 6th graders call in the Gemara to my school voicemail as a homework assignment. Then I am free to listen to it in the evenings.