Capturing Student Voice – Literally

There’s a lot of great discussion in the education world today about empowering student voice – giving our kids opportunities to express themselves and their learning. That’s a huge conversation that goes beyond the scope of this post. Today I want to share some ways you can literally capture student voices through the use of audio recording applications. We’re not talking about sophisticated recording and editing here…just the ability to capture audio and play it back. These apps enable students to quickly and easily record anything from reading fluency checks and presentations to peer feedback and checks for understanding. Audio recordings could be a way to differentiate, allowing students with writing difficulties to record their thoughts orally first. The recordings can be saved and shared with the teacher or they might be for the student’s own reflection. Here are some tools that will help you to accomplish the task. I’m only sharing one app for each device, but there are many others out there. If you have another great, easy audio recording app to share, please let us know in the comments!

Recording Audio on a Windows Computer

Built into the Windows operating system is a little program called Sound Recorder. From your “Start” menu, choose “All Programs”, then “Accessories”, and look for “Sound Recorder”. It’s a simple, no-frills recorder. Simply click the red button to start recording. When you are finished, you can save the file (a Windows Media file) to be shared or played back later.

Windows Sound Recorder

Recording Audio on a Mac

Don’t be fooled by the word “Player” in the title of this next app. QuickTime Player is an app on our Macs that does much more than play back media. You can also use it to record audio, video, or even screencasts. Double click on your hard drive and go to the “Applications” folder. Scroll down to find QuickTime Player. When you open the app, click on the “File” menu and choose “New Audio Recording”. A small window will appear. Click the red button to record and then click it again to stop. When you close the window you’ll be prompted to save your file.

QuickTime Player

Recording Audio on a Chromebook

Many of our students now have access to Chromebooks and there are quite a few Chrome apps for recording audio. Audio Recorder is one I’ve tried and it seems to work well. This is truly a bare-bones app, but it will do the job. Click on the microphone icon to begin recording and then again to stop. Click on the hard drive symbol to save. That’s it.

Audio Recorder

Recording Audio on an iPad or iPhone

As with the Chrome apps, there are many iOS apps for audio recording. Voice Record is the one I’ve been using with a few classes. It’s easy to use and has many options for saving, including the ability to save directly to Google Drive. The free version does include ads, but I’ve never seen anything of concern.

Audio Recorder screenshots

Recording Audio on an Android Device

I don’t have an Android device so I have not tried this one, but it had good reviews. Smart Voice Recorder allows you to record and save, including the ability to share directly to Google Drive. If you’ve used this one – or have another audio recorder for Android – please share your thoughts.

Android - Smart Voice Recorder

 Recording Audio on a Kindle Fire HD

As with the Android app, I have not tried this one. If you have a Kindle Fire HD and want to record audio, check out Easy Voice Recorder Free and please, share your feedback.

Kindle Fire HD voice app


I know there are many more apps out there for recording audio, but these are all free and easy to use. Consider trying one of them the next time you need to record and share audio. As always, please leave a comment to share your experiences.


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