Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dear Blogger, why do you not support audio!

Because language classes here do not meet five days a week as they should, this semester I am teaching an odd supplemental Arabic class, which gives two extra hours to some students in 101. As you might imagine, the students who sign up for extra classes are already the most motivated, and having two extra hours mostly exacerbates the gap between them and the other students, however, that is not my complaint for now.

Rather, it has to do with my brilliant portfolio idea, that thanks to blogger's lack of audio support became considerably less brilliant. Each week, I have been having students write or record themselves in Arabic. For the final project, I thought it would be nice to have all of the portfolio pieces together on a blog, and they could comment on their improvement.

Alas, it turns out that neither blogger nor free Wordpress accounts allow for the uploading of audio files, only video files (WTF!!!!). You can put audio files on your blog that are hosted elsewhere, but this is more complicated. And you can call my students digital natives, but they are not all that tech savvy.

So first, I tried converting the files with QuickTime, only to discover that even though I saved as "mov" and it said "movie" there are both audio and video "mov" files, and mine were the former. Grrr!

So, I then had to make all of these damn audio files into fake movies by assigning them as the soundtrack to a still image in iMovie. Now, they are "movies".

And of course this was further complicated by the fact that the textbook website will only let you listen online, so I had to "download" all of those recordings by recording them as they played on my computer, which did not do much for their sound quality.

6uzz fiiki ya taknolojiyya!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tattoos and Text Messages

'Tis the season of stressed out students, seemingly endless grading, and hours spent searching for appropriate reading and listening material for the final exam.

However, there are lighter moments. First, there was the student who came to me asking to translate a text message from her Arab friend. It said: "Your voice is tender, soft, and sexy." Today, another student (not enrolled in Arabic) came asking for translations of phrases for a tattoo. The phrases themselves were pretty awful, but since she said she didn't want to rely on Google Translate, and I have seen so many bad Arabic tattoos with the letters disconnected and/or reversed, I was happy to oblige.

Now, back to that final exam!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Phone Blogging

Although I have now had an iPhone for a year, I have never been much for commenting or blogging on it (I do read a lot on it in google reader). For blogging, I found it hard to deal with the website on the tiny screen. For commenting, I find I can't revise my comments in the comment box, which is annoying.

However, since I am waiting for an airport pickup from a conference, and will be on on another airplane in less than 24 hours after teaching two classes tomorrow morning, and I am very tired, I thought I would give it a try as my brain feels as though it can handle little else.

It turns out blogger has an app! Probably it has had an app for a while, I just never knew. It is much easier than dealing with the website, although I have so far had one issue with not being able to see text while typing.

This is promising though, not only for the return of my own blogging, but also for several teaching/research projects I have planned. Stay tuned!