Voxie is one of several voice recording/voice memo apps available in the App Store, but it has several features that make it stand out from the rest in this category. The recording quality is excellent, and you can adjust the default sampling rate to fit your needs and available storage (starting with 8Khz and going all the way up to CD quality or 44Khz). Unlike several apps that have a limit on how long you can record, the only limitation with Voxie is the amount of storage on your device. The most important factor in helping me pick Voxie as my favorite audio recording app, however, is that the developers have paid attention to Apple’s accessibility guidelines. Thus, the app is fully compatible with the VoiceOver screen reader used by people with visual disabilities. In fact, I found out about this app from a blind friend who records a weekly podcast using Voxie. Voxie is not just a note taking or voice memo app. It gives people with visual disabilities the ability to create content such as podcasts, their own oral histories and more.
Program Functionality: A+
Program Functionality Rationale: As I already mentioned the app is fully compatible with VoiceOver, but it has other features that benefit students with limited motor skills as well. One is the ability to start/stop a recording just by shaking the device or through a single click anywhere on the screen (Express Mode). This feature can be customized further in the settings so that recordings are automatically saved when Express Mode is invoked a second time to end a recording. I also like having the ability to pause a recording. When you start a recording, the Record button will become a Pause button. You can pause the recording as many times as needed, then when done, tap the Actions button and choose to save the recording or to email it to another student or the teacher.
One of the standout features of Voxie is the VoxieSync feature, which will let you transfer a recording over a Wifi connection. To use this feature, go into Recordings and choose VoxieSync. You will then get the address you need to enter into your web browser to transfer the recording from your mobile device to your computer. Recordings are in the AIFF format, which can be easily converted to MP3 in iTunes.
Students can organize their recordings into categories (such as different subjects) from the main screen and these categories are customizable. Recordings can also be flagged or labelled as Hot (for urgent tasks).
The interface is very simple, and all buttons and controls are labeled clearly and have good contrast for those with low vision. Even though the app is designed for the iPhone, it will run on the iPad (which I just realized does not have a built-in Voice Memos app). The interface does not look too bad when it is zoomed on the larger iPad screen.
Overall Educational Value: A+
Overall Educational Value Rationale:
For students in higher ed, this could be a really valuable lecture recording app because it does not place a limit on recording length. The simple interface and the Express mode features, along with VoiceOver compatibility, also make it an ideal app for the special needs classroom. For younger students, my one concern is that the app can connect to paid transcription services (including one for turning audio recordings into Twitter status messages). However, these two options require the creation of an account before they can be used. It would be nice if these options were included as in-app purchases which could then be disabled using the new restrictions available in IOS 4.2. Right now, they just open a website in Safari where pricing information was somewhat difficult to locate.
I would definitely recommend Voxie for a variety of uses, from recording quick reminders and voice memos on the iPad (where a Voice Memos app is not available), to recording lectures and longer pieces such as podcasts. The overall accessibility of the app is something to be commended. The only other app that comes close to Voxie in terms of accessibility, ease of use and features is SoundAMP R. This is sound amplification app that also has recording capability. SoundAMP allows bookmarks inside a recording, which can make it easier to find key passages in a long recording. However, SoundAMP R is five times the cost of Voxie. For the price, I think Voxie is a fine recording app I would recommend to anyone looking for a good voice memos or mobile podcasting app.
Classroom Use Examples/Ideas:
Voxie can be used in many situations: from recording podcasts to interviewing community members for oral history projects. The app’s accesibility opens up many possibilities for students with visual disabilities, from note taking and lecture recording to podcasting and other types of content creation. For teachers, the app could be used to record homework assignments, or to record reading samples, IEP meetings, and more.
Developer: Bottle Rockets
Developer Website: http://www.bottlerocketapps.com/
iTunes Link: http://itunes.apple.com/app/voxie-pro-recorder-twitter/id294895817?mt=8
Reviewer Name: Luis Perez
Reviewer Blog: http://mobilelearning4specialneeds.wikispaces.com
Reviewer Twitter: lfp72