AudioBoo is a fantastic, free website and mobile app for students to use to create “narrated art” as well as other kinds of short audio recordings about their curricular assignments. If you want to use AudioBoo on a school network, however, you need to be sure the following websites and “ports” are UNBLOCKED on your Internet content filter. If AudioBoo isn’t working, submit a request to your IT department or the IT company / individual managing your school’s Internet filter. These are the URLs and ports AudioBoo Support reports are required to use the service and app:

  • *.audioboo.fm port 80 and 443
  • d15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net port 80 and 443
  • s3.amazonaws.com port 80 and 443

Once those web domains and ports are unblocked on your school’s Internet website filter, AudioBoo should work ‘as advertised’ for recording, publishing, and playing back AudioBoos.

AudioBoo Websites and Ports to Unblock

If you’ve worked at least three seconds on a K-12 school network in the United States trying to access Internet websites, you understand content filtering can be a BIG challenge. Balanced content filtering remains an elusive dream for many K12 teachers and students. In SOME (but not all) cases, contracted IT personnel serving small school districts and IT staff serving larger districts have created overly restrictive Internet content filtering policies which school administrative staff (including the superintendent as well as principals) feel ill-equipped or unwilling to challenge. I started the “Unmasking the Digital Truth” project several years ago, and while I know many people have used those resources I’m not sure how successful that project has been in helping people advocate for change and BALANCE in content filtering policies. This is a goal I hope to continue advancing in my professional work both here in Oklahoma and elsewhere in the months ahead.

By helping students create and share media projects like “narrated art” on websites like AudioBoo, we can help educate not only our parents but also our school staff/community and IT helpdesk about the positive uses of interactive, digital media tools. In far too many communities in the United States today, students as well as teachers are prohibited from using interactive sites like AudioBoo in the name of E-Rate, FERPA, COPPA, and “Internet safety.” While we should both understand and follow the law when it comes to technology use in schools, we also should not fall into the trap of blocking Internet websites so severely that we render the Internet almost useless as an interactive medium for communication and dialog. After all, Oklahoma isn’t China. In addition, our Common Core State Standards require students to publish content digitally for an authentic audience. This is something many schools have not yet allowed students and teachers to do. AudioBoo is an ideal platform to get started meeting this CCSS standard and others, like practicing oral language fluency / oral communication skills.

If you’re interested in getting more information about “Mapping Media to the Common Core / Curriculum” and workshops about technology integration, please visit the “Speaking” page of my website which I’ve recently revised.

Examples of student projects using AudioBoo are available on the “narrated art” page of Mapping Media to the Common Core (at the bottom of the page) and on share.playingwithmedia.com.

For more information and ideas about both creating and sharing digital media products for authentic / differentiated assessment, check out my 2011 eBook, “Playing with Media: simple ideas for powerful sharing.” My second eBook, “Mapping Media to the Common Core,” will be published in early 2013. The framework for “Mapping Media to the Curriculum” (including links to setup steps, available tools and example student projects) is available now (online and free) in draft form.

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  • http://twitter.com/CourtlandFunke Courtland Funke

    On one hand, I agree with what you’re saying. Too often, my teachers go to workshops and see demonstrations of technology projects that they can’t do here at school because the content is blocked by our filter. I think that’s the fault of both the tech department/district office but also of the presenters who too often are not working in public schools and have no idea what teachers really have access to in public schools.

    But I also think AudioBoo is not a good example. Along with a couple other teachers in my building, I present locally on the topic of using mobile devices as creative tools rather than consumer tools. AudioBoo is one of the apps we’ve looked and and found it lacking. 3 minutes and one picture isn’t enough for a student to create a truly meaningful project and gives them no room to explore or expand their skills.

    My biggest issue though, and the #1 reason why we don’t use it, is that projects must be uploaded to AudioBoo’s web site (as recently as the last time I tried the app). I would never have my students post projects to a third party web site where we then lose control of the files and how and when they are seen by the outside world. We currently use SonicPics which, while a paid app, gives students a lot more control and freedom over their project as well as offers a number of different ways to get those projects off the device and onto our own web sites should we choose to publish them.

  • http://www.speedofcreativity.org Wesley Fryer

    Thanks so much for your comment and sharing your perspective, Courtland. I definitely agree that AudioBoo is a basic tool and there are many options out there for creating more sophisticated/developed projects. Many of the teachers I’m working with in Oklahoma haven’t EVER helped students create a media project of any type, however, so an AudioBoo project is a BIG leap forward and an excellent entry point into multimedia. I agree with you that we need to be wary of 3rd party sites which may be here today and gone tomorrow. I really believe the “ethic of minimal clicks” is powerful, however, and is possible in many cases when sites self-host content for you. AudioBoo, SoundCloud, ShowMe, and Educreations are all examples.

    Long term I agree it’s best if the school and learner has direct control over the content so it can’t fade away. My experience has generally been positive that when a site goes away, there is some time to migrate it to other places. This was the case with Cinch earlier this year.

    I’m glad to hear you like SonicPics, I’ve used it a bit but not in the latest updated version. I’ll be sure to check it out.

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