After reading several blog posts about individuals using Jott, most notably Liz Kolb’s blog post, I decided to investigate the educational potential of Jott. As you can easily imagine, I quickly found this service to be both useful to me as a communication tool with amazing educational potential as a learning tool.
In case you have yet to try Jott, this free service allows subscribers to use their cell phones to send messages to themselves or to others by through e-mail or text message by translating voice to text. Unlike desktop software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, you do not have to train the service to understand your voice. There is no sign in when you call the service as it uses caller id to identify who you are. In addition, subscribers can use Jott to write blog posts, post Twitter tweets, and even schedule calendar items in Google calendar. While I am currently having a bit of difficulty with the text message piece, sending e-mail trough Jott is a breeze.
Potentials for education?
Communication and Collaboration: in utilizing the cell phone, students can communicate with others through e-mail without paying for a data plan. Students can use text messaging for collaboration without needing to pay for a text message plan. Students and teachers can send Jott messages to one person or create contact groups and send a message to everyone in the group at once. You can send Jott’s through a mobile phone or from their website, thus addressing the needs of students who don’t have cell phones (as an aside, Jott’s website is currently blocked in my school district).
Organization and Time Management: instead of carrying around those hated paper agendas (my experience is that students hate to use those paper agenda), all students, but especially those with special needs who have difficulty writing, can use Jott to send themselves homework information and to-do lists. The service is even set up to allow you to schedule reminders! Great for students who have to submit assignments or for teachers who have appointments with parents.
Completing Assignments: I haven’t heard anyone mention this one yet – using Jott’s free voice to text tool, students can use Jott to record voice responses to questions which will automatically convert what they say into text. Here is a perfect way to modify the manner in which a special needs student with fine motor or other writing issues takes tests or records homework responses. Theoretically, you don’t need a cell phone to use Jott. A subscriber can assign multiple phone numbers to their account. Add a land line and have the student speak into a regular telephone. All responses are directly translated to text for FREE. While there is a 30 second limit per message, you can send unlimited messages; therefore students have 30 seconds to respond to each question. They can preview their Jott before they submit and rerecord if necessary.
Services like Jott demonstrate yet again that cell phones have a place in the classroom. While the prevailing attitude continues to be “get those cell phones out of schools”, my question will continue to be “why, on the one hand, are we begging governments for money to purchase more computers in schools and then, on the other hand, trying to ban mobile computers that students already have with them?”
Here’s a 2 minute video that summarizes how to use Jott: