Happy Steve

Innovation and Learning

Start with clarity of intent.

Now build it out with an evocative vision. Improvise progress by tinkering: with lots of trial and lots of error. The not knowing is the best bit: the mysteries the surprises, and from time to time the windfalls! 

Hello there, I'm Steve Collis! 

Click on "contact", won't you, and wave right back at me?

My Step by Step Mobile Audio Blogging for High School Classes

I've created this page to bring together everything I've learnt about using mobile (cell) phones for audio blogging. You can set this up easily, and for free. Students only pay for a local call.


Students ring a local number, and what they say is recorded and then published at the class website. The two pilot projects I've been involved with are http://wordsworthreflections.wordpress.com and http://australianenvironment.wordpress.com . In each case we added a map with red dots representing visitors to the website, so students could see they had a global audience.

I've created two tutorial videos, below, showing you how to set this up. Importantly, in the tutorials I assume no technical expertise. You should be able to follow the instructions exactly as shown, and have yourself set up within half an hour or so. To set up the students will take a little longer, but it's very easy, just time consuming. A class of 20 students might take an hour to set up, once you've passed around a bit of paper for them to write down their mobile phone number and email address.

Parental permission is a good idea, especially because there is a small cost involved with students ringing a local number from their phone. You can see a letter I used here.

Before I go further I had better post the tutorial videos. They go for about 18 minutes and show you exactly what to do, including how to set up a pin number for the student so they can audio blog from any phone, even a landline, and how to put one of those maps on your website. Here they are:



A summary of the steps:

1. Get parental permission.

2. Create your wordpress.com website.

3. Gather student information - their mobile phones and email addresses.

4. Set up the students at utterli.com and set up cross posting from utterli.com to your wordpress website.

Then you're away!

There are SO many applications for this technique:

- students could be roving journalists, posting one audio story a week about local events and issues

- students could interview family, friends, local community members or experts, with their phones

- students could broadcast persuasive political speeches each week

- or poetry, or short, dramatic stories

- they could give a 'position statement' on a particular issue

- they can record their reflections

- they can role play important historical or fictional people

- they could record 'good ideas', i.e. the whole class, over many weeks, rings and records whenever they get a great idea. The class website would become a repository of the class' great ideas.

Why bother with mobile phone blogging?

In all of these cases, students are developing their oral literacy, learning to speak deliberately for different audiences, contexts and purposes. I have a feeling that a lot of schools don't do oral literacy well. We focus on writing as a means of expression, and then 'do' oral literacy once a year with class speeches, which scare the students to death. Or is that just me??

Please, if you try this system with your students, let me know how it goes.

Below I'll link all my previous posts about mobile phone blogging:

1. My first post, before the projects launched.

2. A report on the first day with the students.

3. An audio blog recorded by myself on an excursion with the students.

4. A video blog recorded by myself on the same excursion.

5. A word of warning about using your mobile phone to record ambient conversations, such as a presentation - I found the volume wasn't high enough.

I still have some footage of the students talking about the value of the mobile phone blogging. I'll put this footage up on this page at a later date once I have permission.