Wednesday 18 April 2012

iPhone for Speaking Homework

Getting students to do speaking homework has always been quite a challenge, but for those students with smartphones we can now get them using free apps to practice and develop their speaking abilities. This speaking tasks requires the download of a free app called the VTR2 Video Recording Teleprompter from

The app acts as a teleprompter which scrolls a text across the screen of your devices and records you speaking as you read the text.

The app can be used on iPhone or an iPad with a camera. It's very simple to use. When you launch the app you see 3 buttons at the bottom of the interface. These are:
1. The video gallery icon which links to a collection of all the movies you make with it.
2. The 'Record' button, which starts the text scrolling and records you speaking.
3. The settings icon which enables you to control the speed and size of the text scrolling and change the text.

To get started, find a text that you want your students to read. I chose a poem as this is more suitable for reading out loud.

Go to the settings and scroll down to text. There you can replace the existing text with the one you or your students want to read.

Then then tap on 'Done'.

 Now go back to the launch screen and click on 'Record'. Read the text as it scrolls down the screen and then when it is finished click the 'Record' button again to stop it.

You can then click on discard to try again or 'Save' if you want to view your recording.

You need to give the recording a name and to save it.

You can then go to the gallery and watch and listen. From the gallery the videos can either be deleted or shared.

Tapping on the 'Share' button enables users to either send the recording as an email attachment or upload it to YouTube.

The video recordings export to email as .mov and are quite big files, so emailing them can be slow.

So, if you have a YouTube account for your class and they are confident enough, it might be good to get students uploading and sharing them there or on a blog.

How to use VTR2 with students
  • You can get them recording short poems or monologues from films. This is particularly effective if they have a model that they can compare their recording to so that they can try to improve.
  • You could get the students to record jokes to share so that they practice good timing and delivery.
  • You can get them to record speeches or quotes from famous people.
  • Try to get students listening to each other and praising the ones they like best.
  • Give students feedback on ow and where they can make improvements and get them to record again.
  • You can also get students to think about how they look when they are speaking, so that they think about some of the visual aspects of communication like eye contact, facial expression etc.
  • Try to keep an archive of your students recorded work so that both you and they can go back and look at earlier work to see improvements.
Most feedback on speaking activities is given by the teacher after the activity and it can be hard for students to remember or be aware of what they did wrong or right at the time, but using a tool like this students can really see and hear what's happening when they are speaking and you can really give them tangible feedback on their performance.

I hope you enjoy this and that your students find it a really useful way of improving their speaking skills.

Related links:


Nik Peachey


ktirasin said...

I liked the idea and the app but will need something similar for android and blackberry too to use it. I can't make buying an iPhone a requirement for my middle school students....

Nik Peachey said...

Hi Ktirasin
Give a try. It has apps for Android and iPhone and can be used in the web browser on a laptop too. It doesn't have the teleprompter capability though.



Taila said...

Hi Nik,

Thanks for the blog. I just checked the App Store and the app is not free, it cost $2.99. I wonder whether this is because I am viewing the app store from Africa? Any ideas?

Nik Peachey said...

Hi Talia

That's odd. It was free when I reviewed it! You could try MailVu as an alternative, but it doesn't scroll the text for you.