I remember the days when the only way to record yourself through your phone would be to call a friend and have them hit "record" on a tape recorder on their end (or why not just use your own?). Then along came Gcast and gabcast. They were great! You could call a toll-free number, enter a PIN, and record to your heart's content! This was great for classrooms, as now there was no need to have any recording software or laptop. All that was needed was a phone (which pretty much comes standard with any classroom) or a student or teacher cell phone. Great!
Unfortunately, Gcast and gabcast are businesses, and they need to make money. Through gabcast, you can purchase minutes ($.10 a minute...reminds me of old Sprint commercials) for use for recording from your phone, and Gcast will be charging a $99 yearly subscription fee for recording phone calls (Edit: uploading audio you already have recorded is still free). It was bound to happen. I wish Gcast would have given more than a week's notice, as I was planning on using their service for a class project in two weeks. I can't really afford to spend the $99 out of pocket for a subscription at the moment, so I needed to find a new way to record from a phone. (Edit: Gcast is offering prorated subscriptions for educators through the remainder of the school year.)
Luckily, someone found another way, and it is known as Yodio. Currently, it is free to record from your phone on Yodio, so I think I will be trying this out with my Advanced Algebra classes later this month. I am going to see if there is a way to allow kids to record from their cell phones or my class phone and then funnel them into one page for listening, and I think there is a way. It seems that I can search for recordings by unregistered phone numbers while also including a PIN, but I guess we'll wait and see.
Aside from still being able to record for free from a phone (how long until Yodio switches to a pay plan, I wonder?), Yodio has another feature that could be very helpful in extending digital storytelling. Not only can I use audio in Yodio, but I can use digital pictures that I (or a student) uploads to help share my thoughts. Then, it can be embedded and emailed, as well.
In the end, it could be a blessing to the quadratics project I am having my students do to be able to use Yodio instead of Gcast, as I was planning. I was more familiar with Gcast, but part of being a lifelong learner and teacher is to be able to try new things, and this is yet another opportunity.