Monday, February 19, 2007

Audio and Video E-mails

After receiving an empty e-mail today from a former student who composes her e-mails using Discover and Morse Code and then, coincidentally, landing on the YackPack website, I started giving some serious thought to the uses of audio and video e-mail for our students.

There appear to be two major free audio e-mail websites, YackPack and SpringDoo. Both allow you to send audio messages to an individual or a group. The website sends an e-mail to the person (or people) and invites them to the site to listen to the message. They can then reply in audio or the regular way. SpringDoo also has the option of video. Both allow you to "click, record, send" and both allow you to send messages to people who are not members. The support sections of each seem to be similar. I have e-mailed each asking about alternate access and will let you know about any responses.

I think that the concept of allowing our students to audio or video e-mail is amazing. Like any other technology it is limited only by our imaginations.


  1. Hi -

    Wait, there's another even more useful free tool!

    My company has a free video email tool called
    that requires no download or registration and has many features that no other videomail service has. Most important for Elearning is that every message is threaded so that any video in an ongoing conversation called be recalled and viewed with a single click. And our collaborative version,
    , will allow you to instantly see any new videos added by over time by just refreshing your browser. I'd be very curious to know your thoughts about both
    so that we can make improvements specific to Elearning.

    Best, Mark

  2. I checked out GabMail and found it ad heavy and thus not classroom appropriate, sorry. It is one of my responsibilities as an educator to limit my students' exposure to advertisements. Neither of the other sites mentioned had any ads.

  3. There are other tools to consider and try. Eyejot ( is one of them. We recently launched and have received a great reception.

    Like Springdoo and Gabmail, Eyejot lets you easily author and send video messages. But, Eyejot offers even more. For example, it interfaces directly with iTunes so your messages can be sync'd to your iPod. Mobile devices are also supported. Any phone or PDA that can play 3GP video files will work. We've used Eyejot with Windows Mobile phones, Treos and Blackberrys. Another useful feature is our site wizard which makes it easy to embed Eyejot on any web page (blog, social networking site, like MySpace, etc.) as a sort of video voice mail conduit. Like the other tools you've looked at, we've worked hard to create a platform that really easy to use and works across browsers and platforms. It's a fun space and and your readers benefit from having lots of choice.

    With regard to your comment and answer for Mark, Eyejot is ad-free and we certainly have no plans to embed ads in videos or deliver pre or post-roll ads.

    Sorry for the long comment. I represent Eyejot and have a vested interest in getting it as widely exposed as possible and only hope you give it a try too.

  4. I don't know where the comment went, I know I approved it, but someone from another free video e-mail company left me a note here. The company is Eyejot. At I admit it is way cool. You can have it send the video e-mails you receive to your rss feeder or to iTunes. I'm not sure what good that does for people with multiple disabilities though. The whole reason I posted about audio e-mail was the limited reading/writing abilities of those with cognitive challenges. Do you really think my students will care or be able to set up an RSS feed? I can barely do that for myself and I am a reasonably intelligent person with an advanced science degree.

    Attention companies sending me links to your fancy programs. I know they are cool. I know you want people to use them. I know you are excited. This is a blog for teachers of students with multiple and/or severe disabilities. Think before you post here. Does your site have ads? If so I am not going to endorse it. Does your site meet accessibility standards, even just the bare basics of accessibility standards? No? Then this isn't the place to push your wares. You don't know what accessibility standards are? Better Google it and start reading!

    If you think your site can improve the lives of my students, of any students or adults with disabilities, then bring it on! I am happy to review your site. If you want to make your site more accessible for those with disabilities I am happy to help you find resources. But please don't just post here because your competition got mentioned.

    It is not my job to make sure every audio/video e-mail company or any other kind of company gets as many hits on Technocrati as possible.


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