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Note Taking Made Easier – Audio

Settling on the most comfortable and accessible note-taking method for our access needs and preferences is important, yet the choices available to accomplish this can seem bewildering. Note-taking technology has increased the range of options available, along with accessibility options in the system settings of mobile devices, which cover audio recording, dictation, digitized handwriting and typed text. Apps that make use of, or include one or more of the following functions, can enhance accessibility:

  • Text to speech
  • Bookmarking
  • Images
  • Handwriting recognition
  • Syncing audio to text

Audio Recording

Audio recording is a method that can suit anyone, especially for those who have reading and writing difficulties or Specific Learning Difficulties, because it takes all the stress out of having to try to scribble notes, listen and follow class or lecture discussions all at once. A good microphone is recommended to help pick up the speaker as clearly as possible. For schools and colleges the teachers could record the lessons and make the audio available for students to listen again on the VLE.

Taking audio notes on devices requires an app that has been designed to record quality audio and preferably with a suitable microphone to pick up the speech. There are a variety of apps such as Sonocent, Notetalker and VRP7 that have options for recording quality and audio format. They also have bookmarking features, to bookmark audio recording at any given point. Apps such as Sonocent and Notetalker also allow images to be added to the audio as the recording is made. There are desktop applications for both of these that enable the user to transcribe the audio by typing and associate images snapped during the recordings.

Voice recorder Pro (VRP7) is an audio recorder, with bookmarking, scrubbing and playback options. The recording quality, export and file conversion functions in the App are very good and the recording quality and bitrate can be set too. A worthy set of features for a free app and if you only need audio recording with bookmarking and can manage the other features manually, then an app with these kinds of features is worth checking out.

3 Tips for Output

1. The output of the file format from the app will determine whether you can do what you want with the file or not. Some apps or services may only allow their own audio file format, while others export as MP4, WAV, M4A or MP3 playable on other devices.

2. File naming and storage of audio files needs to be considered too. Apps can get wiped off a device and computers can crash, so audio files, like any other file, should be names so that they identify the content of the recording and the date, then backed up or stored on a Cloud service or external drive to avoid loss of important information.

3. Consider what you want to do with the content of the audio recording. Audio recordings can be transcribed into text either manually by the user, or via a transcription service or through Dragon Naturally Speaking desktop audio transcription feature. Some apps have an optional transcription service available for standard text transcription. At Connect we are able to transcribe audio notes into Braille, Large Print or Accessible PDF’s for those with visual impairment.

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