Move over Twitter, Here comes Chirp!

Chirp, the latest app to distract students in class and to annoy people on buses and trains.

Recently I’ve been reminded of the final minutes of “The Aviator”, the 2004 biopic film of Howard Hughes, when Leonardo DiCaprio starts muttering “way of the future, way of the FUTURE!” again and again. That’s kind of how I feel when I hear about Chirp, the app that lets you transmit notes, pictures, and links by short bursts of sound. Watch this and this for short descriptions of how it works.

How does this apply to teaching English? I’m not entirely sure yet. The obvious downfall is that it only works on iOS (for now), leaving those with android phones out in the cold, not to mention those poor souls without any kind of smart phone.

But off the top of my head, you could use it to send homework assignment to students. Hmm, I think I can hear everybody saying, “What happened to the white board…?” Fair enough, how about links to useful websites? “Uh-huh, heard it all before, sounds just like another social media gimmick”.

By clicking on the yellow button you will transmit the photo to everyone in the classroom.

Not so fast! It may not be as trivial as it first sounds, especially if you use a lot of online material in your classes. While teaching you could just blast stuff off to students in mid lesson without having to go to the effort of texting or emailing them later. Or in the spirit of two-way communication, students could blast stuff off to you! Forget to print a handout? Chirp it off to the students. A student forget to print their essay? They could just shoot you a link to the file in their Google drive.

Anyway, it’s early days for this app but I suspect it will be big (that sound is just too cool for it not to be). And if you DO happen to have a class where everybody has an iPhone or iPad then you could be the first teacher on the block who makes use of Chirp. How cool is that? Anyway, personal goal time: By the end of the year I want to come up with ten ways to use Chirp productively in class. So…any ideas? Anybody?

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