Text-to-Speech and Voice Over (VO)

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(photo credit: The Angry Teddy from Pixabay)

I am now helping an organisation to make some Flipped Classroom videos on English Language. One difficult part of this task is to prepare the voice over (VO) of the videos. Initially I have invited some English teachers to help recording the VO. The result is good but it really takes time as there are a lot of videos to be made. Therefore, I decided to use Text-To-Speech (TTS) software and the result is amazing!

I tried some TTS software, including NaturalReader, Zabaware, Balabolka and some more. So far, I cannot find a free tool that can provide ‘natural’ voices. Although most of these TTS software provide free trials, the available free voices are always too ‘digital’ for making a Flipped Classroom video. Finally I have chosen NaturalReader because of the following considerations:

  1. Natural voices – Most of the voices available in NaturalReader are really ‘natural’. I personally prefer the voice of Lucy (UK), Rachel (UK), Graham (UK) and Charles (UK). Even my teacher friends cannot distinguish whether it is a human voice or computer voice.
  2. Flexible pricing model – It provides a flexible pricing model, so that I can easily acquire new voices if needed. I have chosen the one-off price US$69.5 for PERSONAL mode with two voices provided. Then later I have purchased additional voices with US$39.95 each.

I know it may not be the cheapest choice for a TTS software, but so far I am satisfied with this tool and its ease of use and ordering. It does save me a lot of time in making the videos. If you are interested, you may also have a try from here.

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Google Form Template Creator

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So excited to start this blog and write this first post!

Having worked in e-Learning field for over 10 years, I always want to open a channel to share with other educators about the news and practices on education technology. Sincere thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you will find some useful information here.

For this first post, I would like to share my newly developed add-on on Google Forms called ‘Form Template Creator’. When we have used Google Forms to create online worksheets, evaluation forms, or some other useful files, sometimes we may want to share with other educators so that they can copy this Form as a template to their own Google Drive. They can then edit, distribute and collect responses through their own accounts.

If you search for a solution, you may know that we can simply change the last word in the Form’s ‘Share URL’ from ‘edit’/‘view’ to ‘copy’. Then if you have changed the sharing setting to Anyone or Public, other people will be able to ‘Make a copy’ of your Form by clicking the above URL.

However, one security concern of this solution is that other people will be able to see the unique ID of your Form from the URL, and hence they can edit the original Form on your Drive by simply changing the last word from ‘copy’ back to ‘edit’. Unlike Google Docs and Spreadsheets, it is currently unable to set your Form’s access to ‘Anyone/Public can view only’ through the default settings.

I tried to find a solution too but no luck. Therefore, I decided to write my own add-on to do so. With the use of script, I can easily generate the URL of my Form template, and set the access to ‘Anyone/Public can view only’. It is very useful for me when I want to share my Form as a template with others. As I think it will be useful for other educators too, I published it few days ago and it is now available on the add-on store as follows. Hope you will find it useful too!

Form Template Creator (Google Forms add-on): https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/form-template-creator/mfdmpaofloieiefagedafiaoflcdgdhd

If you have any comments on this add-on, please feel free to drop me an email and I will try to enhance it in the future versions. Thank you!

(If you haven’t used Google Forms before and wanna know more, you may visit the Google Forms official site.)