Like many of my peers, I have used Gabcast as a tool to generate mp3 files from phone calls. It's been a great resource, to have a toll-free number that students can call from any phone, and then their voice becomes an mp3 file that is ready to become a podcast episode or a component in a classroom video, or whatever. With so many high-quality microphones (in the form of cell phones and land lines) around, why not use them?!
But as of March 1st, Gabcast is no longer most-favored for classroom use:
Purchase minutes? Wha? When free services become for-cost services, most educators look for the "exit" sign. And I'm no exception.
So I found two good options for capturing voice: K7 and Drop.io.
This is the answering machine I've been using for some time--I've just never used it for students to call. It's really, really easy to set up, and the results are pretty cool: You get a phone number with a Seattle area code that people can send faxes to or leave messages on. If they send a fax, it comes to my email. If they leave a voice message, it comes to my email as a WAV file.
My students were doing the Film on the Fly competition this weekend, and we had success getting voice files from cell phone to computer this way.
I love my Drop.io boxes! There's a post about drop.io in this blog from a while back, but I wasn't specific about what it can do with cell phones. Students can call a phone number and leave a message, and it becomes an mp3 available to everyone with access to the drop (which can be completely public or hidden behind a password). A cell phone can MMS (texting with pics or vids) to my drop.io-issued email address, and the pics and vids show up instantly in the drop. From there they can be linked to, embedded, or downloaded. Gotta love it!