While browsing through my Twitter feed the other night, a tweet from Eric Curts (@ericcurts) caught my eye. It was a link for an online teleprompter called teleprompter.me. The interesting thing about this particular teleprompter is that it is voice activated. Here’s how it works.
To get started, open Chrome on a Mac, PC or Chromebook and navigate to teleprompt.me. When you do this the first time, you will be prompted to allow access to your microphone. This is required because this particular teleprompter will only move text on the screen when it matches spoken words with the words in the script. If you don’t see the prompt, look for a camera icon in the address bar and click that to change microphone settings.
The website has a very intuitive interface. It’s simple, but everything you need is right where you think it should be. In the top right-hand corner there is a box to paste your script. You can type in this box if you prefer, but most people will find it easier to work in something like Google Docs or Word first so that you can save and revise your work.
Once your script is ready, choose a font size and a font color from the toolbar at the top of the page, and then start talking to see the script advance on the screen. Press the restart button to reset your text if needed.
When I first started using teleprompt.me, the sample script that was loaded in the app was a less than ideal for schools. It wasn’t offensive, but it was a speech from the movie Fight Club and some of the language was a little saltier than you might want for classroom use. I decided to send a tweet to the developer to see if there was any possibility that he would consider changing that to something else so that more schools could take advantage of his tool. I’m pleased to say that he responded within minutes, and was happy to make the change. Kudos.
Using Teleprompters in the Classroom
Teleprompters are great for any kind of video project, because it means that students don’t have to memorize all their lines, or write out cue cards on huge sheets of paper. A free online teleprompter like this one could be projected on a large screen and placed behind the camera so that students can see it while recording.
Alternatively, you could just have the script playing on a laptop or on a computer monitor. Either way, placing the teleprompter as close to the camera as possible will help keep all eyes pointing in the right direction and minimize the appearance that students are reading a script.
You could also use a teleprompter with podcast scripts if you wanted or for practicing reading fluency.
I think that teleprompt.me is a great option for schools that are looking for an online teleprompter. Unfortunately, it only works in Chrome, but I realize that there are developer tools and technologies here that other browsers may not support yet.
If you need a version for other browsers, try cuepromter.com. It’s not voice activated, but otherwise, it will do the job. On iPads, check out PromptSmart Pro Lite or PromptSmart Pro for a similar voice activated experience. I also like the Parrot teleprompter app.
Finally, teleprompt.me is a free site to use, but you can support the developer here by making a free will donation.