Some examples of how my pupils are doing digital storytelling using VoiceThread.
I end my 6 months hiatus with a great news: VoiceThread Mobile is out! I just installed it on my iPhone and iPad and it works wonderfully. Will experiment with some students in school soon. One slight disappointment is I wasn’t able to doodle. Did I miss anything?
Update: Doodling works 🙂
And Steve Jobs, without you all these couldn’t have happened. We will miss you.
|Lesson Idea Synopsis|
|This lesson aims to engage students in self-directed and collaborative learning using free audio recording and authoring Web 2.0 tools such as VoiceThread (http://www.voicethread.com). One of the main learning outcomes is to improve students’ oracy skills through blended learning in face-to-face and virtual environment. This lesson also offers ICT-based assessment.|
|1. Students are able to read and record their oral passages fluently, accurately and clearly.
2. Students are able to listen and evaluate their personal audio recordings.
3. Students are able to do small group voice recording.
4. Students are able to evaluate audio recordings of their peers.
Just wanted to let you know that we just released a Beta version of our new Asian language support update to VoiceThread. Currently it only works within the text comment field but we’ll add support elsewhere soon. Please let us know your experience.
Great news from VoiceThread! I just tried and it works! That means I can get my students to type comments in Chinese characters 🙂
Received some updates from the great people from Voicethread:
We’ve got a number of delightful feature updates to share with you.
Take your VoiceThread and put it into iTunes or your pocket for on-the-go viewing and presenting. Whenever you export, you now have the choice to either download a full sized high resolution archival movie version or one that has been formatted to go directly onto your iPod or iPhone, or both. 🙂
We’ve had a lot of requests for the ability to make a copy of an existing VoiceThread so that it can be reused for a fresh new audience or just to make a backup copy. Beginning today, you have that ability right on your MyVoice page (from the gear menu). Clicking ‘Make a Copy’ opens up a menu for you to title, describe, and choose the comments you’d like to include in the new version. Now you can spend the time and energy creating the highest quality VoiceThreads to be used again and again, and again.
We now fully support Microsoft Office 2007 file formats when uploading into your VoiceThreads. Microsoft Photo Story 3 video support coming soon.
Beginning January 1, 2009 we will no longer allow multiple simultaneous logins to the same account. While this may have been a convenient feature it was also a potential security risk. After January 1, 2009 whenever you log in to VoiceThread on a new computer, we will automatically log you out of any computers that you were previously logged into.
VoiceThread is creating a digital library of outstanding examples of teaching VoiceThreads and we need our community of educators to help us build this resource. The intention is not just to ‘favorite’ or ‘tag’ great examples but to explore and document how they were created and what was learned. We hope the end result will be a series of detailed articles that other educators can utilize to help guide their work, so please give us as much information as possible. We hope to open the Library in January, so submit them whenever you can and spread word of the project to others. As a token of thanks we’ll be giving $20 worth of archival exports to all of the submitters whose work is published in the Library. Follow this link to make your submissions.
We’ve made quite a few interface tweaks as well, all in an effort to make VoiceThread and its features easier to use and understand. We appreciate all the feedback we’ve received, it definitely helps direct our development as we look to further improve VoiceThread. So thank you and keep it coming! We’ve got more on the way (VoiceThread.com).
We are pleased to announce that we’ve added support for more languages when text
commenting, one of our most requested features. Text commenting now supports the Latin,
Cyrillic, Arabic and Hebrew scripts. We’ll be also adding support for Asian languages soon.
Please keep the great feedback coming in and enjoy!
Thanks for the great news, Habib! Now I can get my pupils to text comment in Chinese in Voicethread. Can’t wait! 😀
Bill Ferriter knew his sixth-grade language arts and social studies students spent time online outside of class, surfing the Web and instant messaging. So when he discovered he could engage his kids online in a collaborative, multimedia slide show called a VoiceThread, he decided to see if he could use it to, as he puts it, “steal some of their online minutes.”
“The answer was a resounding yes,” says the teacher at Salem Middle School, in Salem, North Carolina.
Voicethread featured in Edutopia. Great review of the wonderful tool.
I finally got my Primary 6 pupils to record a Voicethread! It was the same oral practice the other time but this time without my voice. Most pupils were shy and reluctant to try, probably they were not comfortable hearing their own voices (In fact I am not that comfortable too!).
“At last, not Mr Kwan’s voice!”
After much coaxing and assurance, I managed to get 4 pupils, 3 boys and 1 girl to record their picture descriptions. As a matter of fact, I had given the class the picture and instructed everyone to write a script over the weekend. Hence everyone should come prepared. Although the pupils still stumbled here and there, they did pretty well as novices. I am proud of them.
Maybe I should briefly introduce the gadgets I am using. I am using the Asus Eee PC 701 (I hope I can do an educator’s review on this baby soon) and a Logitech Premium Stereo Headset. I did the recording in the classroom, with some effort in keeping the class quiet. I would say the quality of recording is decent.
And the adventure continues…
I am still in the process of planning my next Voicethread project. I might continue to beef up this oral practice idea or go on with another, for example a learning journey I thought of previously.
I am also considering making digital storytelling a project-based assignment for my Primary 5 class. Hopefully they will be more motivated to learn and speak mandarin with this cool tool.
Voicethread is a interesting tool I discovered from fellow edubloggers late last year. I have been playing around with it since then, but yet to produce anything constructive for classroom teaching.
Last month, I created my first decent Voicethread by putting up some photos of my cruise trip and adding some short narrations (in mandarin). I decided to embed it in my classroom blog and show it to my class. The response was lukewarm probably because the photos and narrations did not really interest them.
My next attempt was a creation of ‘The Match Girl’. I inserted relevant pictures of the story and recorded some personal reflections. I showed it to my pupils and they seemed to like it this time round. However I discovered that was because they felt I sounded funny (it was supposed to be sad!).
My third attempt was ‘What is learning?’ , which was inspired by a passage I taught. Once again, my pupils’ response was lukewarm, probably because they wanted themselves to be heard instead! (In fact that is what Voicethread is for!)
Hence the first pitfall – as much as I want my pupils to record narrations and comments, most of them do not have headsets, microphones or webcams at home. The school has some, however most pupils know very little on proper usage of these equipment, which will mean extra time and effort need to be spent on training the children on fundamentals of voice recording.
Moreover, the microphones in school have poor noise cancelling features, hence in a lab setting, it’s almost impossible to do audible voice recording when everyone starts to speak! It’s a pity my school does not have one of those good old listening comprehension labs I used to have in my primary school days.
The next pitfall – Voicethread is unable to accept Chinese characters in text comments. I wish the team will resolve this issue soon so that pupils can drop text comments in Chinese. I am sure Chinese language teachers will rejoice when that happens.
My next Voicethread project is to use it as a tool for oral skills training, which is essentially practice for the picture conversation section in the oral examinations. I will insert pictures and record some good examples of picture description narrated by pupils themselves. I will then embed it in my classroom blog and use it to teach in class.
Future plans also include Learning Journey Voicethreads (The whole school population just had one!). Future of Voicethread certainly looks very promising.
I hope my adventures with Voicethread will get more exciting in the future!