One Day on Earth 12-12-12

Last year on 11-11-11, my kiddo and I participated in the One Day on Earth 11-11-11 project by shooting and uploading this very short video clip as we walked through our local forested area.  See the 11-11-11 video trailer below.  What will you be doing on 12-12-12?  Consider participating.  The One Day on Earth site explains, "Together, we are showcasing the amazing diversity, conflict, tragedy, and triumph that occurs in one day."

Not sure what to submit? Get inspired here.  I particularly liked the Educational and People and Culture sections. The Educational Toolkit has some ideas for educators.

I should be in a pretty interesting place somewhere in the world on 12-12-12.  This time I'll be sure to record at least a minute to gain access to the final online copy of the film.

My One Day on Earth 11-11-11 post.

Happy filming!


Ed and Tech Play With Web 2.0 Tools Part 3: VoiceThread

VoiceThread is a handy, easy-to-use tool in education with potential for digital storytelling and beyond.  It can be used to hold debates, explain, describe, persuade, etc.  It allows participants to interact on one platform in five different ways: writing, recording audio, doodling, video, or phone.   My online class will soon be experimenting with VoiceThread (VT).  I’ve used it in my College of Ed classes, a middle school classroom, with my adult ESOL classes, and at a personal level for several years now; I continue to see its benefits.

Getting Started and Examples in Education
I presented on VT back in 2007ish and hadn’t returned to the how-to’s since.  I was tickled pink to find that they still have their original (updated) directions. If you don’t get anything else from this post, do yourself a favor today and watch slides 5 and 6! (Use the arrows to access them quickly.) The first avatar still cracks me up.  What a great example of digital storytelling!

Viewable in a lovely world where I never age is my first attempt at a VT. I was surprised when a year after creating it, I returned to it and discovered people from around the world had responded.  It was memorably one of my first “ah ha” moments that this thing called social media, multimedia and digital storytelling had a bright future.  Embedded below is one my kiddo created years ago explaining her learning from a travel experience.

Wondering how to use VT in your content area?  Here are examples from various content areas and age groups aggregated on the VT site.   Search VT within a defined field to see how other educators use them.  For example, in my field I search for ESOL, ESL, EFL, ELL, assessment etc. Michelle Pacansky-Brock is a great resource to follow on Twitter or at Teaching Without Walls as well.

Ways I have used VoiceThread and things that have worked for me
Set-up: A. Use ones already created. (Do a search by browsing on VT.)  B. Make my own that I use either in the classroom or have students respond to.  C.  Guide students in making either a class, group, or individual VTs and in responding to each other.

Instructions/Purpose: It is important to have a clear set of instructions and purpose for the VT assignment. 

Storyboard/Process:  When students create their own VTs, I often have them storyboard their responses first.  This works well in a process oriented assignment.  For ELLs, it gives them the opportunity to use all modes of the language: reading (if they did research on the topic), writing/editing, speaking, and listening.  I provide checklists and grading rubrics with expectations along the way.

Collaboration: I have experimented using VT when working with multiple sections of a class.  I teach two sections of one class, and the students never see each other, but they are able to correspond, discuss questions, etc. via VT.  This also works in online courses when students enter VT from around the world.

Things I have learned as I’ve used VT
Privacy settings: I need to be mindful of students' comfort levels and privacy.  At this point, I do not have any VT that my students have made to share in public because as a class they opted to keep them private for various reasons.

Comfort level: I once had a middle school student who did a phenomenal job on a VT.  He was engaged in a way I hadn’t seen him engaged before.  He put a ton of effort into his VT, from the writing process to recording his voice several times.  When we got ready to share with the class, he hit “delete.” It was beyond his comfort level to share with others.  I think this is important to honor and another great reason if it is a project to be assessing with a rubric and/or checklist along the way.

Recording Issues:  The reality is that the tech doesn’t always work.  With best efforts, particularly in online courses, some students have hardware limitations and experience difficulties recording audio/video.  This is where the writing option comes in handy.

Potential I see in VT beyond what I have done 
Portfolios: VT could be a portfolio for students to showcase their work and reflect. 

Global Collaboration: VT could be exciting to work in a more global way with other classes.

Course Development: It could be fun to add to the same VT with subsequent classes.  This could work great with vocabulary.  Students in Spring term class create VTs for vocabulary on chapter 1 and Fall term create them for chapter 2, etc.

Get started with the free version of VT.  So far with planning, I have been able to use only the free version.  There’s an app for that.  Last year, VT introduced an app.  It’s straightforward to use and allows students yet another way to be mobile with their learning.  

How do you use VT?

Happy VoiceThreading!


Global Education Conference 2012

Interested in topics surrounding global education?  Join the 2012 Global Education Conference from the comfort of your work place or home.  It runs November 12-17th with access to sessions afterward.

Check out the sessions in this brochure.  Follow the hashtag on Twitter #globaled12.

Happy conferencing!  

2011 Global Ed Conference Post


Ways to Use Thinglink in Education

Visual literacy is an emphasis in ESOL. The visual aspect helps language learners develop vocabulary and much, much more.  It is also beneficial for many learners.  As an online instructor who wishes to bring more meaningful visuals into the classroom, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for visuals for adult learners as well.  There are many online options available to us.

When Tech:  Thinglink Education is one option with a lot of potential.  The ThingLink Education site describes it as an “Easy-to-use editor, teachers can create immersive and engaging experiences by adding tags to any image in a few minutes: Create authentic, valuable, and rich interactive stories around historical events using media (video, sound, photos, written words, etc.) found online. Annotate graphs and timelines. Record an instructional message to students inside an image. Embed interactive images into student blogs. Enable students to curate content inside an image to demonstrate understanding of a topic."  

At ISTE, I received a free upgrade to the educator’s account of Thinglink Education, which took me from 50 pictures to 500.  

Met Ed: It may be no surprise that Pinterest is a great starting place to see the potential in education.  Explore the pictures at Thinglink Education on Pinterest. It will take you a few clicks to be able to interact with the picture in its intended way.  (Wave your cursor over the Thinglink and click on the circles.) I found this interesting one there by Mr. Loret’s World History class that demonstrates how students are using it!  Here's another Thinglink jumping place to gather ideas and examples.

Above is my first try with Thinglink. (Wave your cursor over the words, and click on the circles.) It’s very basic, but it shows me the potential firsthand.  I made this in Tagul and uploaded it to Thinglink.  I’ll use it to introduce a few options of online timelines my students can explore for an upcoming course.  It only took a few minutes to make.  I can imagine linking to videos I upload to You Tube or audio instructions I make on SoundCloud.  There are many possibilities.  With an assignment on theories of SLA, students could link to credible articles, videos, etc. that discuss and describe the theories.  Students could even have a “debate” starting place with the words “yes” and reasons on one picture and “no” and reasons on another.  They could then debate away, either by recording their voices and linking to Vacaroo or SoundCloud or simply by writing reasons on the picture and debating in person.  Thinglink has an option to invite others to work on a picture collaboratively.  There are a ton more possibilities, ways librarians, musicians, and others are using it too.  This Wired article gives an overview of a few.

Happy Thinglinking!