VoiceThread Updates iOS App

VoiceThread

I have been a fan of VoiceThread for many years and use it with our school under the Ed.VoiceThread domain. The iOS app was a getting a bit long in the tooth so was excited to see that they have updated it to both take advantage of the iOS 7 update but also to make the use easier. I have been testing it and even though I had some issues to work out since we not only use the ed.voicethread sub-domain, we also use a single-sign on through Shibboleth which I think may have made things a bit more complicated on our end.

I was successful when I chose the following setup in Settings in VoiceThread:

VTiOS7

The sharing has improved but still not as powerful as on a desktop or laptop. The addition of groups will definitely help although I generally start in the computer lab where students create the VoiceThread and then embed it into our Moodle course inside of a forum. We could do the same with a group although I would need to manage those groups which can be more effort then I want to put into the process. Still, the fact that VoiceThread has continued to iterate and improve their product is impressive given they had to adjust to the mobile non-Flash world.

To learn more about the changes to the iOS app go here.

 

 

Creativity at the Point of Passion

piano keys

Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8207694@N08/4224038790

My inbox today held a great example of how students will use their iPads in ways we never thought of when we discussed possible uses. Neil used his with his school sponsored VoiceThread account to record himself playing the piano. He tells the story in his blog post so I will just say that his example highlights what our students can and will do when creativity and passion intersect along with technology. His ability to share his passion with the world is what has changed. Go Neil!

“Pink Panther Song by Neil M.

I recorded the Pink panther song on the piano. Below I inserted the recording of it, on VoiceThread, using the iPad. This particular piece was the hardest I had ever played, taking me over three weeks to master. My piano teacher helped me to break it down and lead me to success. On the day I recorded the song, I had just had a piano lesson. Even though I thought I was ready, playing a three page song with no mistakes is difficult. Especially when I know that one mistake and I would have to restart from the beginning. After about 40 previous mess-ups, I reached the end on a perfect run. This song really challenged my piano skill. Please enjoy! This song took a lot of effort to play. Maybe the only reason I was able to perfect it was because I saw my friend in Pennsylvania played it when he was nine. So I thought, “If he could do it, then I certainly could too.”

Read the original post at  http://pdroom212.edublogs.org/2012/11/29/pink-panther-song-neil-m/

Because folks wanted to watch the VoiceThread but did not have an account, I exported it as a movie file for uploading here. Of course, the music is copyrighted so I am going out on a limb to show it here as the performance rights were not purchased.

PinkPantherbyNeil

 

Directing the Rider

Direct 1

At our October Faculty Meeting I gave a presentation entitled “Motivating the Elephant” based on the book Switch by the Heath Brothers. See this post for that presentation. At our next faculty meeting, my presentation will be on Directing the Rider which is the second strategy for preparing an organization for a switch. The feedback from my first presentation was mixed in that some colleagues felt that they were doing all they could with what they had to work with while others had concerns that a decision had been made without any discussion. I am attempting to address the first concern with the first slide in the presentation as I was not talking about teachers not doing enough, rather I was talking about the need of our organization to do more. We teachers are often too willing to attach messages to ourselves instead of seeing them as institutional. I can not fully address the decision being made as I do not have all of the information. My sense is that the decision is very much in flux as a group of teachers are traveling next week to Webb School in Knoxville TN to see that school’s iPad deployment. Another school they will visit is Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga TN which recently switched from Windows Tablets to MacBook Airs. Teachers and administrators are going to learn how these two schools utilize the devices in their learning community. Our Middle School Director, Jon Meredith, French Teacher, Teresa Engebretsen, Algebra and Pre-Algebra Teacher, Gib Fitzpatrick, and Sixth Grade Language Arts Teacher Patti Donnelly are part of the group. Patti is also one of the two teachers testing out laptops and iPads with their students. I look forward to hearing what they have learned and how it will help our school determine if we want a 1 to 1 deployment of a student device.

I believe my presentation on Monday will help address some of the concerns raised and move the conversation to helping us all use what we presently have available in addition to new ideas and strategies for learning in this modern era. I will be using a Google Presentation but recorded this VoiceThread version ahead of time for colleagues who cannot attend the meeting on Monday.

 


Parent Night at Durham Academy Middle School

Atlas

Atlas, it’s time for your bath‘ 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/73645804@N00/440672445

 

For those parents who could not attend Parent’s Night, here is a VoiceThread of what I shared with those in attendance.


Google Apps for Education + VoiceThread = Transformative

Transformative

I have spent the morning working in a computer lab and a classroom with 5th grade students and 7th grade students who are working on culminating projects. The groups have research in the library or in the field and are now working on presenting they’re learning to classmates and teachers. Both start in a Google Presentation which will be converted to a PDF when done for use in VoiceThread. I watched as students collaborated on the presentations in various ways:assigning jobs, adding images and text, or writing scripts in a Google Doc. The goal of both of these projects is to tell the story of what they have learned. We are fortunate to have desktops, some laptops, and some students who bring their own laptop so access is not an issue. In the past, students could not easily collaborate and create simultaneously as they can now. This lack of creation friction has allowed one group to create the PDFs, upload to VoiceThread and record it in only 4 classes. It took much longer in the past since we had to many, many more steps to arrive where we are today. Other groups are well on their way to creating deeper learning while learning how to work collaboratively.

The 7th grade science students will be teaching their fellow classmates on topics of the river study unit during exams. This brings the role of teacher into the life of a student in meaningful and real ways.

If your school does not use these web-based tools, Google Apps for Education and VoiceThread, please consider it, as they will transform your learning community into a frictionless environment where the technology supports the learning goals instead of limiting.

I am very happy and proud to have helped bring this transformation about. Now it is time to eat my lunch as I have used it to write this short post.

Collaboration Imagery of Campus Leads to a Discussion

Students in my Digital Learning 5th and 6th classes do a short unit on Digital Imagery where we discuss elements of telling a story with a picture. We talk about Rules of 3rds, Perspective and then work with iPhoto to make edits that can enhance or highlight what “caught” the student’s eye. Each student then exported two of their favorite images and uploaded them to this collaborative VoiceThread where they were to label their images with their name and tell the story of the image. Once they had done theirs, they were to look at and comment on other images. I am pleased to say that students began to discuss how students took the photos or how they edited them. The larger goal of this collaboration was to develop a conversation between students about the project. I am very pleased with some of the photos as the students show a good eye for capturing interesting images. Students in Digital Learning 6 also created movies using the online tool, Animoto of all of their images. You can view them at http://dl6th.edublogs.org/tag/animoto/

Finding Your Voice with VoiceThread

 

Voice

 

‘Voice and Data’

http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035566106@N01/5302468

 

On April 8, 2011, I will be presenting a workshop at NCAIS Innovate focusing on and showcasing how students can learn to use VoiceThread to create a Digital Portfolio. In both of my Digital Learning classes students learn to reflect on their learning and find their voice by recording their reflective thoughts. I believe we need to do more of this type of work with our students as they often do not have the opportunity to both reflect and to tell the story of their learning. I also want my students to learn, collaborative communication as put forth by William M. Ferriter, Adam Garry in their book Teaching the iGeneration. From his Ed Tech Talk podcast on August 8, 2010 he offers this valuable quote:

Collaborative and competitive dialogue is something I talk about in Teaching the iGeneration and something that VoiceThread facilitates nicely.  We could talk about how our world emphasizes competitive dialogue—-kids are surrounded by marketing messages and celebrities and politicians screaming for attention and unwilling to listen to other viewpoints——but collaborative dialogue is essential for solving the kinds of global, cross-border challenges our world is facing.

Here are a few of my student’s Digital Portfolios (These are works in progress as we are still creating)

 


Link to Griffin’s Portfolio


Link to Madeline’s Portfolio

I also want you to find yourr voice by adding a sentence to a VoiceThread project based on Daniel Pink’s Drive book, and Two Simple Questions. Video is at: http://vimeo.com/8480171

Link to actual “What is Your Sentence”  http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/1695850/

 


May we all find our voice!

Digital Learning Class Portfolios – Second Trimester

messy.jpg

Manage Project‘ 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/13316988@N00/2266171847

My Digital Learning course, formerly called Foundations of Technology, for 5th grade are developing their online portfolio that could live outside of both the classroom and our school. My goal is to give the students an opportunity to share their work and reflect on what it means to them. The idea of parents or other students also sharing their comments is a secondary goal. A third goal will not be obvious since the actual portfolio is the showcase for finished projects, and that is creativity, design and even fundamental technology skills centered around formats, copyright, privacy, communication, and others that are embedded into the projects we create. I used the term scaffolding with the class today as I wanted them to begin to connect the things we do in class instead of thinking, we start new each time. I was prompted to talk about this due to the age old question of “can I, can ya, or  can you”. I have a standard answer in that I ask them the question of “Where is Kenya?”. Often they understand this play on words although I feel like I am undoing some long learned rule of learning. I told the students today that if I taught you how to use it last week, it is OK to use it this week as that is the scaffolding part of this class.

So, I share now the portfolios of my students as we work on creating a digital portfolio using VoiceThread. For the price of a site license, this is incredible software for our students to begin telling the story of their learning. Remember that learning is often messy. That term is from a web site that I have read for years. http://learningismessy.com/blog/

Miriam W. http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/1550600/

Sydney L. http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/1597437/

Alex G. http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/1550599/

Wilson H. http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/1550601/

Maggie D. http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/1550598/

Lexi C. http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/1550596/

Haley C. http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/1550602/

Ted M. http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/1597392/

Jack E. http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/1550595/

Drew H. http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/1550603/

Annie W. http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/1550594/

Ian W. http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/1550591/

Davis C. http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/1550593/

To Share or Not To Share is Not the Question – We Need to Teach Sharing and Collaborating

By Ryan Gallagher

Photo: on 12-15-2010 http://www.flickr.com/photos/clickykbd/2710697870/

I have been thinking about this post since reading Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano’s blog post on what do you have to lose on her Langwitches Blog. The post came to my attention after I clicked on a link that one of the people I follow on Twitter shared. I am grateful to the person in my PLN who shared it although the fact that it was shared is exactly the proof of this post. I used Instapaper to read it later on my iPad, found myself thinking about it while I mucked the barn in the cold dawn of the morning, and each day at school when I watched my students practice learning how to find their voice with VoiceThread and Google Apps for Edu. There is so much good information in this post and links, that I plan to show it to my faculty and anyone else who happens to read this post. I may even create a workshop around the core ideas on sharing and tools to do it effectively. It summarizes what I have been advocating for our students to do more of for about four years. My role may be the advocator in chief for many of these technological tools as I feel strongly that our teachers and students must embrace the skills outlined in the ISTE NETS for Students and ISTE NETS for Teachers. Students in my Digital Learning class are working on their portfolios with VoiceThread and many are on the third or fourth attempt either to perfect it or because there were issues. This is not a waste of time as the learning gets deeper each time they practice. I think it is important for all of us to find our voice and frankly, get over how we sound. I helped a Spanish teacher record a brief piece for the exam that is being administered. It took four takes to get it just the way we wanted it. Truth be told, the second one was golden but I lost it somehow. Again, learning is messy. She remarked how she had trouble listening to herself. I assured her she needed to get past that and the only way to do that is to do more, not less.

Alan November

In her article, Silvia has this image and quote in her post which I think is the heart of the matter. We need to teach our students how to share and collaborate as a skill and not as something to be avoided or prevented. I love it when we have club and the students exclaim that we now have readers from South Africa or other countries because we made our school “newspaper” a blog this year. The Cav is one attempt at sharing done by our students. They write the posts and the two teachers serve as editors to make sure it meets the standards of a journalistic paper before it goes live. We had a FirstClass blog for the last three years but never knew if anyone was reading it. Our new Google Apps for Education accounts are allowing students and teachers to share work with each other.

Read the blog by Silivia and lets get to work teaching our students how to find their voice and how to share their learning with other learners.

Sharing helps me everyday via my Twitter stream, the Diigo bookmarks that are shared by other teachers from around the world, Google Reader where articles are brought to me around interest areas. How can we not help our students to harness the power of these curated streams of information. To not is to do them and ourselves a great disservice. Dean Shareski also did a post on how to make better teachers where he suggests we get all teachers blogging to reflect on their teaching. Another great idea for me to weave into the workshop that is starting to take shape in my head.

As I was finish this post, I want to share a message I received from a teacher and a picture of a tweet from Melissa Trendenick that she sent while at a conference where Pat Bassett was speaking. Both affirm my points in this post. Without the tools and sharing, learning is diminished.

 

Hi Karl,

I have a student who is in Korea and is missing a week and a half of school due to the death of her grandfather. She is currently completing assignments for our short story unit using google docs and Moodle. She is able to read the short stories from Moodle and is writing (and having teacher and peer edits) via google docs. Thank you for these wonderful tools. Otherwise, She would miss two weeks of work.

 

Just wanted you to know, these tools have a powerful impact and daily extend my course beyond the wall of my classroom.

 

 

Melissa Tredenick Change.png

Giving Students a Voice on the World Stage

I sent this message to the faculty today as I wanted them to read the ISTE articles. I can not attach them here as you must be a member, although the link below will take you to the articles that are visible. I reccommend that you become a member if you are not one now.

The evidence I see happens each day in the computer labs, in the classrooms with laptops, and sometimes even at lunch break when students do things like play online video games or collaboratively write a story in a Google Doc for “fun”. I also am slowing seeing students making better decisions with how they add to their digital dossier. Slowly….

Dear Faculty,

Durham Academy is a member of ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) through a membership paid for by the technology department. Each month ISTE publishes a magazine called Learning and Leading with Technology. I read it cover to cover and then pass it on to the other members in the department. You can read some selections here: http://www.iste.org/learn/publications/learning-and-leading.aspx

I am attaching 2 articles to this message (see above) as I think they are thought provoking and show what is possible when students use their voice with the tools we have available to all of us on campus.

Dreaming Up Ideas discusses Social Media in schools and how it can help students and teachers develop a PLN (Personal Learning Network) This is not without controversy for sure since most schools take great pains to “protect” students from some of these tools. Many are available to our students and are a part of their life outside of school and for some in school when it comes to Google Docs, Blogs (The Cav), VoiceThread, and Skype. I think there is value in protecting but also in teaching students how to use these tools for learning as in the absence of this guidance, they can and often do make errors in judgement.

Lessons from New Zealand discusses how students were encouraged to develop and use their voice in the classroom, community, and across the world. Again, we have the tools are our fingertips and some students are already exploring them. I heard a member of The Cav say the other day that we have a reader from Pakistan and wondered why and if they were a terrorist? I assured them that not all people in Pakistan are a terrorist:(.

I do believe that giving student work “legs” as Matt Scully from Providence Day School called it in one of his NCAIS workshops is powerful in two ways. We all work harder to write it right when we know more people will read it. The use of the tools also helps students develop the digital and critical thinking skills necessary to more successfully manage their digital dossier. One big hurdle is that sometimes our work has mistakes or the learning is messy, but in the end we help the students to learn how to grow and use their voice and that is a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say.