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Thursday, January 27, 2011

'Lite Edition' THING 5: Voicethread

Voicethread is one of my favorite tools. Voicethread is a way to facilitate a discussion of images and video with a large number of people in a totally online environment. After creating a Voicethread account, you can create individual Voicethreads. For each Voicethread, you can upload images and/or video, comment on each page using text, audio or video, and then share the Voicethread with other users, who can then make their own comments using text, audio or video. It's amazing!
Here is a link to a Voicethread created by the company itself: http://voicethread.com/share/409/ Watch it for an explanation and demo.
Here is a link to a Voicethread created by an educator, to be shared with other educators. Check out how many people commented on it! http://voicethread.com/share/3352/ .
This year, our own Jessica Mauritzen had her Spanish students create Voicethreads. You can see two of them here and here.
And here is the link to the Voicethread I created last year, which contains images of the building as well as a few student interviews re: their use of social networking and the Internet. You should make at least 5 comments on it, one of which should be audio or video. To leave an audio comment if you don't have a microphone (I don't have one here at school), click on the telephone icon after you click on "Comment", enter your phone # (cell, home, or school), and the program will call you within SECONDS! Wait for the greeting, record your message, then hang up. You've just left a comment on the Voicethread! To leave a video comment, you'll need a webcam, which I might try to do later from my home computer. Here is my Voicethread: http://voicethread.com/share/900480/
FYI, you can request that your account be upgraded for free to an Educator Account, which lets you create an unlimited amount of Voicethreads and gives you a lot more storage space. I got mine upgraded within 24 hours of submitting the request.
(Disclaimer: I paid $10 to get 60 minutes of "phone commenting" on my account. If you don't pay that, I think users might have to rely only on text, microphones or webcams).

To complete Thing 5:
  • Watch the two sample Voicethreads
  • Watch the two student Voicethreads
  • Set up a Voicethread account
  • Watch the Voicethread I created and make at least 5 comments, one of which should be audio or video (you'll need to have a VT account in order to comment)
  • Post about your experience. What do you think of Voicethread? Could it apply to you and your classes? Would you use it?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

'Lite Edition' THING 4: Wikis

A wiki is a collaborative website and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content. Wikipedia, the online open-community encyclopedia, is the largest and likely the most well known of these knowledge-sharing tools. Wikis have many benefits, are easy to use, and have many applications.

Some of the benefits of wikis:

  • Anyone (registered or unregistered, if unrestricted) can add, edit or delete content.
  • Tracking tools allow you to easily keep up on what been changed and by whom.
  • Earlier versions of a page can be rolled back and viewed when needed.
  • Users do not need to know HTML in order to apply styles to text or add and edit content.
  • Multiple pages can be added to one wiki.
For an overview of wikis, watch this video:

Educational uses for wikis are great. Check out the site below to see examples of wikis in use:
  • Welker's Wikinomics (This is a teacher's class wiki. Check out the different areas of his wiki.)
To complete Thing 4:

  • Watch the video.

  • Visit the link above and explore how one teacher uses a wiki in the classroom.

  • Visit the 17 Things wiki. This wiki's settings are public, so anyone can view and edit the page. However, you can also change the settings so that only members of your wiki can view, edit, etc. Read the intro page of the wiki and then follow the directions about where/what to post.

  • Create a Wikispaces account.

  • Create a wiki for either school/personal use.

  • Write a post reflecting on your impressions of wikis. How could you use them in class? Have you ever done collaborative writing with kids? Would this be a possible way to do it? How is it different than Google Docs?

  • Post the URL (web address) of your new wiki.

  • Comment on at least one other person's blog- even if they haven't yet completed this Thing!

  • Note: Thing 5 will be posted on or around February 4th!