Thursday, March 20, 2008

The ultimate web2.0 tool?

To be honest, I haven't even gone back to Jumpcut to see if I can salvage my experience there. From what I understand from my short visit, you put together video clips to make your own video... clips of your own, or from other people's videos. Um, copyright issues anyone? That could be a good jump off for a discussion on intellectual property rights with students, but I think that's a discussion that could start from just about any of the web2.0 tools we are studying. Now, I'm a bit shaky on video making, but doesn't Windows Movie Maker let you import and rearrange clips? So why do we need Jumpcut? I'll let someone else answer that question. It's not for me.

But voicethread... now that is cool! I have had so much fun browsing through this site, and have been really impressed with some of the student created voicethreads. A voicethread is like a wiki crossed with a podcast crossed with Flickr or YouTube. There are so many possibilities out there for this technology! This great wiki showcases a good variety of voicethreads being used by students and teachers. A teacher at Usher Collegiate in Regina uses voicethreads to publish his students' artwork, an administrator made a presentation on a grant proposal and asked for feedback from other administrators, and kindergarten students tell about pictures they made to illustrate animal habitats!

I think voicethreads could be very useful in the classroom for a wide variety of activities because of how well it caters to visual and auditory learners. Voicethreads have great potential for story telling (how about an activity where one student starts telling a story about a picture, then the next student continues it, and so on?) and for otherwise encouraging oral language skills. I could see so many uses for this in early childhood. Young students can explain what they have painted or drawn, or could read words that they have written, and it's captured for parents to view and for teachers to assess. Other students can describe what they see in an artwork, flexing those oral language muscles in a meaningful way and exploring how their thoughts may be different from the thoughts of others.

In higher grades, students could use this as a multimedia presentation method that allows their peers to make suggestions and comments that will be audible to people who view the voicethread later, inspiring students to do their best work. Of course, that work could be published to a wider audience and generate comments from outside the classroom: even more incentive to do a great job!

Students could use this tool to collaborate on visual matters like designing a school mascot, and teachers could use it to create interactive classroom newsletters... imagine being able to ask parents in your newsletter if they could volunteer for a field trip, and have them answer you on a voicethread! Ok, that's kind of the same as a wiki newsletter, but I think hearing someone's voice can be more powerful that reading a newsletter. So it would be like a podcast newsletter, but interactive: impossible for podcasts.

Up next: what the web world has to say about voicethreads... no luck on the journal front so far!

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